That felt good. Looked good, sounded good, it was good. See what a run game’ll do for a team? It helped a pretty pedestrian team like Tampa Bay roll to a 3-1 record. It makes an okay, “game-managing” quarterback (see Alex Smith) look good, and a good QB (see Matt Ryan) seem great. And it makes a very good team, like the Saints, seem unstoppable. But seriously, did anyone think Chris Ivory was going to pound the Bucs that hard? He looked like Deuce back there. Ten (!) yards a carry? Wow! I’ll admit, every time he touched the ball I held my breath for him to fumble, but that was impressive. And they really didn’t involve him in the passing game; those touches went to Ladell Betts. He’ll be even more of a threat when the coaches trust him to catch the ball. Marvin Mitchell and rookie Patrick Robinson also had breakout games. These are the type of role players that you need to go on a championship run. When Reggie, PT, Greer, Porter, Shanle, or (God forbid) Vilma gets nicked up late in the year – somebody’s going to be hurt late in the year – it’s great to know the guy stepping in has already proven they are ready to handle the spotlight.
Hartley, come on man. What’s happening here? Are you not getting laid enough? Maybe as one of last year’s playoff heroes, you’re actually getting laid too much? You do have a bit of an Emo kid/Justin Beiber vibe. Chicks must love you, but could you do me a favor? Just reel it in a little bit. Reel it in. You’ve got a job to do and we’re all counting on you. Think of game day like a prizefighter does. You need your head empty and your sack full. Stop thinking so much about those Metarie broads you hooked up with at Lucy’s Friday, and just kick the ball with muscle memory, man. Come on! Another thing, you came close to calling out the holder and snapper after the game and you should know that no one’s going to buy that. Not the fans, and certainly not the guys in your locker room. Get your house in order and reel it in.
Coming up is the absolute worst team New Orleans could play next. The Cleveland Browns, at 1-5, and starting rookie QB Colt McCoy is the kind of team that seems like an automatic win. And with Pittsburgh looming on Halloween, it would be easy to look past them. They’re not terrible, can run the ball, and the Saints have only been consistent in their inconsistency. If the breaks go their way, could they beat the Saints at home? Here’s what Madden had to say.
Brees to Colston
Week 7, Cleveland @ NO – I played this game a few times, and kept getting the same result, Saints blowout. 28-0, 48-10, it’s not going to go like that, is it? The Browns, although 1-5, have been in every game they’ve played but the Pittsburgh loss, and they were in that one until the second half. But they are starting rookie QB Colt McCoy (why does that make me nervous?) and their offense is 31st in points scored. Without much of a passing game (just Josh Cribbs), the Browns are forced to run, run, pass on third and long, punt, run, run, trick play, punt, run, run, wildcat, punt. The Saints D takes Colt McCoy apart with six sacks, two INT’s and a safety. Even in a game where Brees throws three INTs, two to Fujita, (sorry Drew, I blew it again) and Ivory fumbles, the Browns have no answer for the Saints offense.
Ivory for the TD.
Colston catches a TD, H. Evans runs in another, and player of the game C. Ivory runs for 97 yards on 17 carries, with three catches for another 58 yards and a TD. Saints D steps up after every turnover as the Browns lose respectably 23-10, but with the play action provided by Ivory’s big game, this game could easily get out of hand.
Brees to Henderson
Looking forward to: What’s going to happen with Sharper/Jenkins? Does Sharper get his spot back? I think not, at least not right away. But if he does start again, does Jenkins go back to the nickel CB spot? If so, where does that leave Gay and Robinson? In any case, a good problem to have.
Not looking forward to: Rooting against Scott Fujita. He was one of the most stand up guys on the Saints the last couple of years, a real early believer in, and foundation of, the Sean Payton era. But on Sunday, from noon to three, it’s going to be all “Hey Fujita! Fuuuuuuuuuuuggggggyyyoouuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!”
Media Prediction: “Trap game” talk about the Saints looking past Cleveland to their Helloween showdown with Pittsburgh. If there’s not, there should be.
The Buddy D Memorial List (a.k.a. If the playoffs started today)
NFC: 1. New York Giants, 2. Atlanta, 3. Chicago vs. 6. Philadelphia, 4. Arizona vs. 5. New Orleans.
AFC: 1. New York Jets, 2. Pittsburgh, 3. New England vs. 6. Tennessee, 4. Houston vs. 5. Baltimore.
Madden Tip: Don’t play as the Browns.