Sunday's game ended with Saints' fans grilling up some bison burgers as the Black & Gold improved to 6-1 on the season beating the Buffalo Bills 35-17. But while all was grand in Who Dat Land, Coach Sean Payton's mood and tone was not so jubilant following the win in the Superdome.
"I was pleased that we got the win, but it certainly wasn't our best effort. I thought we made a lot of mistakes in a lot of areas and those are things that, starting with me, we've got to do a better job with," he insisted. "We made some silly mistakes... we had problems with the penalties... I think there are a lot of things we've got to get cleaned up... we didn't play our best game today."
Hold on a second coach, things weren't that bad were they?
Sure, the team managed to get no points after the Bills turned the ball over on the first play of the game and Garrett Harley missed 2 field goals. Yeah, I guess committing 8 penalties is a lot. Oh right , Drew Brees was sacked 4 times, bringing the season total up to 18.
Sean Payton expecting more out his team is to be expected as the team is about to hit their toughest stretch of games this season. The results of this game may not have been so favorable if a higher quality of opponent was on the field, say the 49ers or the Seahawks.
All that being said though, I feel there are a lot more positives with this ballclub then negatives.
First off, really take in the fact that you are watching a future 1st ballot Hall of Fame QB slice and dice defenses on a weekly basis. Through 7 games this season Brees is completing 67.5% of his passes and has totaled 2290 yards with 19 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. These numbers are what we expect from Drew because of his track record, but it should still be noted that this guy is one of the best of ALL TIME. He had five TD passes against the Bills.
To go along with having one of the best QBs in the game, the Saints also have the top tight end in Jimmy Graham. None of us will ever really know how much pain he was really in yesterday, but his warrior mentality pushed him though and managed to add 2 scores to his yearly total, putting him at 9 on the season. The Graham Reaper (thanks Facebook fan post) certainly deserves the big pay day that is coming his way. And relax Who Dat Nation, GM Mickey Loomis will find a way to make the money work for the team and the tight end.
Kenny Stills is another big positive. The rookie has scored touchdowns in consecutive games and has really cemented himself as the team's number three option. He now has 13 receptions for 327 yards and is #2 on the team in receiving TDs this year with 3.
The running game gets a lot of criticism, and for good reason, but is showing signs of life over the last 2 games. Sure the team only amassed 77 yards on the ground against Buffalo, but Pierre Thomas accounted for 65 of those, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Last, but certainly not least is Rob Ryan and the defense. The Saints are allowing just 17 points per game and currently have 9 interceptions, have forced 8 fumbles and are creating loads of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The unit is top 10 in the league in sacks - with 24 sacks - while the Fleur Di Lis D ranks 12 overall in the NFL right now. To steal a memorable Les Miles quote, "Spectacular group of men. You go find them, you throw your arms around them and you give them a big kiss on the mouth… if you're a girl." The turnaround is night and day from last season.
We tend to harp on negatives too damn much. No team, not even the Chiefs (despite what their record says) is perfect. For now, Who Dat Nation, I say bask in the glory of being 6-1 and dream big. The secret is to visualize in order to realize.
After suffering a disappointing loss in Oxford, the 13th-ranked LSU Tigers attempt to lick their wounds during Homecoming today against the Furman Paladins.
Furman has experienced an up and down campaign in the FCS, going 3-4 overall. After suffering back-to-back losses to start the month of October, the Paladins got back on track last Saturday with a 27-10 home triumph over Appalachian State.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs, and just looking at the numbers, it shows the Paladins are in trouble.
Furman has failed to impress offensively, scoring 22 points per game while gaining 304 yards per contest.
A lack of identity under center is largely to blame for the Paladins' struggles. The revolving door of signal callers include Reese Hannon, Duncan Fletcher and Dillon Woodruff, with all three combining to complete just 59 percent of their passes for 1,074 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions.
The Paladins at least can rely on a solid rushing attack led by Hank McCloud, who has racked up 604 yards and four touchdowns on 115 carries.
Receiver Gary Robinson has been able to produce no matter who is delivering him the ball, catching 24 passes for 351 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Furman has held most of its opponents in check by allowing 24 points per game, although it obviously hasn't faced an adversary as talented as LSU this year.
Carl Rider is one of the best linebackers in the FCS; tallying 73 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
LSU is in the midst of one of the best offensive campaigns in school history, putting up 39 points per game and 456 yards per contest.
Zach Mettenberger is completing better than 65 percent of his passes for 2,164 yards and 16 touchdowns, but he had his worst game of the year against Ole Miss. He tossed three interceptions.
Jeremy Hill is the SEC's third-leading rusher with 779 yards, and his 10 touchdowns are tied for the league lead. Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard remain in the mix at tailback, especially near the goal line.
The Tigers also boast two of the conference's top four receivers. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. have both made their share of big plays. Landry has 53 receptions for 795 yards and 8 TDs, while Beckham Jr. has caught 42 passes for 805 yards and 6 scores.
Although LSU's defense has been less than stellar this season, it is still just allowing less than 23 points per game.
Lamin Barrow has a team-high 57 tackles. The linebacker has also impressed with 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. Corner Jalen Mills has two of the team's five interceptions and also leads the Bayou Bengals in sacks with 3.
This tune-up for the Tigers comes at exactly the right time, as they are surely anxious to erase the memory of the Ole Miss loss. Expect this one to end ugly for the Paladins.