Monday, October 20, 2003
Big win, but Saints still not where they want to be
NEW ORLEANS -- For the first time all season the New Orleans
Saints won back-to-back games.
For the first time all season the Saints dominated the game.
For the first time all season the Saints offense looked like the
one that led the NFC in scoring last year.
"We've been plugging away, keeping a good attitude and
encouraging one another," Saints tight end Ernie Conwell said
after the 45-17 victory over Atlanta. "The mind-set has so much to
do with life. That has a lot to do with this business and this
game. You've got to continue to believe in one another. You have to
continue to believe in yourself."
The Saints (3-4) needed the big boost they got from whipping the
Falcons after a three-game losing streak that had fans booing them
New Orleans struggled in a lackluster victory over Chicago (1-5)
the week before, so thumping Atlanta (1-6) had to be decisive.
The 45 points were the most New Orleans scored against Atlanta
in 68 games and the 507 yards of total offense was the most by the
Saints since they posted a club-record 557 yards at the Falcons on
Sept. 12, 1993.
Aaron Brooks threw three touchdown passes, Deuce McAllister ran
for 116 yards and two touchdowns, and Joe Horn caught eight passes
for 133 yards and a touchdown.
"The Falcons really got caught with us clicking," McAllister
said. "Now, we've just got to go out and do it consistently."
After looking at the film of the game, coach Jim Haslett said
the Saints played pretty good in all three phases of the game.
There was, however, room for improvement, Haslett said.
The team took care of the little things against the Falcons and
had fun in the game, Haslett said. And that counts for a lot.
"When you win, you always gain confidence as a football team,"
After playing the bottom of the NFL in the last two games, the
Saints have divisional games against the NFC South-leading Carolina
Panthers (5-1) and defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay
Buccaneers (3-3) the next two weeks.
"We're excited because we've fought together as a team, and
we're climbing out of this hole together as a team," Saints
linebacker Orlando Ruff said. "We're peaking right now. This whole
team is right where it needs to be. We're looking to be 5-4 with
momentum going into the bye week."
The Saints also came out of the game with relatively few new
injuries. Tight end Ernie Conwell has a strained left shoulder but
will probably be ready to practice on Wednesday, Haslett said.
Receiver Donte' Stallworth has a strained left quadriceps suffered
during a 69-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the first
quarter. He's questionable for the Panthers' game.
Linebacker Sedrick Hodge, who has been out since the second game
of the season with a knee injury, will have it checked Tuesday and
should return to practice this week, Haslett said.
The good news about injuries and the big victory are all boosts,
Haslett said. They must be kept in perspective though, he
"We're not where we want to be yet and everybody knows it,"
Haslett said. "It was nice to get a win, but we're still