Beat ‘Em, Daddy, Eight To The Bar!

Nov 17, 2013 by

Saints LogoThe New Orleans Saints trail the San Francisco Forty-Niners 24-46-2 in a series stretching all the way back to the “stadium days” of 1967. That’s 72 games and it’s the Saints second oldest rivalry behind the Falcons (87). The first meeting was a loss for the Saints, the second a win, but from 1970 to 2001, the Niners terrorized the Saints twice yearly within the confines of the NFC West. Remember the Aint’s? The hordes of lunch-sack wearing fans in the stands? Yeah, it was funny once, but after a few games it was sad. Then embarrassing. Then just downright shameful.

Well, that’s the past, mother fucker.

Since the NFL granted us a divorce in 2002 the Saints are 6-1 versus the Niners and that includes two pre-Payton games. (Yeah, OK, 6-2 if you want to include that playoff game.) We’re not only in that number against the Niners, we’ve committed it to memory and can dial it up at will averaging. Today should be no different.

The 7-2 Saints seem to have all cylinders firing as we host a 6-3 Niner team that has seen its share of criticism this season. Injuries, Sophomore Slump, blah-blah-blah. The fact is the Niners have only lost to this seasons’ elites. Seattle. Indianapolis. Carolina. All teams pencilled in for post-season play. The word you should be thinking of is “Next!”

The Niners have a favorable match-up against our run defense. At least, against our pre-Dallas halftime run defense. They average 147 yards/game on the ground and have collected 15 rushing touchdowns this season compared to our 97/6. But in the air… well, that’s different. QB Colin Kaepernick has 1688 passing yards and just 9 TDs compared to Drew Brees’ 3064/25. It’s the easiest equation in the playbook; shut down the run and force the pass. And we’ve got Parys Haralson, six-foot, 255 pounds of OLB whose pre-Saints career consists of six years as a Forty-Niner. You can bet Haralson has been holding court with the D on everything they ever wanted to know about the Niners. I can’t wait!

The Machine sees a close 23-20 Saints victory, but there are dials and switches on this ancient brass and mahogany box which I can’t fathom. Hey, it’s difficult to use a 2500 year-old device to predict an NFL game. That’s why I sometimes have to go off-line and that’s what I’m doing today:

Saints – 35
Niners – 24

So get your game-face on, prop your dogs on the coffee table and put a nice hot bowl of jambalaya in your lap because it’s Who Dat time! For our new friends from the bostonharborpicayune.com, you can make that a bowl of chowdah! Down here we’ll all be rooting for the Patriots to Cage the Panthers come monday night, even if The Machine predicts a 22-20 Carolina win. Feh… who trusts machines anyway! And for our regular readers, when visiting the Picayune up in Bahsten, ask for Andrew. He mixes a wicked poolside cocktail!

And now, your weekly Statistical Frippery!!

The Saints put up an NFL record 40 first downs against the Dallas Cowboys. In 80 plays. You can’t do that. Seriously, it’s impossible.

Well, not really. It’s a three-hour game, so that’s only a first down every four-and-a-half minutes, right?

Well, not really. An actual NFL game lasts only an hour, so the Saints actually got a first down every minute-and-a-half. Impressive, right?

Well, not really. The Saints could only get a first down when they control the ball which they did for 39m 32s. That’s a first down every 58.98 SECONDS! Seriously, One first down every minute! Every less-than-a-minute! That, my friends, is impressive. And impossible. Really.

Garrett Hartley. Get off the kids’ back, already. Hartley has a franchise record 134 PATs without a miss. He broke Morten Andersen’s old record of 119 against the Patriots in week six. And speaking of Morten, in his first five years in the league he racked up a field goal percentage of just over 80%. Hartley currently has a percentage slightly over 81%. Jitters included, Garrett Hartley is still beating the gold-shoe standard. Andersen beats Hartley between 20 and 39 yards but Hartley is at 75%! Anderson comes in around 63%. And before you say, “Well, Morten had some drop-off at the end of his career.” let me re-iterate, this compares only their first five years! So chill. Last week Coach Payton brought in a half-dozen chumps to put some fear into Garrett’s foot. Whether this works or not remains to be seen, but unlike some of you Panicky Paulas, I have faith.

Darren Sproles (136 pts-28th) moved out of his tie with Benny Ricardo (124) and ahead of Devery Henderson, Mario Bates and Hoby Brenner (126 each-29th) on the franchise scoring list. One more TD will move him into 25th, replacing Donte Stallworth, Rueben Mayes and George Rogers (138 ea). Sproles (1821-23rd) edged past Floyd Turner (1808) on the franchise receiving yards list.

Pierre Thomas (222-12th) untangled his tie with Jimmy Graham (210) and tied Danny Abramowicz on the franchise scoring list. On the franchise TD list Thomas (37-7th) also untied Graham (35) and tied Abramowicz. Thomas (251-11th) also jumped Devery Henderson (245) and Dalton Hilliard (249) on the franchise reception list.

Jimmy Graham (272-8th) untied himself with Hoby Brenner (267) and passed Quinn Early (270) on the franchise reception list.

Marques Colston scored his 60th franchise TD and sits in first place. Colston (7843-2nd) needs just 12 yards to move into first place on the franchise receiving yards list past Eric Martin (7854-1st).

Lance Moore is 14 yards away from receiving yard number 4000! He currently sits in 6th place on the franchise receiving yard list, 305 yards away from Devery Henderson.

Kenny Stills‘ 4th franchise receiving TD moves him into 48th place on the franchise TD list. That’s out of 141 Saints to ever catch a TD pass!

Mark Ingram pummeled the Cowboys on 14 carries for 145 yards and a TD. Ingram (1272-20th) powered past Alvin Maxson (1205) and Jess Phillips (1219) on the franchise rushing yards list. His 11th franchise TD ties him with Ray Zellars and Hokie Gaijan in 16th place. Praise the O-line!

Luke McCown replaced Drew Brees late in the fourth quarter and became the 223rd Saint to rush the ball.

Career Watch:
Drew Brees (349-4th) once again swapped spots with Tom Brady (347) on the NFL career TD list. Brady was on a bye last week. Brees is once again on pace for top-five numbers for completions, yards and TDs and top-ten for passing attempts in a single season. Go figger!

Brees needs just 343 passing yards to take 5th place from Warren Moon on the NFL career passing yardage list.

-M Styborski

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