After almost being defeated by their own “twelfth man”, the New Orleans Saints rallied back from a late deficit after leading most of the game to defeat the host Cincinnati Bengals along the banks of the Ohio River.
Though the snowstorm many Saints fans feared didn’t materialize, the weather conditions were hardly typical for the dome-based Black and Gold. The temperature hovered in the low thirties and there was light sleet throughout the contest.
With the victory, the Saints have extended their current winning streak to five and have given head coach Sean Payton his first consecutive winning seasons. In another accomplishment worth noting, quarterback Drew Brees had a franchise-record setting day, surpassing Archie Manning (21,734) for most passing yards in a Saints uniform.
Brees threw for 313 yards, completing 24 of 29 passes (82.8%) with two touchdowns and an interception.
Brees already holds the franchise records in pass completions and passing touchdowns but trails Manning’s record for attempts, 3,335.
Kicker Garrett Hartley had a mixed day, perfect as a field goal and extra point kicker but lacking on the kickoff. One of his kickoffs went out of bounds, resulting in a penalty while his other kickoffs were well short of the end zone and were returned by the Bengals for good field position.
Undrafted free agent running back Chris Ivory didn’t help injured running back Pierre Thomas’s bargaining position for a better contract. Tiffin’s finest had another outstanding performance, rushing for 117 yards on 15 attempts and two touchdowns, including one for 55 yards. Ivory did cough the ball up once though his fumble was recovered by tight end David Tomas.
Wide receiver Robert Meachem reminded everyone the wisdom of General Manager Mickey Loomis’s decision to pick him in the first round of the 2007 draft. Though Meachem only had three receptions, the wide receiver racked up 106 yards and a touchdown on the day.
With the Bengals offense scoring 30 points, it could be said the Saints defense, the strong point of the team for most of the 2010 season, was bailed out by the offense. The Bengals were forced to punt only twice. However the defense did make some good plays, though they didn’t have any takeaways in the contest. The Saints sacked Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer three times and allowed the Bengals to convert only 5 of their 14 third downs. They also forced the Bengals to have to settle for field goals
By far the ugliest moment for the Saints was drawing a penalty for having twelve men on the field when the Bengals were punting in the fourth quarter while sitting on an eight point lead. The inexcusable penalty kept the Cincinnati drive alive as they scored a touchdown and succeeded with their two-point attempt to tie the game up at 27 all.
The Bengals also had their “messy” moments. In the first quarter a running into the punter penalty set the Saints up for a Hartley 48-yard field goal. And then there was the costliest “bungle” losing a game of fourth and two chicken on the Cincinnati seven yard line that set up a Brees to Marques Colston touchdown pass on the next play.
It seems the wide receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson has been more prolific on Twitter than he has been on the field. After engaging in smack talk that referenced a recently gunned down New Orleans rapper via Twitter, #85 had five receptions for “nueve siete” yards and “cero” touchdowns.
The Onside Kick had a chance to shout a question to punter Tom Morstead while he was boarding the team bus concerning why he has been relieved of kick-off duties. The fan friendly player turned around, gave a shrug of the shoulders and continued walking to team bus.
A Little Help? Please?
The Saints will go into week fourteen once again staring at black and red tailfeathers. The Atlanta Falcons overcame a late Tampa Bay Buccaneer lead to stay ahead of the Saints in the NFC South by a game (and a half when factoring ATL’s tie-breaker advantage).