The New Orleans Saints kept their foot on the gas pedal and easily smoked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-10 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bucs were lucky it wasn’t worse as the Saints were clicking on all cylinders in route to their sixth win in a row.
Sunday in the Superdome
This team is just getting better and better. The offense isn’t solely relying on the arm of Drew Brees as the running game is coming to the forefront on a consistent basis. Mark Ingram went for 77 yards on the day and has averaged 98 yards per game and put up four touchdowns over the last three contests. Over that same span, Alvin Kamara has 335 yards combined rushing and receiving and three touchdowns. Kamara also has 38 receptions and a gaudy 6 yards per carry average at the halfway point of the season. So, please forgive your work friend for salivating in his cubicle this week. The poor guy is just thinking about an unstoppable offense that sees Brees relentlessly torturing defenses with pass after pass to Kamara out of the backfield.
Not that it was all offense. The New Orleans defense, in a game that Jameis Winston would not finish, acted like a schoolyard bully with the Tampa Bay squad. Winston was harassed early and often by Cam Jordan, who had 1.5 sacks, and Alex Okafor, who got a half-sack and plays with an impressive amount of speed.
Marshon Lattimore just did what I guess he’s always going to do, as in, completely dominate his side of the field. This week Lattimore shut down Mike Evans in such grand fashion that the only reason people are talking about the latter today is because of his cheap shot on Lattimore. Props to Damien Harris for flying to Lattimore’s defense and grinding Evans into the turf.
Remember when the Saints couldn’t get wins and Brandon Browner was delivering cheap shots instead of making plays? That is the current situation in Tampa Bay.
The Saints (6-2) travel to Buffalo this Sunday to take on the Bills at noon. Buffalo (5-3) is coming off of a loss to the New York Jets and are also dreaming of a return to the playoffs. This is going to be a rough (and cold) affair.
Looking into the back half of the schedule, the Saints are now sitting a half-game up on the Carolina Panthers (6-3) and two games up on the Atlanta Falcons (4-4) in the NFC South.
The men in Black and Gold are entering a critical four-game stretch where every team they face has a shot at the playoffs. After the Bills game, the Saints will host the Washington Redskins (4-4), travel to the red hot L.A. Rams (6-2) and then return to the Superdome to play the Carolina Panthers. Besides the Rams game, the Saints should be favored in all of these games and if they get out of this part of the schedule winning three of them, everyone should immediately go buy a daiquiri because it’s time to start really talking about how far this team can go.
One step at a time but get ready to dance, New Orleans.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Second Line Brewing’s “Saison Named Desire”
Playlist Recommendation: Pee Wee Crayton – “Runnin’ Wild”
Around the Way
Out of all the universities and colleges in the state of Louisiana, only the UNO Privateers will kick off the 2017-18 NCAA Men’s basketball season with a chance to record back-to-back March Madness appearances. The Privateers, reigning Southland Conference champions, travel to Queens, New York., to take on the St. John’s Red Storm Nov. 10, at 6 p.m.
The Privateers, who recently extended Coach Mark Slessinger’s contract through the 2024 season, are picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Southland this year. Of course, they were picked to finish ninth last year so evidently the media’s prognostication skills have to be taken with a grain of salt.
UNO has some tough games scheduled early on with away games against the likes of Memphis, Houston, SMU and UL-Lafayette on tap before the team enters conference play.
In Uptown, the wheels are officially off of the Tulane Green Wave football renaissance, as the team finds themselves mired in a four-game losing streak after dropping their Homecoming game versus the Cincinnati Bearcats, 17-16.
It was nice to see the Green Wave (3-6) let Jonathan Banks go to the air on a regular basis and it did pay some dividends. Banks finished the day 17-for-24 for 196 yards. Banks also rushed for 81 yards. Unfortunately for the Green Wave, the Bearcats bottled up Dontrell Hilliard (18 rushes, 45 yards). At this point, that 62-28 stomping of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane seems like a million years ago.
If Tulane wins their last three games they can still go bowling but will enter two of those contests as big underdogs. The Green Wave travel to Greenville, North Carolina to play the East Carolina University Pirates on Nov. 11, at 6 p.m.