Sunday, October 23, 2011
Wrap-up: Saints 62, Colts 7
By Pat Yasinskas
Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 62-7 victory against the Indianapolis Colts at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:
What it means: A week after a disappointing loss to Tampa Bay, the Saints went back out and claimed sole possession of first place in the NFC South. They did it by going out and doing pretty much everything you could ask of a very good team playing against a very bad Indianapolis team (without Peyton Manning). The Saints were precise and controlled the game all the way. Plus, they play another struggling team (the St. Louis Rams) next week. The Saints are 5-2 and they may hold a bigger edge over the 4-3 Falcons and Buccaneers, who each had to play difficult games on Sunday, than it appears. You can pretty much pencil in the Saints for a 6-2 record before their Nov. 6 home game with Tampa Bay and their Nov. 13 game at Atlanta. The Saints get a bye after the Atlanta game. For now, the Saints have a firm grip on the division.
What communication problems? There was some understandable concern that the Saints might encounter some problems with coach Sean Peyton relegated to the press box after suffering major damage to his leg and knee last week. Payton certainly had some input in the overall game plan, specifically the offensive side. But offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael did a masterful job of calling the plays. He and quarterback Brees worked as smoothly as Payton and Brees usually do. That was a very encouraging sign because Payton is probably going to have to supervise from above for most of the rest of the season.
Almost perfect: Brees left the game in the fourth quarter as the Saints gave Chase Daniel some playing time (and showed the Colts some mercy). But Brees was almost flawless while he was playing. He completed 31 of 35 passes for 325 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Absolutely perfect: The Saints scored on their first nine possessions. They added a defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter when Leigh Torrence intercepted a pass and took it in for a touchdown. The Saints finally punted on their 10th possession.
Stat of the night: The last time an NFL team scored 62 points in a game, it was Jacksonville in a 1999 playoff game against Miami. The 62 points were also a franchise record for the Saints.
What I liked: The running game. The Saints got Darren Sproles more involved and gave him 10 carries. He gave them 82 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Mark Ingram carried 14 times for 91 yards.
What I didn’t like: Ingram limped off the field with an apparent leg injury in the fourth quarter. We don’t know the severity of the injury, but the Saints have been doing a nice job of mixing Sproles, Ingram and Pierre Thomas. If Ingram’s injury is serious, the good news is the Saints have Chris Ivory, who says he’s healthy, waiting to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Interesting twist: New Orleans center Olin Kreutz walked away from the team during the week with his agent saying he had lost his passion for the game. On a Westwood One Radio broadcast of the game, it was reported that Kreutz made his decision after learning he was going to be benched this week.
What’s next: The Saints play at St. Louis next Sunday.