|Saints flex defensive muscle in win over Bills
|9/27/09: The Saints, playing like a team with Super Bowl potential, used defense and a
running game to defeat the Bills 27-7 on Sunday in Buffalo in a game that will draw a
lot of national attention.
The Bills held Drew Brees without a touchdown toss and held him to his lowest output
in three seasons.
Coach Sean Payton challenged the Saints' defensive line on Monday when he told the
defenders that they were the unit that could make a difference is this game.
"Our defense played tremendously," said Brees in his postgame discussion. "This was
a game that in the past, would not have gone out way."
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who formerly was a head coach at
Buffalo, was given a game ball after the Bills were held without an offensive
touchdown. Doubtless, Williams had his defenders armed and ready for his return to
Buffalo. He had the backing of Payton who challenged his defense to play to its
capability after allowing 27 and 22 points in victories over Detroit and Philadelphia.
The Bills had 243 yards of total offense, went 2-for-14 on third down, and surrendered
four sacks of quarterbacktrent Edwards as the Saints pressured him all afternoon. The
Bills' longest play of the game came on a 25-yard touchdown connection between
punter Brian Moorman and defensive end Ryan Denney off a fake field goal. Only one
second-half possession lasted longer than five plays.
Running back Pierre Thomas sealed the victory with two touchdowns in the final 10
minutes and finished with a career-high 126 yards rushing -- all in the second half. On
a 19-yard TD run, Thomas burst up the sideline, where he jumped over a safety and
then dragged a cornerback five yards intothe end zone.
Lynell Hamilton scored the Saints' opening drive touchdown on a one-yard power run.
The Saints went ahead for good late in the second quarter after No. 1 draft choice
Malcolm Jenkins stripped the ball on a punt return. The play led to John Carney;s
27-yard field goal that put the Saints ahead 10-7. He also added a 35-yard field goal.
Terrell Owens failed to make a catch for the Bills despite having five passes thrown his
way. That ended a 185-game streak that was the longest of any active player.
It got worse for T.O. after the game, when on his way to the tunnel, he was struck in
the face and chest by a large bucket of popcorn thrown from the stands.
After the game, Owens did his best not to give any headline-worthy quotes at his news
conference, saying, "I'm just going with the plays that were called." He repeated the
phrase four times. Edwards didn't do a good job of throwing to the sidelines, so it
wasn't all T.O.'s fault.
Saints backup safety Pierson Prioleau, a former Bill, said he thought both corners
(Jabari Green and Tracy Porter) played well. "It's not just taking Owens out of the
game because they have other receivers, too." he said.
"The way the defensive line pressured the quarterback, the way the linebackers too
away the underneath, it all works hand in hand," said Greer, another former Bill. "To
say us as a secondary shut him out would be a little selfish. I know that in this game
one good play often shadows the real work. And, if you say we shut him down that
overlooks the way our defensive line allowed that to happen."
Officially, the Saints were credited with only four sacks, but they pressured Edwards
for four quarters. He avoided one sack with an intentional grounding penalty and he
was hurried on 14 other occasions.
Defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant combined for two-and-a-half sacks, four
tackles for losses and five quarterback hurries. Smith also had a big interception to
halt the Bills; only scoring drive in the second half.
The Saints rushed 38 times for 22 yards. They gained more yards on the ground than
they have since 2006.
Brees hit 16-of-29 passes for 172 yards. Jeremy Shockey was his leading receiver with
6 catches for 48 yards. Reggie Bush rushed 13 times for 64 yards and caught 3
passes for 17 yards.
"You go all week long hearing people talking about he offense and that['s enough to
get a defense fired up," said Brees. "Our defense played tremendously."
The Saints return to the Superdome on Sunday to play the unbeaten Jets in a 3:05
p.m. game. The Jets defeated the Titans 24-17 on Sunday.
|It's a pity the Saints-Jets game because this is FOX's double- header week and this is
a CBS game, it won't go to much of the country. This might be the most intriguing
game after three weeks...The Saints' Lynell Hamilton, an insurance policy with the
early injuries in the team;s backfield, carried 5 times for 24 yards and a touchdown
against the Bills. But he burst through the Bills' blocking front on a kickoff return and
wrapped both arms around the knees of Roscoe Parrish , drove him backward and
tackled him after a gainof 14 yards. That's one of the best form tackles I've seen in