New Orleans Saints vs. Denver Broncos: Winners and Losers
The Broncos dominated on offense, they dominated on defense and Peyton Manning had a flawless game with his fourth straight game of 300-plus yards passing and three touchdowns.
The Saints scored a touchdown on only one of their first 10 drives. They were out-gained in the total yardage department 530-252, and by the end of the third quarter, Brees was 1-of-7 on third-down conversions. The New Orleans quarterback was held to 213 yards passing, even though he went into the game with a league-leading 349.5 passing yards per game.
Who were the winners and losers of Denver's 34-14 demolition of the Saints?
Was there a bigger winner than Peyton Manning on Sunday night?
He out-dueled Drew Brees in a matchup of arguably two of the best quarterbacks in the league. He was in a rhythm from start-to-finish, completing 22-of-30 passes for 305 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
There was never any doubt that this was Manning's night. He was simply composed and was never contested by New Orleans' defense.
As you observe game-by-game, it's clear that Manning is becoming more comfortable with this offense. This supposed prime-time matchup was never really a game, as the Broncos rattled off 27 straight points before the Saints scored a garbage touchdown near the end of the regulation.
This game further solidified that Manning is still Manning.
Winner: Peyton Manning
McGahee had another annoying fumble towards the end of the first quarter, which led to the Saints' first touchdown of the game to tie the score at 7-7.
Other than that one blemish, The Broncos' No. 1 running back had a great night, carrying that ball 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown. His yardage was hard earned, as no run of his went longer than 17 yards. He bruised his way forward and was a big reason why the Broncos' offense was able to run so smoothly.
When both Manning and McGahee play the way that they did against New Orleans' defense, the Broncos are hard to stop.
Then again, the Saints do have the worst defenses in the NFL.
Winner: Willis McGahee
So, not only did Wesley Woodyard lead the game in total tackles with 13, but he recorded a sack of Drew Brees, forced a fumble and also recorded an interception.
Possibly AFC Defensive Player of the Week, anyone?
Woodyard was all over the field. He made a statement from the onset for the Broncos by forcing a fumble that should have been recovered by Elvis Dumervil in the first half, and eventually picking off a Drew Brees pass in Denver territory.
Woodyard had a fantastic game, much like most of Denver's roster on this night.
Winner: Wesley Woodyard
Champ Bailey is still one of the best corners in the game. It's as simple as that.
In a game where he was matched up with Marques Colston for the entire night, the Saints' No. 1 wideout only had five catches for 63 yards.
Bailey was a huge reason why, up until the Saints' touchdown drive near the end of the game, Brees was held to only 168 yards passing. That's nearly 200 yards less than his season average.
Bailey harassed Colston and made it difficult for him to have an impact on the game.
For that, Champ is a winner.
Winner: Champ Bailey
As Manning continues to get better and grow more comfortable with his weapons each and every week, so does Demaryius Thomas with his new quarterback.
It's hard to remember sometimes that Demaryius is only 24 years old and in his third year in the NFL. Even though he'll have his mishaps, such as costly fumbles against the Raiders and Patriots while on his way for easy touchdowns, he makes it up with games like this:
Seven receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown.
This was not like the Steelers game where Demaryius consistently caught a lot of his passes on screens. This was a variety of receptions. Whether it was in the intermediate or deep passing, or on bubble screens, Demaryius was all over the field.
The Broncos played a near perfect game against the Saints. As close to a perfect game as you'll find in the NFL. For that, and maybe for one week only, there will be no "losers" listed in this article.
For one Sunday night, Demaryius and the entire Broncos team were winners.