Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
Here is some free advice for Mickey Loomis; every week you don’t give Drew Brees his extension the price goes up.
Brees did what he’s been doing a lot since 2006 which is lead the Saints from behind, on the road, against a division opponent. He drove the Saints 89 yards on 13 plays in just over six minutes and after Green Bay beat Atlanta Sunday night he has the Saints in position to go basically three games clear in the NFC South with a win in Tampa next Sunday.
Before we get to anything else in the game let’s take a moment and acknowledge Brees was 8 for 9 on the final drive and was so fantastic the Saints only had to convert two third downs on the drive and those were short yardage. Just because we’ve seen Brees do this so often we expect it doesn’t make it any less magnificent. Getting the ball and driving 80-plus yards is a rare thing in the NFL. Ask Eagles or Texans fans if getting the ball and driving to tie or win a football game late in the fourth quarter is routine? They both lost because their quarterbacks couldn’t execute when the game was on the line.
What the Saints did was awesome and in 10 years when the Saints have a different quarterback and a coach who gets flustered in crunch time and can’t manage the clock we’ll remember Sundays like yesterday and realize how special they were.
This isn’t to say the Saints are perfect. Carolina took control of the game in the second half and the horrible roughing the quarterback penalty on Turk McBride seemed to really deflate the Saints. The defense is still struggling to get off the field on third down (Carolina was 7-12 converting third downs). They have shown for five weeks they are prone to give up the big play and Carolina hit two more courtesy of Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams. The thing that concerns even more than the big plays are it seems to me teams can beat the Saints to the corner on running plays and short passes. Maybe it’s the linebackers or something else but all I know is running East-West on the Saints can be very successful. The defense seems slow to me. It’s like the LSU defense only the exact opposite.
The Saints defense did do just enough to win the game by getting a late stop and an early interception. In the offense crazy NFL of 2011 I’m not sure how much defense the Saints need to get to the Super Bowl because they won in 2009 with a 25th-ranked unit. I’m pretty sure they need more than they are getting now. If they can get better on third down or create more turnovers it will be good enough. It won’t take a complete turnaround.
You don’t need a lot of defense when you can crank out 445 yards of offense and 30 points and it feels for most of Sunday like an average game.
I’m not sure if there is any super secret magical game plan out there that can stop the Saints offense unless you consider hitting Drew Brees over and over again a new theory. Forgoing the blitz and trying to cover Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Lance Moore and the rest of the offense without a pass rush isn’t possible unless Drew Brees is going to have an off day. Brees doesn’t look like he plans on having one of those because as I mentioned at the beginning the man wants to get paid.
Loomis do it already before Drew demands the Mississippi River, Avery Island, and Bourbon Street to get his signature. More Sundays like yesterday and his extension will include everyone in New Orleans acknowledge they are now living in Breesiana. Now that I think about it Saints fans have been living there for five years.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.