Saints vs. Vikings: 6 Things We Learned from New Orleans 42-20 Win
The Saints have won their sixth straight game and second on the road.
They went in to Minnesota and dominated in every part of the game against the Vikings. The defense showed up, the offense showed off, and the Vikings were shooed out.
New Orleans went up 42-13 early in the fourth quarter and sat the starters for the rest of the game. Every player performed well and the team as a whole showed that they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
Let's take a look at seven things we learned from the Saints' 42-20 victory against Minnesota.
Drew Brees Is the Best Quarterback in the NFL
Drew Brees has done it again.
He practically hosted a seminar on how to play quarterback on Sunday. He completed 80 percent of his passes and threw for 412 yards and five touchdowns. Brees finished the day with a 149.2 passer rating. His play since the loss against the Rams has been second to none.
Brees shredded the Vikings' secondary all day and did not even play for most of the fourth quarter. He show outstanding pocket presence and saved a couple of sacks during the game. He hit receivers right in the hands and placed the ball where only his guys could get to it.
Against the Vikings, Brees had his best game all year, and he showed again why he is among the best to play the game.
Saints Defense Can Play Outstanding Football
The Saints' defense was unstoppable today.
They threw the Vikings' offense around and bullied them all day. The game against the Vikings has been their best showing all year. The Saints allowed only 207 total yards —only 102 passing yards and 105 rushing yards.
They were able to hold Adrian Peterson to 60 yards and backup Toby Gerhart to 12 yards. The leading receiver for the Vikings was Gerhart and he only had 46 receiving yards.
The Saints were able to get pressure on the quarterback all day. They ended the game with four sacks and five quarterback hits. They also had seven tackles for a loss. This Saints defense showed tenacity and aggressiveness all day.
Every defensive player did their part and if they continue to play like this, the Saints will go deep into the playoffs.
Chris Ivory Can Pound the Ball
Chris Ivory filled in perfectly for Mark Ingram.
Ivory ran the ball with power and never stopped turning his legs. Ivory ran for 74 yards on 18 carries, which averages out to 4.1 yards per carry. A team will take an average of more than four yards every game.
There were numerous plays in which it looked like Ivory would be stopped for negative yards or no gain, but he kept on churning to get positive yards. He wore down the Vikings defense throughout the game and allowed the Saints to capitalize with deep throws downfield.
If Ivory keeps running like this it will be extremely difficult for the Saints to bench him when Ingram comes back.
Every Saints Receiver Is a Playmaker
The receivers on the Saints proved on Sunday that they can all play amazing football.
Four different Saints' receivers had five catches or more and 70 or more yards. Four different Saints receivers caught a touchdown pass.
Marques Colston and Lance Moore led the Saints with 91 receiving yards. Darren Sproles caught for 79 yards and Jimmy Graham was fourth on the Saints with 70 yards. The only Saints receiver that did not catch for more than 20 yards was Devery Henderson.
Every one of the Saints' receivers is capable of catching for 100 yards on any Sunday. If this receiving corps keeps playing this way, it will be difficult for any defense to stop the Saints.
Saints Have Great Depth
The Saints proved yet again on Sunday that they are one of the deepest teams in the NFL.
They were missing their leading rusher, but Chris Ivory was able to fill in and lead the team in rushing for the second straight week.
In the middle of the game, the Saints lost their starting right guard in Jahri Evans and the offensive line made a couple of shifts and kept on steamrolling the Vikings. Evans is arguably the best guard in all of football, but Saints backup Matt Tennant filled in admirably.
Brees was not sacked once, despite the injury on the offensive line.
The Saints also proved their depth in the receiving corps and the defensive lines. Numerous guys made plays all over the field.
This type of depth will help the Saints going into the postseason and could perhaps win them a second Lombardi trophy.
Saints Are Their Own Worst Enemies
The only team that can stop the Saints is the Saints.
They played well today despite multiple errors early in the game. The Saints fumbled twice early, but were able to hold the Vikings to only six points off of the turnovers.
The Saints showed last week that they can play without focus at times, and they started the game against the Vikings that way. This is the most noticeable flaw in the Saints of 2011.
I believe that they proved to everyone on Sunday that they can not only overcome those problems, but fix them as well. After the two early turnovers, the Saints played like a different team. Even during the drives where they lost the football, they were moving down the field.
The Saints will not be able to afford dumb mistakes like these in the playoffs, but Sean Payton and Drew Brees will have all of that solved before the postseason starts.