The Saints methodically destroyed the Raiders 38-17 to improve to .500 on the season. It was a complete game.
When Drew Brees “only” throws for 219 yards and doesn’t have the weight of the game on his back, it’s a good thing. Sure the defense gave up 404 yards — the tenth time this season that the opposition has gone above 400 — but the D is a beast inside the 20. The Saints’ bend-but-don’t-break defense has been pushed to the limit several times this season and it has come up big again and again.
Steve Spagnuolo’s unit is getting better.
It started with the Eagles, then the Falcons and now the Raiders. That’s three straight solid defensive performances during which the plays that needed to be made were made.
It doesn’t get easier for the Black and Gold. The 49ers are up next, then the Falcons, Giants, Bucs, Cowboys and Panthers. They’re basically all playoff games. Is this is a playoff team? It depends on the defense and its continued improvement.
The Saints are 5-1 in their last six games after the 0-4 start, so that’s something. If they can go 5-1 in the next six, they might make the playoffs. 6-0 would be better. There’s not a lot of room for error — if any — and today’s rout of the Raiders was another step in the right direction.
Here’s what people are saying and writing after the Saints’ win:
> San Francisco Chronicle: Raiders crushed by Saints
“On one play in the fourth quarter, Marques Colston caught a 15-yarder and braced for contact. He was surprised no one was around him and turned around and started running. You can’t make this stuff up.”
> Yahoo! Sports: Saints quietly get back to .500 with a blowout win at Oakland
“If you quit paying attention to the Saints after September, nobody would blame you. New Orleans was 0-4, with a home loss to the Chiefs (!!!). The Saints didn’t have their head coach and didn’t seem to have much of a chance. But since the Saints fell off the grid, they’ve actually played really good football.”
“Already thin at the offensive tackle position with starting right tackle Zach Strief sitting out with a groin injury, the New Orleans Saints suffered another blow when Strief’s replacement Charles Brown left the game late in the second quarter with a right knee injury.”
“The Saints have drastically turned their season around with their 38-17 clubbing of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at O.co Coliseum as they’ve reached the .500 mark for the first time since the 2012 season began…”
> ESPN.com: AFC West Blog
“I’d find it hard to believe McKenzie and Allen’s jobs would be in jeopardy. Davis has to show patience…”
> ESPN.com: NFC South Blog
“It still is going to take a pretty miraculous finish for the Saints to get into the postseason. But hey, a month ago, their season appeared to be over.”