NEW ORLEANS — Fun question: “When's the last time the New Orleans Saints lost an October football game?”
It was a 27-21 defeat in Kansas City on October 23, 2016. That's over 1000 days by my poor math skills.
Here's an even more fun question: “When's the last the time the Saints lost an October home game?”
Would you believe it was to the Colt McCoy led Cleveland Browns in … what for it ... 2010!
The Saints defeated the Arizona Cardinal 31-9 and delivered nine years of never losing an October football game in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. There are first graders who have no idea what losing a Saints home football game in October even feels like. The Saints winning in October at home is as certain a thing as Halloween at this point.
The bigger news than the Saints being the safest bet on earth at home in October was the return of Drew Brees from a thumb injury that kept him out the last five weeks. All he did was go 34-of-43 for 373 yards and 3 touchdown and if we had time traveled from August we'd have never guessed Drew even missed a practice, let alone five games.
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The Saints had 510 yards of offense and dominated the Cardinals so thoroughly, it's scary to think they did so while not even playing well the first half. Wil Lutz missed a 47-yard field goal and Drew Brees made a mess of the Saints drive at the end of the first half and it ended with a penalty and no points even though the Saints were in the red zone.
The Saints are so good and dominant a football team their first half struggles didn't even matter. Arizona never once really threatened the Saints and once the Saints stuffed the Cardinals on 4th-and-1 inside the Arizona 30 yard line and added a score to make the game 17-6 the outcome was decided.
The Cardinals going for it on 4th-and-1 inside their own 30 was hyper aggressive, but double digit underdogs need to be a little reckless to win on the road. Kliff Kingsbury's decision to go for it deep in his own territory was defensible, his decision to run the ball straight into the teeth of the No. 2 rushing defense in the NFL was not.
Arizona had 40 yards on 11 carries, but without the 19-yard run on an end-a-round by receiver Christian Kirk, the Cardinals had 10 carries for 21 yards. The Saints defense has allowed 57 yards rushing combined the last two weeks. Teams are abandoning the run against the Saints faster than Nick Saban abandoned the Miami Dolphins to go coach the University of Alabama.
I don't know what else to say about the Saints defense except they are deep, destructive, and have their best player, Cam Jordan, putting together his best year. Jordan has eight sacks and is forcing his way into NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The defense is great from front to back and teams with bad or inexperienced quarterbacks are in for very bad Sundays against it.
Brees return gave the offense an unmistakable jolt. Teddy Bridgewater was fantastic during his time starting, but Drew Brees is on an entirely different level. It's like the difference between a really nice laptop and one of those $3,000 dollar ones serious video game players use with the super fast processors and ridiculous amounts of memory. Drew Brees can just process a defense and deliver the football faster and more accurately into tight windows than almost any quarterback ever.
From the moment Brees got hurt everyone knew he'd want to get back as soon as possible and why wouldn't he want to get back under center of the deepest most talented Saints team he's ever been on since he arrived in 2006?
Brees acknowledged as much in a post-game interview with Cox Sports TV.
"Listen, I am on borrowed time. I never thought I'd be playing this long and so I am going to take advantage of every single moment and every opportunity I get."
After the game, during Sean Payton's press conference, when Payton said Brees looked “fabulous all week in practice,” I expected a “Trust Us” neon sign to drop from the ceiling behind him while he winked before walking off. Confident boarding on arrogant Sean Payton is my favorite Sean Payton.
Since starting 0-2 in 2017 the New Orleans Saints are 31-6 playing in regular season games they really cared about winning. The 2019 Saints are 7-1 so they can be as confident and cocky as they like. When you haven't lost in an October since “The Social Network” was ruling the theaters and “Like a G6” topped the music charts, you can do pretty much whatever you want before, during and after games.
You know the best part though? The Saints averaged 33.5 points the last two weeks without Alvin Kamara. That should scare the rest of the NFL more than any frights on Halloween.
Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer and Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @SaintsForecast or download the Saints Happy Hour Podcast.
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