ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – A cluster of fans, in unison, climbed the steps and headed for the exits. There remained to play 8:24 … in the third quarter.
Mark Ingram trotted off the field toward the bench, having just scored his third rushing touchdown of the day to give his team a 27-point lead. He found a New Orleans Saints supporter in the first row and floated a spiral. Perfect catch.
This was a day in which even New Orleans fans made plays.
The Saints crushed the Buffalo Bills, who had previously been 4-0 at home 47-10 in an utterly dominating performance. New Orleans (7-2) rode its offensive line and extended its slim lead in the NFC North. The Saints sent a message Sunday: There's no questioning if the team is for real amid its seven-game win streak.
All game long, the Saints offensive line unlocked and sealed gaping rushing lanes. The stats were stunning.
New Orleans rushed for 298 yards and a franchise-record six touchdowns. The Saints generated 32 first downs while Buffalo managed just 10. The Bills hit quarterback Drew Brees only once, and New Orleans never punted.
Not coincidentally, this performance came when the Saint offensive line has been as healthy as it has all season long.
In addition to the three scores, Ingram ran the ball 21 times for 131 yards. This marked his first career game with three rushing scores. It also was the first time a Saint had rushed for three scores in a game since Week 13 of 2006.
Rookie backup running back Alvin Kamara chimed in with another 106 yards on 12 attempts and added a score.
It marked the first time the Saints had a pair of running backs eclipse 100 rushing yards since Week 16 of 2006.
As impressive as New Orleans was on offense, the defense also kept pace.
The Saints limited Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to nine completions on 18 attempts for 56 yards and one interception. He was pulled in the fourth quarter. Buffalo scored its field goal on its opening possession, and then was shut out the rest of the game.
The Saints now return home to face the Redskins next week, but then embark on a crucial three-game stretch at the Los Angeles Rams, at home against the division-rival Panthers and at the Falcons.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.
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