The Saints also found their running game as their three-headed rush attack combined for 175 rushing yards, the second highest rushing total of the season.
That’s in stark contrast to their loss to the Buccaneers when the they rushed for only 65-yards (56-yards in their loss to the Rams)
Chris Ivory received the bulk of the carries in only his second game of the year after coming off the PUP list, but it was Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles that turned in longer runs and better yard-per-carry averages.
Thomas performed very well, rushing eight times for 66 yards, including a 33-yard scramble and 9-yard touchdown run in which he escaped several tackles.
He also caught four passes for 25 yards.
Sproles rushed for 42 yards and caught five more passes for 52 yards. He continues to be a valuable member of the offense and a threat in both the pass and run game.
Defensively the Saints played possessed. After missing tackles in their last meeting, and letting Earnest Graham run wild with over 100 yards rushing, the stiffened up and tackled phenomenally well while bottling up the ground game.
LeGarrette Blount was held in check as he managed only 72 yards and was stuffed on more than one short yardage situation.
Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman had his be game of the year against the Saints in their first match up. He threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns, but he was held this go around to 28 yards and one touchdown.
A telling state to how dominate the Saints defense was during the game, they held the Buccaneers to a third down conversion rate of only 16% as they managed to convert only two of twelve total attempts.
The Saints made all the right plays, played focused, and played as physical as they had all season.
But as good as was to get such a huge win there is still a tough and very telling road ahead.
Next on the docket is an away game against the Atlanta Falcons, and games between these two are always unbearably close. Last year they split the series between them making the Falcons the NFC South winner.
Then its’ back-to-back games against two of the NFC’s top teams — the Giants and Lions — and both can get after the quarterback just about better than any team in the league.
For now the Saints are back on track and relatively comfortable atop their division. But they have proven things can change dramatically from week-to-week, so let’s hope the “good’ Saints stick around for a while.