The Saints hit the road for the final regular game of the season with a visit to division rivals the Carolina Panthers…without Big Ron this time. After the injury to Drew in week 2 I had little hope of making the post season, my stomach went sick and I thought well …that’s that. It’s great to be wrong sometimes. Teddy held the fort, the defence and special teams went into beast mode and we clinched the South and a place in playoffs earlier than I expected anyway. And more importantly for me Drew got 5 weeks off to rest and I think it’s paying off right now, he looks fresher than ever.
Coming into the final game of the regular season we still had a chance to clinch the number one seed in the NFC, we would need to beat Carolina, hope the Lions beat Green Bay and Seattle beat the 49ers. A Green Bay loss and Saints win would be enough to clinch the number 2 seed and avoid Wild Card weekend. The Saints though seem to be clicking just when it matters so I fear no team, only January weather.
The Saints injuries in the Secondary looked to be bit of a worry, we would be without Eli Apple (CB), Von Bell (S), Ethan Greenidge (OL), Zach Line (FB), Noah Spence (DE), Manti Te’o (LB) and Marcus Williams (S). We have been pretty knocked up on the injury front this year but it’s that old saying next man up and so far we have very good strength in depth. Even to be able to rest Drew at end of this game and bring on a 5-0 starter in Teddy shows we are stacked for talent and have players with the perfect attitude, Michael Thomas being one of the best.
The Saints started the game with a 75 yard 8 play drive to open the scoring, Alvin Kamara with the TD and back in groove this week looking ready to hit the post season. The team looked well up for this and were going to make sure we do our job well and not take our foot off the gas. Lutz converted the extra point 7-0. Another opening drive TD. Kamara has been looking back to his best and added another TD later on in the quarter, AJ Klein the former Panther then picked off a Will Grier pass to give the Saints a three score lead early into the second quarter. Drew Brees was looking really comfortable, as for the poor Panthers QB, he just looked terrified, hearing the roar of DeMario Davis thundering down on you must not be the nicest of places. Grier was getting beat up, and you know what it was fun to watch I won’t lie. I won’t even mention the Panthers offence much in this article and that’s the best compliment I can give the defense. They were non-existent.
Drew was having a comfortable night and would go on to find Tre’Quan Smith for a 1-yard TD, he then found Cook for a 21-yard score, Cook has become a real weapon the last few weeks and he deserves massive praise. The score read 35-0, I actually did not know how to feel, I was happy but missing the heart attack. I am sure the Saints will make up for it soon.
Panthers Quarterback Grier had finally given up leaving the game with a foot injury early on in the second quarter, he finished the game with a 0.0 Quarterback Rating on 1 of 8 for 4 yards. The Saints didn’t let up and kept their foot on the gas. They would make it 42-3 in the 3rd quarter, Taysom Hill feeling left out and getting in on the action. Carolina would add a TD later on to give the game a final score of 42-10.
Drew Brees would finish 19-30, 253 yards and 3 TD’s, Murray (17 CAR, 61 Yards) and Kamara (8 CAR, 39 yards, 2 TD) had a really good night, the Saints run game was coming back. Brees threw to 9 different receivers on the night with Smith and Cook the stand outs for me. All in all it was probably the most dominant Saints performance score wise I have seen as Saints fan, I think the beating we give the Eagles last year was more fun though. Especially that 4th down play to Kamara, my Eagles friend still has not got over that.
So it’s on to the playoffs and time to get some revenge on the Vikings. If the Saints are to make the Superbowl then it’s going to be the hard way. You show me an easy way in the NFL though. No game is easy. We are peaking at the right time and we have best road record in the NFL over past three seasons. So let’s go get em!! Teams won’t want to face us. We have one of the best offences in the league and weapons galore, but now unlike years before we have a defense, and its defenses that win you championships.
Just quick shout out before I go to the Philadelphia Eagles and for saving humanity by making sure the Cowboys are not making it to the play-offs. Thank you, thank you and thank you!!
Happy New Year all.