History Redux

Dec 1, 2009 by

The first 11-0 start for the Saints. The first NFC team to start 11-0. The first time in NFL history that two teams start 11-0. And it came against the team that made the media question the Saints credibility. All week long the bandwagon announcers have been hedging their bets. After all, it’s the New England Patriots, right? It’s Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, right? The 7-3 Pats would surely be the team to defeat those lucky 10-0 Saints, right?

Wrong.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that Drew Brees does not consider himself in the same league as Tom Brady but after Monday’s 38-17 ass-handing that is a fact that you can make book on. Of course Brees was being humble but I think it’s time for the media to start recognizing that there’s more to the NFL than Tom Brady, Brett Favre and the Manning boys. Last night’s game was so out of control that Head Coach Bill Belichick yanked Brady out in the middle of the fourth quarter. That in itself speaks volumes almost as loudly as the Superdome crowd who, during the first quarter, all but drowned out the commentary by the announcers.

While Brees is still slowly chipping away at Aaron Brooks yardage, attempts and completion records he has caught and tied Archie Manning for second place in all-time touchdowns with 115. Six more TD’s and Brees will take first place away from Brooks. Brees threw for 371 yards on only eighteen completions giving him a 20.62 y/c average. That’s massive. Drew had only 5 incompletions and no interceptions and brought his first place 300-yard passing game record up to 29, six of those from this season.

Brees also tied Mike Buck for first place in Passer Rating for a Single Game at 158.3. I can pretty much guarantee that he’ll never beat that score because it’s the highest rating possible under current NFL calculations. A perfect rating has been achieved only 57 times in the NFL by just 35 players. Brees adds his name to a list that includes Sammy Baugh, YA Tittle, Sonny Jurgensen, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Kurt Warner, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Peyton and Eli Manning among others.

But Drew wasn’t the only player making moves in the history books. Marques Colston caught four passes for 121 yards and a TD. Colston’s receiving yards are now at 3,808 moving him into 5th all-time past Quinn Early. 41 more yards and he’ll move into 3rd place past Hoby Brenner. He also needs just five more receptions to take Brenner’s sixth place spot in that category.

Defensively, Grampaw Darren Sharper moved up in two categories. Sharper intercepted Pat’s QB Cindy Brady in the fourth quarter for a 38 yard return. This un-breaks his tie with Tommy Myers for sole possession of 3rd place all-time with eight career interceptions and puts him just two picks shy of Dave Waymer’s second place spot. The 38 yard return moved him into fourth place in return yards past Gene Atkins. Sharper needs 41 more return yards to take third place from Waymer. Just three more return yards and Sharper will pass Baltimore’s Ed Reed for the NFL record of return yards/season.

I also found some new records for Sharper as well: In the Most Interception Yards Returned per Game category, with 97 yards in Wk 02, Sharper picked up the 4th place spot previously held by Bo Burris. (Dating back to 1968!) In Wk 04 Sharper had 99 yards on two returns giving him a second place tie with Gene Atkins.

While not nearing any records, props must be given to CB Mike McKenzie who was cut by the Saints earlier this year after two injury plagued years. (Torn ACL in 2007, fractured kneecap in 2008.) McKenzie was re-signed just seven days ago on November 23 which, one might think, wouldn’t give him much time to get in step with the new defensive schemes. Well, McKenzie was so in step with the new D that he made three tackles, an interception and three pass deflections including a key play late in the third quarter stopping New England cold on the Saints 10-yard line on a 4th and 4.

The Saints defense did not allow a touchdown pass from Brady, a rare feat indeed, even though the Jets kept Brady scoreless in week two of this season. They also stopped his 300-yard game streak at five allowing only 237 passing yards. The D did allow 122 rushing yards but it took six players to reach that mark. Laurence Maroney was the Pat’s leading rusher with 64 yards.

The offense tore a nice chunk of points off their run for a new first place record bringing their total to 410 points on the season, just 54 shy of breaking last years 463 point team high. So far the Saints have scored 1.2 points for every two minutes of football played. At that rate they could break their season-high point total by 130 points.

Up next: The Saints visit the 3-8 Washington Redskins who lead the series 15-7. Kickoff is at Noon, N’awlins time and the game will be broadcast on FOX8. Get ready, because history will be made, yet again.

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