NEW ORLEANS, LA (WAFB) - Fans of the New Orleans Saints love the number nine, for obvious reasons, but 10 wins in a row just sounds better than nine and they got just that Thursday night, with a 31-17 roasting of the Atlanta Falcons and a lot of the credit goes to the defense.
The way the Saints (10-1) are constructed now, superstar quarterback Drew Brees can pass for less than 200 yards and the “Who Dats” can still beat an arch-rival like the Falcons (4-7) pretty comfortably.
The defense has improved so much since the teams met up for the first time. Yes, New Orleans won that game in week three but they gave up 37 points. The Falcons scored roughly half that this time around.
The Saints defense really got after quarterback Matt Ryan, sacking him six times. The “Black and Gold” forced four turnovers, with three of those as the Falcons appeared to be on their way to scoring. And oh, by the way, Atlanta finished with just 26 yards rushing. On top of that, Ryan was the leading rusher for the Falcons. He had two carries for 16 yards.
“Proud of how our guys played,” said head coach Sean Payton. “Obviously, the turnovers were significant, the rushing numbers, all the things that lead to winning or keep you from winning, I felt were on display tonight.”
“We talk about proving them right,” added defensive end Cam Jordan. “At some point in time, you want to be the bullies on the block, when it comes down to running defense as we’re doing. We ended up letting them score twice, I think. I don’t know what the end score was, but I’m not happy about it. We can’t let our foot off the gas at the end of it. We have to take advantage of those 50/50 balls that they’re throwing up, but I do love the way that we played today. I love the four turnovers, I love these sacks, the pressure, the QB hits. For all terms and purposes, we had our Thanksgiving.”
“Our defense plays like that and we’re getting 5-yard rush, those are all great things,” said Brees. “For me as a QB, it’s still about managing the game in the best way I can.”
Now, that’s not to say that Brees had a bad night. He threw four touchdown passes. All of them were to guys who went undrafted.
“It was a great catch. You know, it was just a seam route, he beat the guy. It’s one of those where you put it out in front of him and he’s a big target. He went up and pulled it down, really made a great play. He told me earlier. He said he wanted to make up for the one that happened at the goal line where the guy knocked it out. He said, ‘I never should have let the guy knock it out of my hands.’ He held on to that one,” Brees explained about the touchdown pass to tight end Dan Arnold.
“I think it’s a play that we’ve had in for a couple weeks now,” said Arnold. “It just happened. Having a great time. And we got the look that we wanted. Coach Payton’s game plan for them is like religion. It really shows how much the coaches really give detail on their game plan and really puts players in their best position.”
The Saints will look to make it 11 wins in a row when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys next Thursday, November 30.