- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson
The Saints' defense has flashed its incredible opportunistic skills often this season, and Sunday against the Jets was no exception. At the start of the second quarter, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez forced a pass into tight coverage. Darren Sharper anticipated the throw and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown.
Sanchez did not respond well on the next drive, holding the ball too long in his own end zone against a heavy rush. The Saints recovered the fumble in the end zone to go up 17-0.
This defense is playing very aggressively and with great confidence, flying to the football and gang tackling. And the Jets are not well equipped to play from behind. Their offensive line is better coming forward in the run game than on its heels in protection. The Saints tormented Sanchez all afternoon and brought as many as eight pass-rushers at times -- or as few as three.
New Orleans' revamped secondary deserves a lot of credit. Not only is the pass rush improved, but there's a lot of talent on the back end now, and many of these younger cover men should only get better -- especially with Sharper in the fold to act as a mentor.
Drew Brees kept to his usual script. He spread the ball around well -- nine Saints caught passes -- and varied the levels at which he attacked. Sean Payton's play calling remained difficult to predict, as he used a plethora of formations and personnel groupings. Brees gets the ball out of his hands very quickly and deciphers information incredibly well.
The Jets' defense put on a show as well. Reggie Bush's third-quarter fumble led directly to a touchdown run by Thomas Jones that cut the Saints' lead to 17-10. The Jets also made a huge stop on fourth down late in the third quarter.
The Jets had Darrelle Revis on Marques Colston almost exclusively, and he held Colston to two catches for 33 yards while also contributing as a run defender. But one defender cannot stop the Saints' passing game because Brees' ability to distribute the football to the best option is simply unmatched.
Of course the Saints only scored one offensive touchdown, but it was no accident that the team with superior quarterback play got the victory. Brees could handle the diverse defensive looks he got and Sanchez could not in a hostile environment.