Praise Breesus! A hangover type 1! At home against the Chargers, the Saints pulled it together all over the field. As my grandmother pointed out, the difference between this win and the previous four losses really boiled down to a final drive. The difference was that our defense came up with a stop – eventually. And maybe the change even had something to do with lifted spirits from Master Payton looking on from the box.
Brees’ performance was worthy of the Johnny Unitas record he broke and now holds at 48 straight games with a touchdown pass. Brees threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns (one 57-yarder to Devery Henderson was the official record-breaker and three more went to Marques Colston), in addition to lining up a fourth-quarter field goal that made it a 7 point Saints lead after the Chargers had led by 10. Unfortunately, we were already playing without Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham tweaked his ankle during the game – an injury we all hope doesn’t last through the bye week (Graham was out blocking all game anyway, but his fantasy draft position demands that he actually catch balls).
The Chargers, for their part, were effective on offense until a couple of turnovers in the fourth quarter. Robert Meachem, our 2007 number 1 pick, caught his first two touchdown passes… and probably felt very comfortable in those endzones. And Ryan Mathews appeared to get his groove back. So, while our defense was certainly not impermeable, it at least held up against a rabid last-minute Chargers drive. To be fair, the chargers suffered several injuries on both sides of the ball, including, apparently, one to the left guard that allowed Martez Wilson to rush the edge and force a fumble to end the game. All told, our defense was much better at (and was clearly trying harder to) rush the QB. They came up with five sacks (!) and the pressure made at least several of Rivers’ throws inaccurate. One pass was even tipped by Malcolm Jenkins and nabbed by Roman Harper.
So, now we have renewed hope. Oh, I’m not asserting that we’ll make the playoffs – we are still last in the division – but at least we can hope this is the beginning of a complete turnaround.