New Orleans continues it’s dominance of NFC South teams with it’s latest lopsided victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With every new win the Saints set a new record for the most successful start in franchise history and the 10 game winning streak is the first ever for New Orleans.
Drew Brees finally ended his streak of turnovers by not throwing a single interception or fumbling the ball and not coincidentally he also was not sacked for the first time since the week six match-up against the Giants.
Brees completed 19 of 29 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns, a low yardage total for the usually three hundred yard passer, but the Saints decided instead to rely on the run and not the pass — hence the low yardage output.
Reggie Bush was out with swelling in his right knee but running backs Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell both hammered the hapless Buccaneers in his absence.
Thomas rushed for 92 yards on 11 carries, a whopping average of 8.4 yards a carry.
Meanwhile Bell tacked on 75 yards on 13 carries, a 5.8 yard per carry average, and tied his career best of two rushing touchdowns.
When the dust finally settled the Saints racked up 183 yards rushing of which 147 came in the second half of the game, showcasing their talents to finish opponents off.
Wide receiver Robert Meachem is emerging in the Saints offense after two tumultuous seasons of not living up to his first round draft designation.
Meachem hauled in two touchdown passes and proved to be a valuable asset in the red-zone.
Meachem has already surpassed his career high in yards (333) and touchdowns (6) this season and is vying for the second receiver spot with Devery Henderson, continued play of this caliber will surely secure more playing time for the third year pro.
Defensively the Saints appeared to find some answers and patch what has been a leaky run defense during the absence of defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.
New Orleans surrendered only 219 total yards to the Buccaneers and besides the opening drive score did not surrender any more points through the game.
The top Buccaneer rusher was Cadillac Williams with 32 yards followed by Earnest Graham with 31 yards, they did not score a rushing touchdown.
Buccaneer quarterback Josh Freeman was a dismal 17 of 33 passing for 100 yards to go along with his lone touchdown pass in the first quarter, he also was sacked three times during the course of the game and threw three interceptions.
The first came courtesy of rookie corner back Malcolm Jenkins who was starting in place of injured corner Tracy Porter, the first of his career and hopefully not the last.
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, roaming the middle, nabbed the second followed by backup safety Chris Reis who grabbed the third late in the fourth quarter.
With this win the Saints have taken a commanding lead in the NFC South and have so far swept the Falcons, Panthers and Buccaneers in division play. It seems unlikely that any of them will catch New Orleans at this point and the road to the play-offs seems all but assured.
New England will travel to the Super Dome to take on the Saints on Monday Night Football next week, the first time the two teams have met in the regular season since week 10 of the 2005 season.
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