|Saints devour Eagles who limp without QB McNabb
|These Saints could be for real.
For the second straight Sunday the Saints rolled over an NFL opponent and looked
like a true contender for postseason play.
On Sunday in Philadelphia, a tough place to play, the Saints defeated the Eagles (1-1)
48-22 behind Drew Brees' three touchdown passes, a running game that produced
two touchdowns and a defense that collected three interceptions and forced a fumble
that they turned into points.
Brees threw two touchdown passes to Marques Colston and one to new fullback Heath
Evans. The Saints running game produced touchdown runs by Mike Bell and Reggie
Bush. The defense added one on a 97-yard interception return by new safety Darren
"It was a big win for us in all three phases of the game," said Saints coach Sean
Payton in his postgame discussion. "We made at least one big play on special teams,
led by a forced fumble to start the second half that took it from a four-point lead to an
"This is a very good team we played today, and this is really a tough place to play. I
would say that the turnover battle was probably the deciding factor in the game."
Brees completed 25-of-34 passes for 311 yards with three touchdowns and one
interception. He was sacked twice. His passer rating was 118.8.
Colston had eight catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremy Shockey caught
four passes for 48yards. Bush and Devery Henderson each added three receptions
with Henderson making the catch of the day on a 38-yard sideline route. The Saints
converted 6-of-13 third downs even tough they were outgained by the Birds 463 yards
|Saints-Eagles Notes: In two games this season, Brees has completed 75 per cent of his
passes for nine touchdowns and two interceptions. The Saints are the first team since the 2001
Colts to start the season with back-to-back 40-point games.
"With our group, each game you never know whose day it's
going to be," said Brees. "Did we know it was going to be Colston's day? No. We get into he heat of
it, all of a sudden, he's got the hot hand so we're feeding him."
On the first possession of the game, Brees was 5-for-5 on an eight-play, 74-yard drive that ended
with a 15-yard TD toss to a wide open Colston in the end zone. It send the tone for a day that Brees
"It's important for our offense every game that we get off to a quick start," said Bell. "We want to start
quick and that way it set the tempo for the game."
"Brees gets the ball off quick," said Eagles cornerback Joselio Hanson. "It seemed we were a step
behind. He knows where he wants to go with the ball.
"Drew Brees is an animal. He's one of the best."
Kevin Kolb made his first start, filling in for injured Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, who
suffered a cracked rib against Carolina. He threw for 391 yards and two touchdowns, including a
71-yard scoring pass to DeSean Jackson. He also threw three interceptions, including a 97-yard
touchdown return by new safety Darren Sharper, who almost ran out of gas before he crossed the
Linebacker Scott Shanle had a team-high 11 tackles and for the second game in a row came up
with an interception. Shanle, probably the most underrated player on the team, was the Saints'
leading tackle last season and was voted the best defensive player by his coaches and teammates.
The Saints travel to Buffalo for a 3:05 Sunday game with the Bills.
|HOW OTHERS SAW THE GAME: Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer: "The Eagles' game
plan -- loaded with lots of Wildcat-formation snaps on offense and a modicum of blitzing on defense
-- really didn't matter in their home opener against the Saints. Things they didn't play on led to a
gloomy 49-22 beating on an otherwise bright and sunny afternoon.
"The 48 points were the most allowed by the Eagles at home since a 49-0 loss to Vince Lombardi's
Packers at Franklin Field in 1962.
"Two botched plays in less than two minutes turned a tightly contested game into a lopsided loss
that coach Andy Reid described as "an absolutely horrendous performance."
"By the time it was over, the Linc was almost empty and quarterback Kevin Kolb had a sour feeling
about his first NFL start..."
In closing, Payton said, "We're only two weeks into it and two wins doesn't promise you anything."
I've covered the Saints since 1967, and this could be their best team ever."
|Saints-Eagles Postgame: Sean Payton was asked if Sunday's 48-22 victory over the
Philadelphia Eagles was asked if it was one of the most complete games his team has ever put
together, the Saints coach replied: "We've played some good games in the past. When you on the
road against a team like Philadelphia, you have to do some things.
"It happened last night when you watched the the Giants and Cowboys. You watch one team turn
the ball over and one team protect the ball. Ultimately, the team that protected the ball better won the
game. In our case, the same thing. We felt like it was necessary on the road to have a chance to win
that game, that we needed to win that battle and in our case we did with four turnovers to one,
finishing plus three.
"There's still a lot we have to improve on. By no means was it the perfect game. There are a lot of
things watching the tape that really concern you and I think our players will see it today. We're still
looking to get better in a lot of areas. We h\gave up a big play on defense. We talked about that being
something we couldn't do against this team. We gave up a big return on our coverage units and that
was disappointing. Offensively, we had a couple of protection issues and the one turnover. There
are a lot of things we have to work on. The good news is that we have a week to do it in preparation
for another good team."
What about the positives of being 2-0?
"There's still a ton of football left," replied the coach. "When the players come back on Wednesday,
everything shifts to Buffalo and a team we're not as familiar with given that we're in the NFC, but
we're going to have to be and it's another place to play on the road."
Payton was asked how he liked seeing the defensive mindset change so now it includes creating
"We began to see that begin in the preseason. It's what wins in our league and even Malcolm
Jenkins (top draft choice) came up with a big play on the special teams kickoff coverage and you
look at the interceptions (3), those things give you another possession, give you an extra time with
the ball and take away one with the defense. It's hard to win games when you're not winning that
battle in an area that we paid attention to and we have to."
Then there's Darren Sharper, 33, who returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown late in the
fourth quarter. His 57 career interceptions rank him 10th on the all-time NFL interception list.
"He's smart," said Payton. "He's a player that understands the scheme. He got his wright down this
offseason and came in in good shape. There are a number of things that a player like Darren brings
to the team in regards to his experience and it's a different defense for him, so there's a learning
curve he worked through in the spring. He's done a good job. He has three turnovers in two games
and is playing with a lot of confidence. He's doing well."
Buffalo may be saying "Breesus is coming" this week. From a perspective, what's working with Drew
Brees and the offense right now?
"We've had a little bit of balance," answered the coach. "In both games, we've been able to have
some balance running the ball and throwing it. We're doing a good job of handling some different
looks defensively in regards to protections. Drew has been pretty sharp when you look at his
decision making. Those are some of the things after two weeks, you'd say have looked pretty good.
I'm pleased with the balance that we have gotten in both games and by and large taking care of the
football, although we've still turned it over and that's something that we need to get better at."
|SOME HITHER, OTHERS YON: On plays with 10 yards or more to go for a first down against the
Eagles, Drew Brees was 15-of-20 for 22 yards and three touchdowns...Reggie Bush only had seven
yards on four carries, but a 19-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter helped the final
statline...Rookie cornerback Malcolm Jenkins made a big play when he stripped kick returner Ellis
Hobbs on the opening kickoff in the second half...Jeremy Shockey recovered a Brees fumble with the
score tied at 10 in the second quarter...The Eagles only converted one of their five visits to the red
zone into a touchdown...