Archive for September, 2008



Deuce McAllister answers the call for New Orleans Saints in win over 49ers

Deuce McAllister answers the call for New Orleans Saints in win over 49ers

Posted by Teddy Kider, The Times-Picayune September 28, 2008 9:57PM

Saints Coach Sean Payton wanted better production from his team in short-yardage situations, and New Orleans fans wanted more plays for running back Deuce McAllister.

Both desires came together early in the fourth quarter Sunday against San Francisco at the Superdome, as McAllister jumped headfirst over a pile of players and into the end zone on second-and-goal.

running back Deuce McAllister leaps into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was his first TD of the season.

McAllister had his touchdown, the fans had their hero back, and the Saints had the finishing touches on a 31-17 victory.

“We wanted to get a win,” McAllister said. “I can’t say that it was a must win, but it was a game that we definitely needed.”

The Saints (2-2) began their longest homestand of the season, three games, with a win that brought them back to .500.

The star of the show — because he has been the star in New Orleans for so long — was McAllister, who had played sparingly in just one regular-season game before Sunday. Against the 49ers, he was introduced with the starters before the game, he was in for the Saints’ first offensive play, and he led the team in rushing, with 73 yards and the touchdown on 20 carries.

“Whether it was third-and-short or fourth-and-1 or at the beginning of the game, whatever it was, I just wanted to be on the field,” said McAllister, who also had a catch for 10 yards.

McAllister’s return to form after two knee surgeries came after a week that included more team injuries than Payton said he had seen during any other week in his head coaching career. On Thursday and Friday, the Saints listed 14 players on their injury report, including top receiver Marques Colston and starting tight end Jeremy Shockey.

Without those threats, and with Saints running back Reggie Bush held to 7 yards on five catches and 31 rushing yards on 10 carries, the Saints still produced 467 yards of offense.

“When you’re not 100 percent healthy, someone else very talented is in the game, and obviously the quarterback has confidence in these players just as we do as coaches,” Payton said. “So we’ve just got to battle through this injury thing right now. It’s just something mentally we just can’t allow to be a factor in how we play.”

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 23 of 35 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. His favorite receiver Sunday was Lance Moore, who finished with career highs in yards and touchdowns — 101 and two — on seven catches.

Click to view graphic about the Saints’ offense.

Moore scored the Saints’ first two touchdowns, which gave New Orleans an 11-point advantage with three minutes to go in the second quarter, after the Saints had fallen behind 3-0.

“I’ve always had a lot of confidence in Lance,” Brees said. “It’s just been one of those things where when you’re spreading the ball around to Reggie and to Colston and Shockey now and David Patten and some of these other guys, not that he gets lost in the shuffle, but people just kind of forget about Lance Moore. He’s a guy who I have as much confidence in as anybody else on our team and on offense.”

The Saints also continued to get explosive plays from receiver Robert Meachem, who finished with two catches for 99 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown reception that gave the Saints a 21-6 halftime lead. And receiver Devery Henderson had an 81-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

The injuries continued to bother New Orleans — Patten left the game with a pre-existing groin problem, safety Chris Reis had to leave with a hamstring problem and kicker Martin Gramatica tweaked his groin during warmups, leaving punter Steve Weatherford to handle kickoffs.

But the aspect of the Saints’ game that once suffered the most from injuries, their defense, had perhaps its most complete performance of the season. The 49ers (2-2) had 312 total yards, successfully converted three of 10 third downs and were held without a touchdown until 4:08 remained in the fourth quarter.

That touchdown and a successful two-point conversion left the score at 28-17, and the Saints followed up with a drive to a field goal that saw McAllister pound the ball inside.

San Francisco quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan, a 2002 sixth-round draft pick of the Saints who is getting his first opportunity to play significant time in the NFL, was sacked six times, including twice by defensive end Charles Grant. The Saints’ other starting end, Will Smith, forced O’Sullivan to fumble in the second quarter and linebacker Jonathan Vilma recovered, setting up the drive that ended in the Saints’ first touchdown.

“We honestly kept doing the same things we have been working on,” said Saints rookie defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who had a sack. “We really didn’t change anything. We just all had more intensity today. We refused to be denied. Charles Grant had a great game today. Some of the older guys have been leading the way for us.”

The Saints also came away with two interceptions, by safety Kevin Kaesviharn and rookie cornerback Tracy Porter — and both came in the end zone, with the 49ers poised to score.

“We saw some turnovers, and I thought we played the ball pretty well,” Payton said. “I thought we hit the quarterback, which was good. I think when they became a little bit one-dimensional, which was really late in the third quarter, fourth quarter, then we were able to benefit from that.”

With that benefit in hand, the Saints snapped a two-game losing streak, completed perhaps their most well-rounded game of the season and gained some momentum before a Monday night matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

Teddy Kider can be reached at tkider@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3409



Deuce returns and Saints beat 49ers

Deuce returns and Saints beat 49ers


AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Setting Deuce loose was more than a crowd pleasing move by a coach feeling the heat from disgruntled fans.

San Francisco’s shaky run defense had trouble stopping Deuce McAllister’s power running and the New Orleans Saints stayed out of an early-season hole with a 31-17 victory on Sunday.

The Saints’ all-time rusher is now playing on two reconstructed knees. It hardly looked that way when he bowled over tacklers for first downs, moved the pile or dived over it for his first touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter.

He carried 20 times for 73 yards and had a 10-yard reception to convert a third down. He gave the Saints the credible power running threat they needed to open up deep throws for Drew Brees, who certainly knows how to cash in on those.

Brees was 23-of-35 for 363 yards and three scores, including touchdowns of 47 yards to Robert Meachem and 33 yards to Lance Moore. Brees also set up scores with a 52-yard pass to Meachem and an 81-yard connection with Devery Henderson.

The Saints (2-2) showed an inability to convert short-yardage runs and it cost them in close losses at Washington and Denver. Saints fans flooded call-in shows with complaints about coach Sean Payton’s reluctance to play McAllister, who’d had only two carries – but gained 5 yards on each – during the opening three weeks.

Payton said he was trying to be cautious with the 29-year-old McAllister and would play him when the time was right. With San Francisco allowing an average of 131 yards rushing coming in, the right time was Sunday.

J.T. O’Sullivan was 18-of-36 for 257 yards, but continued to take too many sacks. Having been sacked 13 times through the Niners’ first three games, O’Sullivan was brought down six more times, twice by Charles Grant. Three of those sacks helped stall promising drives that ended with field goals, allowing New Orleans to maintain a comfortable lead.

O’Sullivan also fumbled in 49ers territory on one early sack, setting up the Saints’ first touchdown.

O’Sullivan also threw two interceptions in the end zone, first to Kevin Kaesviharn and then to rookie Tracy Porter, who had his first career interception and first-career sack.

Frank Gore was effective rushing, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. But San Francisco (2-2) was forced to limit runs when it fell behind by multiple scores and Gore finished with 82 yards.

San Francisco led in the first quarter on Joe Nedney’s 47-yard field goal, and New Orleans’ first promising drive stalled on Takeo Spikes’ interception.

But Will Smith put the Saints in striking range with his sack and forced fumble, which Jonathan Vilma recovered at the Niners 32. Brees zipped a pinpoint pass to Moore near the front pylon for a 5-yard score.

A steady dose of McAllister and Moore produced another TD on the next drive. McAllister rushed four times for 22 yards before Brees found Moore behind the secondary to make it 14-3.

Nedney’s 49-yard field goal pulled San Francisco to 14-6, but New Orleans wasn’t done. Brees found tight end Billy Miller for 18 yards, then unloaded his long scoring pass to Meachem, who got behind Mark Roman and used body position to prevent the safety from breaking up the slightly underthrown ball. That gave the Saints a 21-6 lead at halftime.



New Orleans Saints beat San Francisco 31-17

New Orleans Saints beat San Francisco 31-17

Posted by The Times-Picayune September 28, 2008 3:06PM

Deuce McAllister came back with 20 carries against San Francisco on Sunday.

There have been questions about the Saints so far this season:

Can they overcome the rash of injuries?

Can the defense stop somebody and give the offense some help?

Will Deuce McAllster ever play again?
OK, there might be more questions than that. But those three were answered at the Superdome today and all three were yes.

In what was perhaps the best defensive effort of the Sean Payton era, the Saints defense got six sacks and intercepted two passes (both in the end zone) and beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-17.

“Thought we played inspired, especially with the injuries we’ve had and the suspension of (Jabar) Nesbitt,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said. “We hit the quarterback and that was good. When they became one-dimensional that was good. But we had a good defensive effort against a good team.”

The win moves the Saints to 2-2 and keeps them a game behind the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who both won Sunday, in the NFC South division.

Charles Grant had two of the Saints sacks, Will Smith had a sack, one of which he caused San Francisco quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan to fumble, and Tracy Porter had a sack and an interception.

For McAllister, it was his first real action (although he had two carries coming into the game) and he didn’t disappoint the Saints fans who have been clamoring for him to play. He carried the ball 20 times for 73 yards and a touchdown.

“It was great to see Deuce back in there,” Payton said. “This week we had a chance to run the ball more. We saw a lot of nickel defense. So we mixed up our personel and we were able to make some big plays.”

Quarterback Drew Brees had another outstanding game. Brees, who continuously attacked the 49ers defense with long, deep passes, finished with 363 yards passing, going 23-of-35 and three touchdowns. He started off a little sluggish, hitting on just three of his first seven passes, then in typical Brees fashion, shook off that start with a flourish.

Brees threw the ball to nine different receivers.

Also having a big game was the always-reliable Lance Moore. He had seven catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Meachem caught just two passes, but they were big ones. He had 99 yards receiving and a touchdown and a great catch in double coverage on a flea flicker. Devery Henderson had an 81-yard reception and was prevented from scoring when he was caught from behind by Nate Clements at the 1.

O’Sullivan, a former Saints third-string quarterback (behind Aaron Brooks and Jake Delhomme), had a scrappy performance, going 18-of-37 for 257 yards and a touchdown and two picks.

David Patten left the game with groin injury and and Chris Reis left with a hamstring injury.



One-fifth of Saints roster suffering with injuries

One-fifth of Saints roster suffering with injuries

Posted by Teddy Kider, The Times-Picayune September 24, 2008 10:58PM

Through three games of the 2008 season, Saints Coach Sean Payton has faced an unfamiliar concern — injuries and unavailable players.

More than one-fifth of New Orleans’ 53-man roster was listed on the injury report Wednesday. Eight players missed practice, five were limited, and the Saints already had one player suspended and at least one possible key contributor on injured reserve.

That on a team that had been relatively fortunate with injuries in recent seasons.

“That streak’s broken,” right tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. “We’re facing a lot of adversity, and the adversity that’s coming right now is injuries and players that aren’t available to us. And if you want to be a championship team, you have to overcome these things.”

The defense could get good news before Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, after starting linebacker Scott Fujita (knee) and defensive tackle Antwan Lake (groin) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. However, linebacker Troy Evans (ankle), missed practice, and cornerbacks Randall Gay (hamstring) and Aaron Glenn (ankle) also were not able to participate, according to Payton.

The Saints’ offense has taken over as the side with the most missing players, specifically receivers.

Payton said tight end Jeremy Shockey, who is second on the Saints in receptions and receiving yards, had sports hernia surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss three to six weeks. The injury began as a problem with Shockey’s groin that did not go away, Payton said, and he had been playing with it for weeks.

The Saints’ leading receiver from last season, Marques Colston, is expected to miss at least several more weeks after thumb surgery, and receiver David Patten — who had the second-most receiving yards on the team last season — missed Wednesday’s practice with a groin injury.

The second option at tight end, Mark Campbell, missed practice Wednesday with a pulled hamstring, and receiver Terrance Copper was limited during practice, also with a hamstring injury.

“There’s some guys that haven’t gotten a whole lot of playing time in the past that are going to need to step up and contribute quite a bit or are going to get the opportunities, at least,” quarterback Drew Brees said about the receiving corps. “I have all the confidence in the world in that group, though.”

The only healthy receivers on the 53-man roster are Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Robert Meachem. And the starting tight end for the Saints is slated to be Billy Miller, 31, who said such opportunities are “kind of the story of my career.”

Miller said he has been released six times, including once this season by the Saints, before the game against the Washington Redskins.

“My son was like, ‘Daddy, how come the Saints are on TV and you’re at home?’¤” Miller said. “I just told him they didn’t need me this week. That part was a little weird.”

Mike Karney, the only fullback on the roster, missed practice with an ankle injury, and running back Aaron Stecker (hamstring) was limited. But the other main concern could be on the offensive line.

Starting left tackle Jammal Brown (hip) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, perhaps a good sign, but starting left guard Jamar Nesbit is suspended for the next four games after violating the NFL’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

“My understanding, without getting into all of the specifics, is a diuretic was involved,” Payton said Wednesday, addressing Nesbit’s suspension for the first time. “And the problem is, at the end of the day, the player is responsible for what he puts in his body. And the league is pretty clear about that. And when you get into some of these supplements, diuretics, it’s not necessarily always governed by the FDA. They’re not always approved. My understanding was it was a diuretic, not a steroid.”

Payton added: “There’s nothing we can do about it, so we go from there.”

Rookie Carl Nicks, a fifth-round draft pick from Nebraska, likely will replace Nesbit in the starting lineup.

With San Francisco (2-1) coming into the Superdome on Sunday, that is one of many decisions Payton will have to make this week. He said he spent an hour Tuesday night working solely on roster decisions.

Payton also explained Wednesday that his team has not panicked, even after losing to the Denver Broncos, falling to 1-2 and encountering so many injuries.

“Obviously, we’re all disappointed and frustrated and upset,” Payton said. “It was a tough loss, because we played well enough at times and certainly well enough to win the game. I think the approach of the team after the game was, hey, we’re going to be all right. This team’s going to be all right.”

Teddy Kider can be reached at tkider@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3409.



New Orleans Saints’ Nesbit gives his side

New Orleans Saints’ Nesbit gives his side

Posted by By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune September 23, 2008 10:32PM

Saints offensive lineman Jamar Nesbit says he didn’t take steroids, only an over-the-counter body cleanser.

The Saints got their daily dose of bad news Tuesday when the NFL announced that starting left guard Jamar Nesbit will be suspended without pay for the next four games for violating the league’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

Nesbit, who will not be allowed to participate in any team activities until Oct. 20, insisted he never intentionally took any substances banned by the NFL. He said that his failed drug test stemmed from an over-the-counter product he took this summer, which was advertised as an all-natural body-cleansing health product.

Nesbit said he checked all of the ingredients on the bottle against the NFL’s list of approved substances and also called the company. But he said there was an unidentified ingredient in the product that caused him to fail a drug test this summer.

“The NFL’s policy is that I’m responsible for whatever I put in my body, ” said Nesbit, a 10-year veteran who has not missed a game in his five seasons with the Saints. “And to a certain extent, I understand the logic behind it. And I support the league in trying to keep the integrity of the sport clean. At the same time, I don’t think this rule was meant to affect the Jamar Nesbits of the world — or, I should say, the people that are trying to do the right thing.

“Hopefully people that know me or know of me know that I wouldn’t try to cheat the game or cheat myself.”

The NFL has a zero-tolerance policy for even a first offense, which results in an automatic four-game suspension.

Nesbit waived his right to appeal once the lengthy testing process was completed because he could not argue with the results of two urine samples and a toxicology report.

But his agent, Jonathan Feinsod, said Nesbit plans to pursue “all legal avenues” with the company that produced the alleged tainted product.

For legal reasons, Feinsod and Nesbit declined to identify the product. But Nesbit said it is accessible in a chain store and is not designed specifically for athletes.

When asked if the product actually worked as intended, Nesbit said, “Whether it worked or not, it’s not worth what I’m going through.”

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said players have the right to appeal their cases, but he reiterated what Nesbit said — all players are responsible for what they put in their bodies. He also pointed out that the NFL has a supplement certification program, through which players can attain approved supplements.

Saints offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb said the players with whom he has spoken all support Nesbit and his family and said it is a shame that Nesbit’s name will be tarnished by what he believes is an honest mistake.

Stinchcomb said it’s easy to be skeptical when so many NFL players claim their innocence in similar situations, but he’s not skeptical in this case because, “I know Nes.”

“You know, I’ve been with Nes for five years, ” Stinchcomb said. “He’s a good friend of mine, a man of character. His whole story in the NFL is really positive, and it just gets tarnished by a mistake.

“You don’t make a 10-year career out of cutting corners and cheating the system. He puts in the work. Your heart just goes out to him and his family.”

The Saints offered a brief comment through a statement released by General Manager Mickey Loomis, which said: “We are disappointed in the suspension of Jamar. We will support Jamar through this process and look forward to having him rejoin the team soon.”

The last Saints player to be suspended under the league’s steroid policy was defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, who missed the final four regular-season games in 2006. Thomas appealed the suspension, claiming his failed test came from an asthma medication, but his appeal was denied.

Before that, linebacker Sedrick Hodge served a four-game suspension at the start of the 2004 season.

Nesbit’s absence will put another burden on the Saints’ offense, which has been decimated by injuries this season.

Receiver Marques Colston (thumb) and tight end Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) will be out of the lineup when the Saints host San Francisco on Sunday. They might also be without left tackle Jammal Brown (hip), receiver David Patten (groin) and tight end Mark Campbell (hamstring), depending on how quickly those players recover.

Nesbit will likely be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie guard Carl Nicks, a fifth-round pick out of Nebraska. Nicks (6 feet 5, 343 pounds) turned heads during training camp and the preseason with an impressive combination of power and athleticism.

Further complicating things for the Saints’ offensive line is that Nesbit has been the team’s backup center in every game this season. Veteran Matt Lehr could fill that role, but the Saints have released him before every game, and he was not back on their roster as of Tuesday evening.



Nesbit suspended for 4 games

A spokesman for the New Orleans Saints says that Jamar Nesbit has been suspended without pay for the team’s next four games for violating the NFL Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances.

Nesbit’s suspension begins immediately.

He is eligible to return to the Saints’ active roster on Monday, October 20 following the team’s October 19 game against the Carolina Panthers.

“We are disappointed in the suspension of Jamar,” said Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.

“We will support Jamar through this process and look forward to having him rejoin the team soon,” Loomis said.



Deuce McAllister all dressed up with nowhere to run

Deuce McAllister all dressed up with nowhere to run

Posted by John DeShazier, The Times-Picayune September 22, 2008 10:35PM

On the field, during a live NFL game, isn’t the time for charity.

No one knows that better than Deuce McAllister, one of the most sensible and centered athletes you’ll find. No one knows better than him that production is the only barometer that should be used, and Deuce, a proud man and athlete, wouldn’t want to be a charity case, even if the opportunity was offered.
But he doesn’t want or deserve to be insulted, either. And if that isn’t what has happened to McAllister this season through the first three games, two of which he has spent on the sideline, it’s a tough sell convincing anyone otherwise.

By all accounts Deuce is healthy after having surgery on both knees last season. By all actions he simply was judged by Coach Sean Payton as not good enough to play for the Saints for more than a handful of plays this season, and if that’s the case, fine, he should have been inactive. It would’ve made a world of sense to sit him, because if there’s trepidation about asking an NFL back to do his job, then he can’t be useful to anyone.

But the other way hasn’t worked for anyone, either. Neither McAllister, nor Payton, nor the Saints have been served by the Saints doing to Deuce what has been done to him so far.

No one has benefited from allowing him to dress for games and then refusing to let him play except for a few downs against Washington.

“Deuce’s playing time is coming,” Payton said Monday. “But at the same time, it has to come at the right time, when I feel like he’s ready.”

Clearly, that time hasn’t occurred during the first three games, when the Saints have run 188 offensive plays, and McAllister has managed just two carries, for 10 yards, despite the myriad situations and opportunities that have occurred during the three games.

Probably, it would’ve been better for Payton to say McAllister was hurt and make him inactive on game days. At least then Deuce wouldn’t have been eligible for duty, wouldn’t have been viewed as a viable option for a team that isn’t having great success running the ball and has bordered on abysmal trying to run it on third-and-1 over its past six quarters.

But if McAllister’s dressed, don’t insult him.

Don’t run him more than 10 times in the first half of a meaningless exhibition game — and none are more meaningless than the final one — and then say three regular-season game plans don’t have room for him, other than a paltry two carries.

Don’t continue stacking DNP-CDs (did not play — coach’s decisions) onto the resume of a player who, before this season, when healthy had never been told by the coach his services weren’t needed.

Don’t get in five third-and-1 situations Sunday against Denver and convert just twice, and into a fourth-and-goal from the 1 against the Broncos and be stopped short, and not expect people to deduce that the most productive rusher in franchise history could have helped on one of those failed conversions, if only as a decoy.

That’s not to say the Saints wouldn’t have lost 29-24 anyway to Washington nine days ago, or that they would have overcome Denver rather than losing 34-32 on Sunday. Maybe, because of blocking breakdowns, no running back on earth gains the yard New Orleans needs on those unsuccessful attempts.

But it’s hard to believe Deuce doesn’t even merit a chance.

Based on the assumption that anyone wearing a uniform is healthy enough to play and contribute, it’s hard to believe he couldn’t have been given one of those seven opportunities (the Saints failed to convert a critical third-and-1 against Washington, too), regardless of whether or not he has practiced goal-line situations that he likely knows like the back of his hand.

Not because of charity, though coaches generally seem to be a lot more charitable when it comes to “their” guys rather than when it comes to guys inherited from previous staffs. (You think that, given a similar health clearance after surgery, Reggie Bush would be standing behind Payton wearing his helmet for almost three games?)

No, Deuce should have been sent to the huddle, because after a stretch of three failures in four third-and-1 attempts — the final one against Washington and two of the first three against Denver — the temptation at least to see what Deuce might be able to do should have been overwhelming. Not to quiet the masses, but to give players the impression that every weapon would be discharged.

Instead, Deuce sits, a loaded weapon.

“He’s healthy,” Payton said. “He just hasn’t played in a while.”

Well, we know why he hasn’t played enough to break a sweat the first three games this season.

Now, if he just isn’t good enough to siphon off a few plays per game from Bush and Pierre Thomas, fine, tell him to leave his pads and cleats in the locker room. Make him inactive, based on the premise that he doesn’t play special teams and simply can’t help.

No one understands the business better than Deuce.

But what’s happening with McAllister now — dressing for games, being held out because he doesn’t fit the game plan — isn’t much more than an insult for a man who has 1,324 career regular-season carries and has been told he’s healthy enough to play.

It’s a slight to be a featured runner against exhibition-game scrubs, in a test to determine your readiness, and then shelved when the real exams begin.

It’s hard to believe that in all the situations that have occurred during three games and 188 offensive plays, Deuce barely has merited a chance.



Shockey out for three to six weeks

Shockey out for three to six weeks

Posted by Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune September 22, 2008 3:00PM

Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey will have sports hernia surgery this week, the team confirmed Monday. The Saints’ top offseason offensive acquisition will be out an estimated three to six weeks.

It is the latest injury blow to an already depleted Saints roster.
The injury had been bothering Shockey for weeks but it was aggravated in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos.



Down to the wire, but New Orleans Saints lose to Denver

Down to the wire, but New Orleans Saints lose to Denver

Posted by The Times-Picayune September 21, 2008 6:33PM

Categories: Saints

Martin Gramatica reacts after missing a field
goal near the end of the Saints 34-32 loss at Denver.

Another week, another questionable play call with the game in the balance.

The New Orleans Saints’ chances of pulling a come-from-behind win against the Denver Broncos was thwarted when Pierre Thomas was stopped on a third-and-1 at the Denver 24 yard line, then Martin Gramatica missed a 43-yard field goal with two minutes remaining.
The Saints had began the drive when Scott Shanle tackled Denver tight end Tony Scheffler and caused a fumble at the New Orleans 8-yard line that was returned to the 21 by Jason David.

From there, quarterback Drew Brees led the team down the field, going 3-of-4, with the big play a 23-yard pass to Devery Henderson.

But, with the clock on their side, the Saints got conservative, with three consecutive running plays: Reggie Bush for 7, Bush for 2, then Thomas for a 1-yard loss.

Reggie Bush
had a big day running and receiving on Sunday.

The Saints had 502 total yards in the game to Denver’s 369. Brees had 421 yards passing, and threw to nine different receivers.

Bush had a solid day for the Saints, running for 73 yards and a touchdown and catching 11 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Denver quarterback Jay Cutler was 21-of-34 for 264 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was Brandon Marshall, who caught six passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.



Black/Gold Gala Fundraiser

The Foundation will hold an annual Black/Gold Gala fundraiser in the Superdome to pursue these endeavors. Our first event will be held October 10, 2008 and will include an all-star line up ranging from Coach Payton to some of the Saints players, as well as some nationally known talents. Funds raised will be distributed to Make it right Nola, First Responders Fund, and the Dr. Phil Foundation to help children in need in Louisiana. This evening will include silent and live auctions, car raffle, seated dinner and entertainment. Individual tickets will be available at $250/each.