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No Pierre, no Khiry, no problem!

AP PHOTO ROGELIO SOLIS New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) carries on a touchdown run against Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House (31) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. The Saints won 44-23.

AP PHOTO ROGELIO SOLIS
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) carries on a touchdown run against Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House (31) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. The Saints won 44-23.

 

By Jeremy R. Johnson

On a weekend that saw the LSU Tigers upset No. 3 Ole Miss in Death Valley on Saturday night, the New Orleans Saints kept the good vibes going by beating the Packers of Green Bay with a score of 44-23 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The New Orleans Saints were without their two leading rushers heading into this contest with the Packers. The question of where the Saints would find balance in their running game was answered emphatically by Mark Ingram. The former Heisman trophy winner was sensational all evening, as he pounded the Packers to the tune of 172 yards, on 24 carries, with 1 touchdown. After having a rude welcome back from injury by the stingy front seven of the Detroit Lions, Ingram regained the form he has shown since late last year, running with great vision, speed and power. As great as Ingram was, he was hardly the only one to shine on this evening.

The offense as a whole has been widely criticized for their sluggish starts, and haven’t been the finely tuned machine we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. Questions have been raised recently about whether we are seeing the decline of Drew Brees, and rightfully so. Brees has been inconsistent to say the least, and after being great for 3 quarters in Detroit, he threw a back breaking interception late in the fourth quarter that ultimately led to a game winning score by the Lions. In the Mercedes Benz Superdome, during prime-time, Brees is a whole different animal.

With Ingram carrying the ground game, Brees was masterful all game long. He was accurate on all throws, especially on a spectacular 50-yard passing touchdown to Brandin Cooks. Brees also looked to be more decisive, and avoided any of the disastrous plays that have plagued him in recent weeks. He was 11 of 11 passing in the second half, with a touchdown. The offense had no shortage of highlight plays, but the defense was not to be outdone.

Almost anyone watching football this year knows that the Saints defense hasn’t been much to talk about, but they answered the bell against the guy who is widely considered the best QB in the league. The defense wasn’t dominant against the Packers, but it wasn’t a liability either. This was easily the team’s best defensive performance, and hopefully a sign of things to come. The defense was very stingy against the run, as has been the Saints trend over the past few games. Outside of a few big plays being made in the passing game, the secondary was very good in coverage, recording two interceptions for the day. The much maligned Corey White turned in a stellar performance, after being the biggest identifiable reason for a breakdown in coverage against Detroit the previous week. White had a great pass breakup on a goal line stand that resulted in a David Hawthorne interception, in addition to one of his own. Defensive end Cameron Jordan also came back to life for the Saints, recording two of the team’s season high 4 sacks. No surprise, that the defense’s recent success has been a direct result of more pressure applied by the front four.

The New Orleans Saints finally put together a performance that most experts expected them to have on a weekly basis going into this season. The potential of this offense is off the charts, and the talent on defense may finally be starting to show dividends after a sluggish start to the season. If the defense can give up yards, but hold opponents to field-goals instead of touchdowns, this team in a week NFC South may be able to make the playoffs. The Saints clicking on all cylinders is a scary thought for any NFL team, ask the previously streaking Packers.

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