Now that's what I like to see! Not to say that there wasn't some struggles involved in this win, but a 31-7 drubbing is about as much as you could ask for as the Saints move to 3-0, comfortably atop the NFC South. The story of these first three weeks continues to be the shocking and incredibly unexpected performance by the defense. For the third straight week the Saints have held a team under 20 points. The defense has played so well it's allowed the offensive line to sleepwalk through three weeks and maintain an unblemished record. Thanks for the birthday present Saints! Below are my thoughts on the game:
- The Saints' pass rush was the real story of this game, constantly putting pressure on Carson Palmer, and leaving him gun shy late. Four sacks to go along with 9 knock downs of Palmer and two interceptions. Palmer was never comfortable back there. The Cardinals had just 161 yards passing.
- It's funny, for the third straight week the Saints played the run well and it won't show up as such on the stat sheet. The Cards averaged 5.4 yards per carry thanks to gimic rushes of 21, 14 and 11. On traditional runs, though, the Saints held Rashard Mendenhall to 29 yards on 9 carries.
- Drew Brees was under constant duress, but that didn't stop him from having his best game of the season. He got the ball out as quickly as I've ever seen to deal with a monstrous pass rush.
- The Saints' offensive line was dreadful. Tim Lelito was horrific early before settling in late. Charles Brown was up and down, and Ben Grubbs was disappointing for the third straight week. It was clear early on the Saints had no chance running the ball, but throwing every play allowed the Cardinals to get in Brees' face numerous times.
- Lance Moore seems to no longer be a factor. Weird. He had 1 catch for 6 yards. He left the game left with some injury.
- Tyrunn Walker and Glenn Foster coming back helped immensely, as both played mostly on passing downs and did a good job of provided pressure. Walker in particular was in Palmer's face, beating him man on the interior all game long.
- The Saints' defensive line in general is playing at an extremely high level right now. The trio of Jenkins, Hicks and Jordan is much better than I could have expected.
- Khiry Robinson benefited from fresh legs and a tired defense late, but man did he look good. Would love to see him get more action early next week. No way I play Ingram right now over him.
- Kenny Vaccaro and Keenan Lewis both got their first interceptions as Saints. Money well invested.
- The honey badger got a pick on Brees, which is what i thought was Brees' lone real mistake, and taunted the local crowd afterwards. The Saints rewarded him by picking on him unmercifully one on one with Jimmy Graham and he was schooled.
- Graham could've had a much bigger game than 9 catches for 134 yards, if you can believe it, but he seemed to play a little gingerly at times. That led to a couple drops.
- That's the most I've ever seen Brees scramble. He actually looked to have decent speed. Not a bad thing to do when the offense is completely spread out.
- Somehow the Saints had 104 yards rushing and 4.3 yards a carry. They did finish the game well to pad some stats, but make no mistake, it was very tough sledding out there.
Next is the Dolphins on Monday night in the Dome for a chance to go 4-0! Who Dat!