NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS, DEC. 5
It’s snowing in Cincinnati; seems like it should be an advantage for the Bengals. But the Saints get up on them early 17-0 thanks to a heavy dose of Pierre Thomas (crossing my fingers he’s back by now) and Marcus Colston. The Who Deys make a game of it with two Brees INTs, including one for a TD, but the Who Dats hang on for a 24-21 road win.
ST. LOUIS RAMS AT THE SAINTS, DEC. 12
Rams win the toss and march to a FG. They’re going to pay for that. Long drive, Henderson TD. Rams punt, Bush scores on the return. Rookie Patrick Robinson gets his first interception and picks off Bradford. Colston scores on the short field. It’s 21-3 before the St. Louis fans find their seats. The Rams have no answer for the Saints offense and the D takes the ball away from them three times en route to an easy 38-10 pounding.
THE SAINTS AT BALTIMORE RAVENS, DEC. 19
It’s snowing again in the AFC North and the Ravens drive to the Saints 3 before Vilma forces and Sharper recovers a Ray Rice fumble. Eight plays and 97 yards later, Colston caps the defining drive of the game. The Saints out-physical one of the most physical teams in the league, and go into halftime up 21-3 on three Brees TDs. It’s the defense’s turn in the second half as Robinson, Vilma and Shanle all sack Flacco, and Porter and Sharper each get a pick for a 31-10 statement win heard round the NFL.
THE SAINTS AT ATLANTA FALCONS, DEC. 27
It’s a back and forth game as you would expect with the Saints taking a 21-17 lead into half. But the game’s in prime time, and Reggie Bush loves prime time. He scores his second TD of the game on the second half’s first possession. On the next Atlanta possession, Sharper picks Ryan to steal the momentum for good. A long, ass-pounding drive later, Shockey scores to make it 35-17 going into the fourth. Brees finishes 20-27, 278 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. Meachem and T. Porter add TDs late to make the final score a head turning 45-17 victory over the Dirty Birds.
THE REGGIE FACTOR
I try to play with a balance of the run and the pass, but when Brees gets hot, why not go with it? And Reggie Bush makes Brees really hot (wait, that sounds weird). With Bush back, the red zone offense gets a lot more potent. Pitches outside, draw plays, screens and plays to the TEs all work way better with him either as the back or as a decoy. On the rest of the field, Henderson and Meachem start getting those long TDs we’ve been missing, but Marcus Colston benefits most from Reggie being back. He’s not going to be double teamed nearly as much, so watch for him to start scoring often.
See Chris Lee when Supagroup, the Happy Talk Band and Brah play a free show at Tipitina’s Friday, Dec. 3.