Saints DE Will Smith (Source: zimbio.com)

Saints Return To Prominance After Dispatching Cardinals 45-14 In Divisional Round, Advance To First NFC Championship Game Since 2006


QB Drew Brees all smiles after the Saints 45-14 win over the Cardinals

QB Drew Brees all smiles after the Saints 45-14 win over the Cardinals

Let all the critics and pundits be silenced, the Saints won their divisional match-up with the Cardinals convincingly after losing their last three games of the season, they are now headed to their first NFC Championship game in over two years.

Realize this, your Saints are now one game away from Super Bowl XLIV.

This is exactly what the Saints needed, a definitive win over a tough conference opponent which cements their status as THE team to beat in the NFC.

Lets put the Cowboys and the Vikings both on notice.

New Orleans dominated from bell to bell with superb defence and an offensive attack, that has not been seen through December, but was more reminisce of the team that was averaging nearly forty points a game through the first half of the season.

Quarterback Drew Brees was his usual electric self connecting on 23/32 passes for 247 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks.

His performance rivaled that of more well known play-off quarterbacks and he continues to validate his status as an elite NFL quarterback thus propelling him to what seems to equal a future Hall of Fame career.

How he was not awarded the MVP for his performance this season this writer will never know.

In a more surprising turn running back Reggie Bush had what was possibly his best performance as a pro rushing for 84 yards, one touchdown with a long run of 46 yards.

Bush, who only averaged a 3.6 yards per carry through the first three years of his career, averaged 16.8 yards per carry against the Cardinals who were considered a team tough against the run.

Reggie Bush clebrates after an 83 yard punt return in the divisional game against the Cardinals.

Reggie Bush clebrates after an 83 yard punt return in the divisional game against the Cardinals.

To go along with his rushing prowess Bush chipped in 108 yards on three punt returns including an 86 yard return for a touchdown, the third longest in post season history.

Bush accounted for 216 total yards from scrimmage and after his performance there is no way he is getting away from the Saints in 2010.

There is only one word to describe his performance, phenomenal, and maybe Mr.Bush has now hit a turning point in his pro career so hopefully moving forward this is the kind of output the Saints can expect.

So from here on out he will be referred to as Mr. Bush until further notice.

For the first time in nearly two months New Orleans had virtually every defensive starter on the field at the same time and it showed as they were able to dominate the Cardinals top rated offence.

Cardinal quarterback Kurt Warner was held to 17/26 passing for 205 yards, no touchdowns and was intercepted once. He was also sacked once by Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis and was also knocked out temporarily after taking a vicious hit from defensive end Bobby McCray right before the half.

Excluding running back Tim Hightower’s 70 yard touchdown run from the Cardinals first play from scrimmage, New Orleans only surrendered 31 yards throughout the entirety of the game shutting down Arizona’s run game completely.

Defensively it all seemed to work for the Saints as they were able to hold Arizona to only 359 total yards allowing them to convert on only 1 of 8 third downs and o of 1 fourth down attempts, last week Arizona put up over 500 yards of offense against the Green Bay Packers to go along with 51 points.

New Orleans will now host the winner of the Cowboys – Vikings  game later this afternoon to determine the next NFC Champion and Super Bowl contender.

As if the Saints could set any more records or mark any more firsts this season the Louisiana Superdome has never hosted an NFC Championship game until now, another first.

For complete details of the Arizona – Saints game follow this link to view the game center on NFL.com or follow this linkfor a more statistical break down from the game book, you can see the Cardinals point of view via raisingzona.com at this link  and also don’t forget to check out the Reggie Bush highlight video below.

I gotta go take an Aspirin. 

 


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Tags: 2010 NFC Divisional Play-Off Arizona Cardinals Arizona Cardinals At New Orleans Saints NFC Divisional Game 2010 Drew Brees New Orleans Saints NFC Championship Game Reggie Bush Sean Payton