Saints Win Blowout, Remain Undefeated
The New Orleans Saints came out to a screaming crowd of home fans and let them go home happy, dealing a tremendous 38-17 beatdown on the New England Patriots. Saints QB Drew Brees threw five touchdown passes and looked like something straight out of Madden NFL 10, throwing all over the field against an underwhelming New England secondary who seemed all too happy to let the Saints’ receiving corps catch the ball in every situation.
It was exactly the sort of statement win the Saints needed to silence critics claiming the team had beat up on a soft schedule, and it improves the team to their best start since 1991 with 11 straight wins. At 11-0, a Saints win or a Falcons loss over the next five games will clinch the NFC South. They need every win they can get, as the 10-1 Vikings are hot on their tail seeking homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. They will play the 3-8 Redskins next Sunday.
While Tom Brady seemed more than willing to take the small shots that the Saints were offering underneath their pass coverage, Brees threw like a beast for 371 yards and five scores. Brady ended the game with 237 yards and two interceptions. It was his first game with more than one interception since the Patriots’ blowout win against the Buccaneers in Week 7, and the first double-digit loss of the season for New England.
For the Patriots, now at 7-4, the loss marks a failure to take advantage of a Miami loss to Buffalo on Sunday and add cushion to their divisional lead. The Patriots remain two games ahead of the Dolphins and New York Jets, with five left to play. In their quest for a bye week, the loss is crippling. Cincinnati and San Diego both went to 8-3 Sunday, putting them both one game over New England. The Colts are 11-0 and have won their division.
The Patriots now have to gear up for what promises to be a gritty showdown against their bitter and close rival, the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are reeling from season-ending injuries to QB Chad Pennington and RB Ronnie Brown, but look to avoid a sweep. The Patriots tamed the Wildcat gadget offense en route to a 27-17 win over the Dolphins in Foxborough in Week 9. For both teams, the game is a must-win. The Patriots can essentially come within a hair’s breadth of sealing the division with a win, and Miami’s record would be too poor to realistically contest for a wild card berth in the playoffs. A Dolphins win would put them within one game of the division lead as well as keep their playoff hopes alive.