Saints Leash Bengals, First String Offense And Defense Look Sharp In 17-7 Win.
By Keith Null
The Saints continue their dominance of the Bengals in the pre-season bringing the total to seven straight victories over Cincinnati.
New Orleans first string offense looked sharp in their effort to shake off the rust in their first game action of the 2009 season.
In the limited time he was on the field Drew Brees went 6 of 9 passing for 88 yards and one touchdown to tightend Jeremy Shockey, a 22 yard grab for the score.
Shockey clearly was Brees’ favorite target as he caught three of the four passes on the scoring drive, totaling 61 yards while managing to nab the long touchdown pass.
If the Shockey – Brees connection remains this potent, Shockey may be in for another pro-bowl year.
Neither running back distinguished themselves as both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas struggled to pick up yards against Cincinnati’s defense.
Bush managed 5 yards on 3 carries while Thomas totaled 15 yards on 4 carries — a 2.85 yard per carry average between the two backs.
The Saints first string defense looked pretty good but clearly still needs a little work with tackling, missing a a few key stops.
Even with that they were able to hold Carson Palmer and the Bengals offense to no points while they were on the field. They also forced two turnovers, a fumble and an interception.
The fumble was created when safety Darren Sharper stuck Bengal runningback Cedric Benson after an 11 yard run. Vilma scooped up the fumble and streaked down the field for a 47 yard gain before being forced out of bounds at the Cincinnati 6 yard line.
The ensuing Saints possession stalled in the red zone and Garret Hartley was sent in for what seemed to be a chip shot field goal from the twenty, which he booted wide left.
The second turnover was an interception courtesy of Jonathan Vilma when he stepped in front of a pass intended for receiver Andre Caldwell. Vilma ran the interception back 65 yards before fumbling the ball after being tackled by Caldwell, the ball was recovered by the Bengals.
That pretty much wraps up what the first team offense and defense accomplished during their first limited pre-season action, some of the other highlights of the game are as follows:
- Backup QB Mark Brunell went 9 of 13 for 128 yards and one touchdown.
- Robert Meachem was the recipient of the Brunell touchdown pass, hauling in the 64 yard TD strike after getting behind the Bengal coverage.
- Kicker Garrett Hartley, after missing a 20 yard field goal early in the game, drilled a 54 yarder in the 4th quarter.
- Rookie linebacker Jonathan Cassillas picked off a pass via a deflection by coverage from Malcolm Jenkins.
- Anthony Hargrove recorded the teams only sack when he made a quick move to get to quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan for a 3 yard lose.
The Saints next pre-season game is August 22nd when they face the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. If you want to see the entire breakdown of the Saints – Bengals game follow this link to the game center on NFL.com.
Several players were listed on the injury report and did not play in the game — CB Tracy Porter (hamstring), LB Mark Simoneau (triceps), S Chip Vaughn (knee), WR D’Juan Woods (neck), DE Bobby McCray (back), WR Courtney Roby (hamstring), CB Reggie Jones (Achilles).
Charles Grant went down late in the first quarter with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, he was escorted off the field a little while later by the training staff and no further details have been given.
It appears the Saints are down a few tightends after placing Dan Campbell (knee) on injured reserve earlier this week. Tightend Darnell Dinkins seemed to hurt his leg on a play late in the fourth quarter, although the seriousness of the injury is unknown.
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