In a recent study featured in USA Today, Huntington West Virginia and Ashland, Kentucky topped the nation's rankings for cities that suffer the most heart attacks. However, if the New Orleans Saints continue on this nailbiting path to greatness, the Big Easy may shoot right up to the top of those charts.
The first two contests of the season have both been against division rivals. We already know how the home opener versus Atlanta molded into a victory for the Saints through a huge defensive stop on the Falcons' final drive of the game.
I guess you could say it happened again, but this time the Black and Gold did not possess the lead. Up by a point, the Buccaneers were driving the ball down the field, but New Orleans made a big 3rd down stop forcing kicker Rian Lindell to attempt a 47 yard field goal with only 1:10 available on the game clock to put his team ahead by 4. Things did not go as planned for the Bucs and with over 60 yards of playing and no timeouts, the pigskin was handed to one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the National Football League. Well, dominant he was and with a mere 1:06 left in the game, Drew Brees powered his offense all the way to the Tampa Bay 9 in only 3 plays with the assisstance of Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston.
As if their lives depended it on it, the Saints hurried to the line giving Brees enough time to spike the ball and stop the clock. That left kicker Garrett Hartley with a 27 yard chip shot that he made to win the biannual meeting with a final score of 16-14. Saints fans love a good game, but I know they don't love for their blood pressure to sky rocket out of the roof of whatever establishment they are catching the game at.
Until that last drive, the offense played a little off key, but as the defense did last week against the Falcons, they managed to step it up and win at the end of the game. New Orleans' defense played fairly well allowing only seven points. Remember, the other seven came from an interception return for a touchdown when Drew Brees and his receiver Lance Moore had a communication breakdown. The D shut down Josh Freeman, allowing him only 113 yards on 9 of 22 attempts through the air. However, "muscle hamster," Doug Martin pounded the rock for 144 yards, but still failed to get into the endzone.
When the defense that ranked dead last in 2012 allows only 273 total yards, I consider it a success. Tampa Bay played well on the other side of the ball too. You can never underestimate a rival opponent. It was a tough, physical matchup for both teams, but the Saints returned home victorious.
The Black and Gold face off against another great defense when they take on the Arizona Cardinals back home in the Superdome. They have really not been able to get anything going on the ground so far this year. The running backs need to step it up next week and help take some pressure off of Drew Brees, hopefully reducing the amount of turnovers on offense.
New Orleans should be preparing all week for another physical contest this week. When Sunday arrives, look for that Saints' gas tank to be at full and fueled with tons of momentum and swagger. That high-powered, Sean Payton offense will put up numbers we have not yet witnessed throughout the first two games. I believe the cardiac kids should "Brees" right through the next two weeks with no problems.