Archive for October, 2008



New Orleans Saints blown out by Carolina

Posted by The Times-Picayune October 19, 2008 3:02PM

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.The New Orleans Saints came into the game against Carolina needing a win, needing to play well, needing a good beginning of 42 days away from the Superdome, needing a good send off for a trip to London.

They got none of those.

Instead, the Saints were sloppy and ineffective and were blasted by their NFC South rivals 30-7.
Reggie Bush left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return. We’ll update his status as we get it.

Drew Brees was 21-of-39 for 231 yards and an interception. Brees looked out of sorts at times and didn’t have his best stuff.

The Panthers took advantage of a couple of Saints turnovers and a solid ground game to methodically put the game away.

Jonathan Stewart had 68 yards and a touchdown and D’Angelo Williams had 66 yards. Jake Delhomme was 14-of-22 for 195 and two touchdowns and Saints killer Steve Smith caught six passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

The Saints will leave from Charlotte and head to London for the game against the San Diego Chargers next Sunday.



New Orleans Saints release WR Copper

Posted by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune October 14, 2008 6:01PM

The Saints released receiver Terrance Copper, one of their top special teams contributors over the past three years, and re-signed defensive end Jeff Charleston.
The move could wind up being temporary. The Saints have been shuffling several veterans on and off the roster this year. But they are a bit overcrowded at the receiver position, with Marques Colston and David Patten expected to return from injuries in the coming weeks.

Charleston originally signed with the Saints last week, but he was released on Saturday to make room for quarterback Joey Harrington.

Copper, 26, has been with the Saints since he was claimed off waivers at the start of the 2006 season. He has 38 receptions with the Saints for 511 yards and five touchdowns.



Saints Turnback Raiders

by Doug Miller, NewOrleansSaints.com

Sunday, October 12, 2008 – 2:27 PM

New Orleans, La. — For weeks Saints Head Coach Sean Payton has preached the virtues of taking care of the football, limiting penalties and playing a complementary style of football.

Today he and the rest of the Saints demonstrated what happens when all of the facets come together, as the Saints thumped the visiting Oakland Raiders, 34-3. It was the team’s most-lopsided victory since December 14, 2003 when the Saints leveled the New York Giants, 45-7.

“I was pleased today with how we played smart and tough football,” said Payton, as the Saints got back to .500 (3-3). “We took care of the ball, defended well and took advantage of our opportunities. It was a team win all the way around.”

New Orleans rolled to 441 yards of total offense while holding the Raiders to 226 yards. The Saints also forced a fumble and intercepted a pass and kept the dangerous Raiders rushing attack, which was averaging over 150 yards a game rushing to only 85 yards on the ground, while the Saints churned out 122 yards on the ground. The Saints also limited their penalties to only four, after committing an unsightly 11 on Monday Night.

The Saints scored 34 unanswered points courtesy of a pair of Reggie Bush touchdowns and receiving scores by RB Aaron Stecker and TE Mark Campbell. Rookie K Taylor Mehlhaff also added a pair of field goals and four extra points while the Saints’ defense surrendered only three points and caused two turnovers en route to the win.

Saints QB Drew Brees was magical and efficient throughout the game, completing 26-of-30 passes for 320 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a near-perfect passer rating of 144.4. Meanwhile, Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell’s homecoming to Louisiana was a rough one, as he was held to 13 completions on 35 attempts for 159 yards for 159 yards and an interception.

“Drew was something else,” said Payton. “He was making all the right reads and giving a lot of different guys a chance to contribute.”

“I tried to complete them all,” Brees said matter of factly after the game. “We were good on third downs today, nearly 65%.  I think if you look at the stat sheet, no one guy really jumps out.  That was by design.  We just wanted to get a lot of guys involved and keep them, second guessing.”

The Saints’ rushing game churned out 122 yards on 33 carries against the tough Oakland rushing defense, highlighted by Deuce McAllister’s 13 carries for 65 yards. Bush added 67 yards of offense and two scores.

“I thought we were more patient with the running game, and as a result, it helped our balance,” said Payton.

After a three and out on the Saints’ opening drive, Oakland capitalized on a 35-yard punt return by Johnnie Lee Higgins. Oakland’s initial drive started at the Saints’ 39 yard-line and the Raiders drove 33 yards in nine plays. The biggest play on the drive was a 13-yard completion on the second play of the drive from QB JaMarcus Russell to WR Ronald Curry. New Orleans nearly thwarted the drive on a third-and-goal from the six-yard line when CB Randall Gay defended a pass for Higgins in the end zone and the deflection fell into the chest of Roman Harper, who was unable to hang onto the deflected pass.

Brees started the Saints’ second drive with a 21-yard completion to RB Reggie Bush. It was 200th career reception for Bush, in 34 career games, which ties him for the quickest player in NFL history to reach 200 receptions (Anquan Boldin-ARZ). After a short run by Deuce McAllister that picked up one yard, Brees hooked up with TE Mark Campbell for a gain of 29 yards and then TE Billy Miller for a gain of 13 yards. A holding call on Jammal Brown pushed the Saints back 10 yards on first down, though, as did a similar call on second down. On a third-and-22 from the 28 Brees connected on a 15-yard completion to Miller across the middle of the field, which brought up a 31-yard field goal attempt by K Taylor Mehlhaff. The rookie from Wisconsin pulled his first career attempt wide of the right and the Raiders started their second possession at their own 21 yard-line.

Russell converted a third-and-five with a seven yard pass to WR Javon Walker on the Raiders’ first third down attempt of their second drive. On the next third down Russell hit Curry for an eight-yard completion and a first down. Gay nearly intercepted Russell on the next play but couldn’t handle the pass from his former LSU teammate. On a third-and-nine from midfield the Raiders were flagged for an illegal procedure infraction on TE Zach Miller. On a third and 14 Russell tried a deep pass for WR Ashley Lelie but tight coverage from Jason David resulted in an incompletion and a punt by Shanle Lechler, which was fair caught by Reggie Bush at the Saints’ 14.

Deuce McAllister picked up nine yards on a first down carry and Bush converted it with a two-yard run on third down into the heart of the Raiders’ defensive line. After a short loss on a completion to FB Mike Karney, Brees hit Lance Moore on a 12-yard crossing route over the middle that Moore converted into a first down. Brees and Moore then picked up five more yards on the ensuing play and Brees hit McAllister on a four-yard check-down. Karney bulled his way for one yard and the first down. Newcomer Sean Ryan caught his first pass as a member of the Saints, the 15th different player to register a reception this season, for a five yard gain and then McAllister found seven yards off right guard for another first down. McAllister went right behind RG Jarhi Evans for nine more yards on the next play before being stopped for a loss of one yard on second down. Brees hooked up with Karney out of the backfield for a gain of four yards and a first down on the 30. Bush added a yard on an inside run and then Brees froze the Oakland secondary with a play-action fake and a quick pass to Moore over the middle for a gain of 19 yards and a first down, the Saints’ sixth first down on the drive. Bush then picked up three yards on a first-and-goal attempt from the 10. Brees started the game 14-of-14, the most consecutive completions he has experienced as a professional. Oakland was guilty of a neutral zone infraction that gave the Saints a third-and-goal from the three-yard line and Bush took a pitch out and raced untouched into the end zone behind a key block from Karney. The drive covered 86 yards in 18 plays in a whooping 10:59 in time of possession.

Mehlhaff booted his extra point through the uprights, but his ensuing kickoff bounced out of the bounds and the Raiders took over at their own 40 with less than four minutes left in the first half. On a third-and-seven from the 39 Russell was unable to find a receiver downfield due to tight coverage and threw the pass away. Janikowski attempted a 57-yard field goal but it missed wide to the left and the Saints took over possession at their own 47 with 1:48 left on the clock and all three timeouts remaining.

The first play of the drive came on a 17-yard completion from Brees to Henderson, and then Brees completed his 16th pass in a row on an 18-yard completion to Moore in between defenders. Bush then picked up two yards and scurried out of bounds on first down, which stopped the clock. Brees suffered his first incompletion with 1:00 remaining in the second quarter when he tried to connect with Bush coming out of the backfield. On third down Brees was flagged for intentional grounding and the Saints were pushed back 10 yards, but Mehlhaff atoned for his earlier miss by knocking a 47-yard field goal through uprights, giving the Saints a 10-3 lead with :50 remaining in the first half.

Oakland started at their own 25 and picked a quick 35 yards on a pass to Higgins. Oakland was then flagged for offensive pass interference when Lelie dragged down Gay deep in the Saints’ end of the field after Gay appeared to position himself to make an interception. Harper very nearly picked off Russell on the next play and then Jonathan Vilma hammered Fargas and forced an incompletion on second down. Russell hit TE Zach Miller for a nine-yard gain on third down and Janikowski trotted out to attempt a 59-yard attempt that also missed wide to the left.

“I think we have take a great deal of pride in trying to get the run stopped,” said Vilma. “It’s a collective effort and there is a lot of pride in getting it stop. It takes all 11 guys and we are starting to show that we can do it.”

“We are getting our hands on some footballs and are developing and we are getting close to making plays out there,” Vilma said. “The defensive line was awesome. They are doing some job up there.”

New Orleans took over at their own 49 with :06 left in the second quarter. Brees hit Miller over the middle for a gain of 25 yards as time expired. Miller appeared to be touched down with :01 left on the clock and the Saints tried desperately to call time out, but the officials ruled the clock had expired.

The Saints’ second half began with a high hanging kick from Mehlhaff to landed at the goal-line and was returned 17 yards by Higgins before a big hit from CB Usama Young. Fargas picked up six yards and then one yard on inside handoff. Jason David knocked down a third down pass intended for Lelie and Lechler hit a wobbly 39 punt that Bush returned eight yards to the Saints’ 45.

McAllister worked his way behind left guard Carl Nicks for four yards one first down and then Bush also ran left for four more yards. On third-and-two Bush took a pitch and jitterbugged for five yards before being thrown out of bounds by CB DeAngelo Hall. Brees then hit Moore for nine yards to the Raiders’ 33 and on second-and-one, McAllister thundered behind C Jonathan Goodwin for an eight-yard gain. Brees then dumped a pass off in the face of a corner blitz to Ryan for a two-yard gain. On second down Brees rolled out and hit Moore for a seven-yard gain. On a third-and-one McAllister found a cutback lane and picked up five yards and a first down to the 11. Brees then hit McAllister for a gain of three yards to the eight. On a third-and-seven from the eight Brees hit Aaron Stecker on a screenplay that popped for an eight-yard touchdown and gave the Saints a 17-3 lead after Mehlhaff’s extra point.

Oakland began at their own 28 and misfired on deep middle pass to Lelie. On second down McFadden was stopped by Vilma after a five-yard pickup. CB Jason David picked off his first pass of the season when Russell tried to hit Lelie in the flat. David bounced up and returned the ball 18 yards to the Raiders’ 17. Two plays later Bush caught a pass from Brees over the middle and scampered 15 yards for his second touchdown of the day and gave the Saints a 24-3 lead after the extra point.

“It was just a check down route,” said Bush. “I was in the right play at the right time and was able to get in to the end zone. Drew just checked it down and I was able to make a guy miss.”

Oakland continued to try to mix the run and the pass despite trailing by 21 points and Vilma, Shanle and Harper turned in some highlight defensive hit. On a third-and-10 from the Oakland 46 with 2:46 left in the third quarter Russell called a timeout after the Saints’ defense showed a new look. Oakland was guilty of a holding call after Will Smith beat LT Kwame Harris but the Saints declined the penalty and forced the Raiders to punt. Lechler hammered a 54-yard punt into the end zone for a touchback and the Saints took over at their own 20.

McAllister churned his way through the middle for a hard-earned four yards on first down and then picked up four more on second down. Brees then play-actioned faked and found a streaking Devery Henderson for a 51-yard completion to the Raiders’ 21, which was Henderson and Brees’ fourth completion over 50-yards through the first six games of the season.

The Saints couldn’t get any further than the Raiders’ 15, which gave Mehlhaff a chance to boot home a 33-yard field goal and extend the Saints’ lead to 27-3.

Russell began the next drive by hitting Miller for a gain of 23 yards to their own 38 and came back to try the middle of the field by tight coverage from Harper forced the incompletion. After a short run by Fargas that was snuffed by Shanle, DE Bobby McCray stripped Russell of the ball on a sack that was recovered by DT Kendrick Clancy at the Raiders’ 32.

McAllister picked up a yard and on second down Brees zipped a pass to Moore down the seam for a gain of 24 yards. Oakland was flagged for too many men on the field and the Saints had the ball on the two. Brees play faked a handoff to Bush and then lofted a perfect pass to Campbell in the back of the end zone that put the Saints ahead 34-3 after the extra point. The touchdown marked the first touchdown as a Saint for Campbell.

Vilma led all Saints in tackles with 11 stops, while Shanle added six and two passes defensed. Randall Gay had a team high three passes defensed.

Inactive Saints: QB Joey Harrington (3rd QB), WR Marques Colston, CB Aaron Glenn, S Kevin Kaesviharn, WR David Patten, TE Jeremy Shockey, DT Antwan Lake and DT Sedrick Ellis.

Cool Brees: Drew Brees completed 16 consecutive passes in the first half, which this marked the second-most consecutive completions in franchise history. Brees holds the franchise record (17, December 16, 2007 vs. Arizona, December 23, 2007 vs. Philadelphia). Archie Manning previously held the record with 15 straight completions in 1979.

The last time the Saints defeated a team by 30 points or more occurred on December 14, 2003 when the Saints defeated the New York Giants, 45-7, at the Superdome.

WR Lance Moore, whose younger brother Nick Moore had 20 receptions in Toledo’s upset win over Michigan on Saturday, led all Saints receivers with 7 receptions for 97 yards.



New Orleans Saints easily beat Oakland 34-3

Posted by Kevin Spain, The Times-Picayune October 12, 2008 2:39PM

Drew Brees threw for 320 yards against the Oakland Raiders Sunday.

This was the kind of game the New Orleans Saints figured to have often this season. The running of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush, the expert game management and passing of Drew Brees, games like Sunday’s 34-3 rout of the Oakland Raiders was supposed to be common place.

Instead the win against the Raiders was the first time the Saints have put together a complete game. And, while you can shrug it off to say “it was the Raiders” the Saints looked confident and under control on offense better than at any other point in the season.

“I thought we played hard,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “I really want to credit Bobby (McCray), he had some big sacks. Jason David had a big intception that set us up for another score.

“Mark Campbell big play on the goalline. I was encouraged with the way Deuce played. Thought we were consistent running the ball. I felt real good about that.”
McCray had two sacks and a forced fumble. David had an interception that he returned 18 yards and McAllister ran for 65 yards on 13 carries.

Lance Moore had a big game with 97 yards receiving.

For his part, Brees was superb, throwing for 320 yards and three touchdowns. He noticed early the Raiders game plan for pass coverage and exploited it, throwing mostly to running backs and tight ends and moving the chains.

The best drive of the day, in fact of the season so far, was arguably their best drive since the the one that ate up the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2006 regular season. They got the ball with 14:44 left in the quarter and when they were done, they had gone 86 yards on 18 plays that ran 10:59 off the clock.

“I felt like we were very efficient all game,” Brees said. “We spread it around a lot, even in the run game, we had four guys to carry it. Nine guys catching it, we were able to spread it around. We were effiecient, got into third and short and able to convert. Very happy with that today.”

They picked up where they left to start the second half, as Brees methodically picked apart the Oakland defense and finished it off with a 8-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Stecker to give New Orleans a 17-3 lead with 7:42 left in the third quarter. It was another good drive for the Saints, 11 plays, 55 yards 5:46 in time of possession.

“We stuck to the script and didn’t turn the ball over,” running back Reggie Bush said. “That was the key to the game.”

Defensively, the Saints were able to get some pressure on Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell and forced him into several bad throws, one interception and a fumble. Russell was 13-of-30 for 159 yards.

The Saints, now 3-3, are one game out in the NFC South division after the Carolina Panthers lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and travel to Charlotte to play the Panthers next week.



New Orleans Saints replace Martin Gramatica with Taylor Mehlhaff

Posted by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune October 08, 2008 11:54AM

The Saints could sign third-round draft choice Taylor Mehlhaff today.

The Saints have signed rookie kicker Taylor Mehlhaff to replace Martin Gramatica, who was placed on injured reserve because of a groin injury.

Mehlhaff was flown in Wednesday morning for a physical, according to his agent Scott Smith of X-A-M Sports, and he will practice with the team this afternoon.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis confirmed both moves.

The Saints drafted the strong-legged Mehlhaff in the sixth round out of Wisconsin this year, but Gramatica won the kicking job with a steadier performance during training camp and the preseason.

The Saints will practice later this afternoon, and Coach Sean Payton and players will be available to talk this evening.

We’ll update from the afternoon practices and press conferences.



New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter out for the season

by Teddy Kider, The Times-Picayune

Tuesday October 07, 2008, 6:00 PM

Tracy Porter had wrist surgery Tuesday morning.

The Saints have placed starting cornerback Tracy Porter on injured reserve, ending his first season in the NFL.

Saints Coach Sean Payton said Tuesday in a news conference that Porter needed surgery on his right wrist, which he dislocated against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. Greg Bensel, the Saints’ vice president of communications, later confirmed that Porter was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.



Five observations from Monday night’s game.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

NEW ORLEANS — Five observations from Monday night’s game.

1. Even if you’ve been a Saints fan for years, what happened against the Vikings has to rank near the top of the list of worst moments in franchise history. The Saints have lost a lot of games through the years because they were flat-out bad.

That’s no longer the case because the Saints had enough talent to move the ball 729 yards (counting return yardage). They also wasted what could have been one of the most spectacular performances in the history of “Monday Night Football”.

Reggie Bush, who never has been able to establish himself as a feature back, nearly established himself as a feature player. He single-handedly put the Saints in position to win. Then, they somehow lost, 30-27.

“We lost this game collectively from top to bottom,” Bush said.

No, they did not. Bush did more than enough for the Saints to win.

Bush returned two second-half punts for touchdowns and gave the Saints a 27-20 fourth-quarter lead. When you’ve got that against a team quarterbacked by Gus Frerotte, you should be 3-2 and on your way to certain victory in Sunday’s home game against Oakland.

“All for nothing because you didn’t win the game, all over stupid stuff,” quarterback Drew Brees said.

Bush had five punt returns for a franchise-record 176 yards and the Saints had a team-record 354 yards on punt and kickoff returns. But Bush’s performance, which had the fans in the Superdome chanting “Reggie,” is going to be forgotten.

It could have been a turning point in a career and in the Saints’ season. It wasn’t. Failure just about everywhere else means Bush’s performance didn’t really matter. What should have been one of the most glorious victories in franchise history will be one of the worst losses.

2. Even though he’s young, Sean Payton is known as an old-school coach. I’m starting to wonder if that reputation is deserved. Payton is supposed to be a coach who puts a disciplined team on the field.

However, the Saints were anything but disciplined against the Vikings. They were flagged 11 times for 102 yards. Yes, there were a couple of controversial calls and non-calls, but you should be able to overcome that when you’re setting records for return yardage, passing for 320 yards and holding Adrian Peterson in check.

“It starts with me,” Payton said. “I’ve got to do a better job.”

Yes, he does. A few weeks back, the Saints gave Payton a new, five-year contract. It looked like a good move at the time. Now you’ve got to question if the move was premature.

Injuries — and the Saints have had their share — can’t be an excuse for this one. The Saints had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown, lost two fumbles and had two passes intercepted.

“I felt like we were a better team,” Brees said. “Without those turnovers, I think we win this game pretty easily.”

3. Give Frerotte a ton of credit. He’s old, he took some shots and he got only 32 rushing yards out of Peterson. But, on his last two drives, Frerotte produced 10 points. His 33-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian was a perfect throw. He got some help from a pass-interference penalty on Kevin Kaesviharn to set up the winning field goal.

He kept Minnesota’s season from getting out of hand and it’s looking more and more like coach Brad Childress made the right call in declaring Frerotte his starter for the rest of the season. The Vikings have too much going for them — Peterson and a very good defense — not to be in contention this year.

4. Saints kicker Martin Gramatica, who missed a field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter, spoke with the media after the game. He didn’t do that after missing a key kick against Denver.

“I hit it solid, but it went left,” Gramatica said. “The worst thing about it is that I let the team down.”

Yes, he did. But the Saints have no one to blame but themselves for their kicking problems. The entire league knows Gramatica has a history of being erratic at times. The Saints went out and drafted kicker Taylor Mehlhaff. Then, they decided to go with Gramatica. It’s starting to look a lot like they made the wrong choice.

5. I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that running back Deuce McAllister got only six carries, a week after getting 20. McAllister did get the call, and produced, in some short-yardage situations.

The Saints came in knowing they probably weren’t going to run a lot against a Minnesota defensive front that doesn’t give up very much.



Saints manage to find a way to lose

Tuesday, October 07, 2008John DeShazierThe Vikings didn’t find a way to win so much as the Saints created a way to lose.

Minnesota didn’t go on the road and convincingly take a victory in a nationally televised, Monday Night Football square off so much as New Orleans handed over a game the way you’d expect a winless or one-loss team to conjure failure where there otherwise wouldn’t have been.

Two lost fumbles, one interception, a blocked field-goal attempt returned for a touchdown and eight penalties accumulated, with one declined — in the first half.

And a missed 46-yard field goal attempt with 1:59 left by kicker Martin Gramatica, countered by a successful 30-yard attempt by Minnesota’s Ray Longwell with 13 seconds remaining. Those aren’t charming numbers and the Saints weren’t a charming team for America in a 30-27 loss that dropped them to 2-3 and gave them another gut-wrenching loss in a season that already has had three too many of them.

“There were a number of things that you can say we set out to do,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “And yet, if you fumble the ball and you have all the drops and you have all the penalties, those will do you in.”

Self-inflicted wounds, is what they’re called. The Saints beat up themselves when the Vikings couldn’t, putting a bruised and ugly face on what could have been a thing of beauty.

Oh, there was a stab made at being cute. An onsides kick attempt in the first quarter, following a 35-yard field goal by Gramatica that gave the Saints a 10-7 lead with 2:58 left, had “dimples” and “adorable” stamped all over it.

Except the Vikings (2-3) recovered, at the Saints’ 40-yard line.

And as pathetic as Minnesota’s offense had been and continued to be in the first half, it managed to eke out four yards in three plays. From there, Longwell kicked a 53-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10. Pair that with the 46-yard field goal attempt that Gramatica had blocked by defensive tackle Kevin Williams, picked out of the air by cornerback Antoine Winfield and returned for a touchdown to pull the Vikings into a 7-7 tie with 6:20 left in the first — when Minnesota looked so helpless it could’ve been standing under an overpass, holding a sign pandering for touchdowns — and the Saints had gift-wrapped 10 points so sloppy that the Vikings barely needed to bother with the wrapper because the box was wide open.

But what will give the Saints the most cause to feel sickened today should be a historical case of waste. What should give them reason to kick themselves until their feet ache is the fact that they had the lead, the emotion and the momentum and didn’t do a thing with all that in their favor.

As shockingly and suddenly as the Saints had sabotaged themselves, it appeared to steal back the game like thieves in the Monday night. The ringleader was easily identifiable, unashamed of his five-fingered, two-legged discount job, brazenly committing the act in front of 70,015 witnesses inside the Superdome.

Reggie Bush appeared to have saved New Orleans’ bacon on a night the Saints looked cooked. Bush mesmerized and electrified, showing the nation his multidimensional best by undressing the Minnesota Vikings on special teams when the Vikings bottled him everywhere else.

Bush returned two punts for touchdowns within a five-minute, 10-second stretch in the second half to give the listless Saints life. His 71-yarder pulled the Saints to within 20-17 and his 64-yarder broke a 20-20 tie and gave the Saints a seven-point lead with 11:36 left. The two returns for a touchdown tied a league record and were a Saints single-game record, as were Bush’s 176 punt return yards. Now he has four punt returns for touchdowns in his career, also a team record. But it all unraveled so quickly, it was dizzying. After Bush’s second score, Minnesota answered with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Gus Frerotte to Bernard Berrian. Then Gramatica missed his second potential game-winning kick in three weeks — he went wide right in a 34-32 loss to Denver, and wide left Monday night.

That opened a crack for Minnesota and the Vikings, aided by a 42-yard pass interference penalty by safety Kevin Kaesviharn against Berrian, needed little time to move into position to win.

Well, not “win” so much as take what was offered. That’s all they had to do Monday night, because it’s all the Saints demanded of them.



More bad news for Saints: Sedrick Ellis out 2-4 weeks

More bad news for Saints: Sedrick Ellis out 2-4 weeks

Posted by Teddy Kider, The Times-Picayune October 03, 2008 10:02AM

Saints defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis is the latest in a season of devastating injuries for the team.

Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis had a medial meniscus tear in his right knee and will miss the next two to four weeks, according to Saints Coach Sean Payton.

Payton said Friday as his team’s practice was getting underway that Ellis had arthroscopic knee surgery that morning.

Ellis was the No. 7 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and has started every game for the Saints this season, recording nine tackles and a sack. He was expected to help the Saints’ rushing defense Monday against the Minnesota Vikings, who rank sixth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (141.3) behind running back Adrian Peterson.

With Ellis out, the likely starter at defensive tackle beside Kendrick Clancy would be Antwan Lake, who returned to the field last week against the San Francisco 49ers after missing two games with a groin injury.
Before Friday, Payton had already announced that three starters and a backup would definitely miss Monday’s game against the Vikings: receiver David Patten (groin), receiver Marques Colston (thumb), tight end Jeremy Shockey (hernia) and cornerback Aaron Glenn (ankle).



Brees Named NFC Offensive Player of the Month

Brees Named NFC Offensive Player of the Month

by Doug Miller, NewOrleansSaints.com
Thursday, October 02, 2008 – 9:33 AM

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees today was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September.

In September Brees completed 107-of-148 passes (72.3 percent) for 1,343 yards, with eight touchdowns and a 106.9 passer rating. Over the course of the first month of regular season play, Brees leads the NFL in completions, completion percentage and passing yards, ranks second in attempts and average gain, and third in passer rating.

Despite losing top targets WR Marques Colston, TE Jeremy Shockey and WR David Patten due to injuries during the first four contests, Brees still averaged 335.7 passing yards per game ­ putting him on pace to break the NFL record for yards in a season. He has 11 completions of 25 yards or more over the first four games, including four of over 50.

“It¹s an honor to be recognized for the award,” said Brees. “The award though is really a reflection on the position the coaches have put us in to makes plays and the play of the offensive line, the receivers, tight ends and running backs. I think we all share in the award. The most important thing for us right now is to get ready to play the Vikings on Monday night. We know the importance of the game and hope our fans are aware of the importance, as well, and that they come out and give us the great support we have had during our first two game in the Superdome.”

Despite having a resume of awards throughout his eight-year career that reads like a grocery list for a family of nine, this is Brees¹ first player of the month honor.