Oct 25, 2011 by

Saints LogoSixty-two points!

I’m speechless. Clearly, so is the rest of the NFL since the after-game buzz was really only concerned with how poorly the Indianapolis Colts are playing. Oh, the talking heads did mutter a few nice things about us but Drew Brees 31/35, 325 yd, 5 TD performance ranked only fifth on the NFLs top 10 list. Fine by me. We’ve been ignored before, and we all know how that turned out.

One thing you can’t ignore is the numbers. The 62-7 victory is not only the most points scored by a Saints team, but also the teams highest margin of victory, (55). It also “reverse-ties” the teams worst defeat, (7-62,) at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons back in 1973. The eight combined TDs is the most the team ever scored in one game. Likewise the eight PATs by John Kasay. And I just gotta say it again–because it sounds so sweet–Drew Brees threw one more TD than he had incompletions! Crunk!

And there are more numbers… Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, the Saints offense is at the top of the heap in nearly every major category. Points: 239 (1st, 9 points ahead of GB), yards: 3360 (1st by 289, GB), offensive plays: 504 (1st by 33, HOU), and first downs: 183 (1st by 22, NE). The passing attack reads similarly: completions: 212 (1st by 41, GB), attempts: 299 (1st by 23, TB), passing yards: 2477 (1st by 105, GB), passing TDs: 18 (2nd behind GB, 20), and passing first downs: 124 (1st by 18, NE). On the ground, the Saints rank around 6th.

John Kasay’s 16/18 FGs ranks second only to the Cowboys Dan Bailey with 17/18. His 25/25 PATs is second only to Green Bay’s 26/26. Our defense ranks consistently in the top ten in all categories, but usually just at 10th place so there certainly are places we can improve. (As if we were unaware…)

In last weeks loss to Tampa Bay, Brees became the first NFL QB to turn in four consecutive 350+ passing yard games. During the Saints romp over the Colts, Brees was pulled as the third quarter wound down, just 25 yards shy of a fifth consecutive game. No need to get them all at once, I suppose!

Brees’ monster season continues as he makes a run at a number of NFL passing records. He currently has 2477 passing yards with an average of 354 yds/gm. He needs to average at least 289 through the rest of the season to break Dan Marino’s 1984 record of 5084 passing yards in a season and at this point he’s on pace to reach 5661 which would obliterate that mark by 578 yards!

Drew Bledsoe currently holds the NFL Passing Attempts-Season record at 691 (1994). Brees has already racked up 264 attempts and was looking to shatter that as well, but his early departure against the Colts re-wrote that pace to just 683. his current average is 42.7 att/gm which needs to move up to 43.6 if he’s going to displace Bledsoe. So far, his numbers are good enough to threaten Peyton Manning’s 2010 second place mark of 679.

And if the attempts are record-threatening, you can be certain the completions are just as dangerous! Despite his early withdrawal, Brees’ 31 completions kept him on track to pass Manning’s 2010 record of 450 completions in a single season. Brees’ avereage of 30.3 cmp/gm is still well above the needed 26.4 to catch Peyton, and he’s currently looking at finishing with 484 completions on the year, 34 more than the record!

Devery Henderson caught only one ball for nine yards against the Colts bringing his career total to 3855 yards, but that was enough to elevate him into fifth place on the Saints career receiving yards list, dropping Hoby Brenner (3849) to 6th. Henderson is now looking at 1020 yards to catch Danny Abramowicz’ (4875) fourth place mark but with Marques Colston looking healthier than ever, it may be a while before he can make that move.

The Saints visit St Louis next week to face the winless Rams who have been outscored an average of 19 pts/gm. Ignoring the anomalous Colts game, the Saints only have a +4 pts/gm average. Add in the Colts game and it jumps to +11. This has all the makings of a classic trap game but I doubt the Saints will fall into it. The numbers say call this one for the Black & Gold at 24-14, give or take a FG on either side, but I’m going to go out on a limb and call it 34-13. The Saints won’t be looking to blow out the Rams, but the way they’re beginning to gel, I don’t think they can help themselves.

One final word about center Olin Kreutz. A lot of folks are badmouthing him for quitting on the team. His explanation of lacking passion for the game rang weakly in a lot of ears. Still, there were a few folks who applauded his honesty, rationalizing that if his heart wasn’t in the game, he would have been a detriment to the team. Maybe. But the rumour that Kreutz took offense to being told that his replacement while injured, G-Brian de la Puente, was outperforming him has weight as well.

Kreutz anchored both Saints losses this year against Green Bay and Tampa Bay and in all his starts Drew Brees was on the run from defenders pouring through the O-line like water through a pumping station. It’s possible that a change was coming no matter what, but Kreutz’ decision to retire–and by that, I mean quit–left the Saints vulnerable at center. He could have traded down with de la Puente so we’d at least have some depth at the position, but instead he decided that he was done with us and the game for good. So be it. I’m not going to waste any more time on him than I already have. Besides, I think he’s going to feel bad enough come Superbowl time when he’s standing in his living room instead of on the sidelines with the Saints…

-M Styborski

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