Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The second burning of Atlanta

This time there wasn't a Big Ben play. The Saints simply took it to Atlanta, hung in tough and, despite some ugly play at times, held onto their lead and won ESPN's Monday night NFL game 35-27. For the first time before the home crowd in the Superdome the boys in black and gold trailed their opponent, even though that lead was a short one. Quarterback Drew Brees outgunned his counterpart on the Falcons, Matt Ryan, in a convincing manner. with his stable of tight ends and running backs (Colston, Henderson, Shockey and Thomas) and extended the lead for the Saints to 3-1 in the NFC's South Conference. Colston was credited with making a couple of key plays in his 85-yard game in which he also scored one touchdown, while Pierre Thomas registered a 100-yard game with 91 yards gained on the ground. Even Reggie Bush managed to score his sixth TD for the year with the go-ahead points that put his team into the lead for good. The Saints also were at the top of their game defensively with heavy pressure applied to Ryan and his offense both on the line and on the passing routes. Tracy Porter was credited with a possible game-saving interception in the fourth quarter. Brees admitted that he thought the Saints could play better. "I don't think we played that great today," he shot back at newsmen after the game. "I think our best is yet to come." Maybe he's right, but for most of those who are used to seeing the Saints start and stop from season to season, it is refreshing to see the team register so well and play mostly injury free. Only one other team, Indianapolis, led by New Orleanian quarterback Peyton Manning is still undefeated. There's still at least nine more games left to the season, so it's good to not get too overconfident or cocky. But at 7-0, the Saints' record is tied for their best start in franchise history. The coffee and chickory tastes a bit better this morning and everyone is smiling broadly as they go about their daily rituals. Next week is a short one in terms of preparation with conference rival Carolina.
Meanwhile, the National League champs Philadelphia Phillies fought against elimination at the hands of the American League New York Yankees last night at the same time. They'll play at least one more game in New York on Wednesday night to determine who will win the World Series after winning the fifth game last night 8-6. The Yankees lead the series 3 games to 2 and have never lost to any team in previous series play when they led 3-1. Chris Utley, who has proven to be a one-man scoring machine for the Phils tied a record previously held by Reggie Jackson for hitting five home runs in a World Series. Utley hit two more four-baggers last night. Mark my words. If he hits another home run in the next game (or the final game, if necessary), we may all be calling Utley "Mr. November."

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