Good news for the Saints and fans, the team we’re used to not only showed up Sunday night but they also blew out the Panthers for a much needed win. With the victory the Saints have put themselves back in the driver seat not only for the NFC South Division but also for the #2 seed in the NFC. To be sure the road will not be easy, they have to travel to St. Louis to face a scrappy Rams team that plays well at home as well as go to Carolina for another matchup with the Panthers. Then they end the season with a home game against a Tampa Bay squad who have been playing well in the second half of the season.
Looking back at the game last night, besides Brees joining the 50,000 yard club and going over 30 TD passes for the 6th straight season, Marcus Colston had his best game of the season. If Colston plays at the this level the rest of the season, I see only big things in the Saints future. Teams that concentrate on shutting Graham down will find that with the current NFL rules of only allowing 11 players on the field, will not give them enough people to cover Colston and Graham, not to mention Sproles, Moore, Stills, Thomas, Watson….well you get the idea.
The rematch in Carolina will be interesting in that from what I could see Carolina’s main technique for covering Saints receivers was to hold them. I was amazed that the Panthers weren’t penalized more than they were for defensive holding. In the final stats it showed that Carolina was only penalized 5 times for 35 yards.
The defense gave up 6 points in the 1st quarter, and it wouldn’t be until the Saints scored 31 consecutive points that the defense allowed the Panthers to score again. Outside of the Saints old nemesis #89, Carolina’s receivers didn’t do a whole lot to instill fear in the Saints defense. When the Saints got ahead and Carolina needed to throw the ball, the Saints pass rush showed up and gave notice to why they are one of the top pass rushing units in the league.
Outside of Newton’s scrambles, the Saints defense was actually very effective against the rushing attack of the Panther’s which is one of their strong suits.
Overall it was a big win for the Saints, a lot of critics will say that it was a win at home. To be sure unless Seattle has a complete meltdown, then the Saints (if they hold serve and take the #2 seed) will have to win on the road to make it to the Big Show. But as they have done all year, they are looking at the Rams game right now, and the Rams game only. As it should be.
Bill Stephens, SaintsGab writer, Follow Saints Gab on twitter @SaintsGab