The Saints were able to take care of a clearly inferior but tricky team in the Bills 35-17 in the Superdome. The offense sputtered early before getting some rhythm, ignited by a huge pass play from Brees to Kenny Stills for a touchdown. The defense did their usual thing, rushing the passer, creating turnovers and holding an opponent under 20 yet again. This was a trademark 2013 Saints win. This was a physical game that included some huge hits, but the Saints seemed to walk away from it without any major injuries. The possible exception is Malcolm Jenkins (left the game with a leg injury). The Saints are now 6-1 and will travel to play the Jets next week. Below are my observations on the game.
- Interesting to note that Darren Sproles had close to zero involvement in this game. Just 4 catches for no yards. As much as the Saints go by "back by committee", it was all Pierre Thomas all day in this one. I'm not sure if Sproles isn't 100% or if the Saints felt Thomas was the best back in this game to help pass protect.
- Drew Brees was flagged twice for snap simulation. He did the same thing he does every single week and this crew wasn't having it. Very strange it was getting called now. I wonder if he'll get flagged for that again this season or if this was just a one off.
- Garrett Hartley missed kicks of 47 and 38 yards. The first was hooked but hit the upright and the second missed left by maybe a half yard. This game could have been a lot more comfortable if he had handled his job. I did notice him grab his leg after getting hit on an extra point, not sure if he was banged up or not.
- The Saints had some huge hits in this game. Vaccaro, Hawthorne, Malcolm Jenkins, Galette and others all took turns teeing off. Thad Lewis in particular took a beating. Give the young QB credit he played the whole game.
- Speaking of Hawthorne, he was an absolute beast in this game. Lead the team in tackling, had a sack and a forced fumble.
- 10 of 26 completions went to four different wide receivers. Not a huge involvement in the game, but much better than previous weeks.
- Kenny Stills had a coming out party with 3 catches for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not only is he showing an ability to stretch the field, he can also catch the ball in traffic. Impressive.
- Lance Moore's return helped the offense, and his touchdown reception showcased trademark hands.
- The offensive line did ok. They created nice lanes for Thomas and pass protected ok. Brees did get hit quite a bit, though, and he was sacked 4 times. The line also had a few holding calls.
- The Bills' defensive line was as good as advertised. Mario Williams caused problems, but Kyle Williams of LSU was a much bigger threat in this one.
- Third string tight end Josh Hill got a decent amount of playing time and a couple catches, showing some athleticism. Ben Watson was involved too.
- Graham may have been hurt but he still hurt the Bills badly in the red zone. Two touchdowns in limited play.
- A weird game by the officiating crew that had two terrible roughing the passer calls (one on each team) that were undeserved. They picked up a flag on a clear hold on Robert Meachem. Flagged Brees for something no one else has. They called a bogus roughing the passer on Corey White as Thad Lewis lower his helmet into the tackler. They also negated a touchdown by the Bills on a holding call (though that seemed correct). Lots of questionable calls in this one that were game changers.