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California Gold Rush: New Orleans Saints Bring Heat in 45-7 Win Over Oakland

Randy SavoieAnalyst IIAugust 30, 2009

As Saturday night faded away into Sunday morning on Bourbon Street, shouts of Praise the Lord and pass the Hurricanes filled the air at Pat O'Brien's.

Amen and Amen, brother!

The Saints are 3-0 and all is right with the world on this 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

You know New Orleans. Any good excuse to party.

Just hours earlier, the Saints laid a 45-7 whooping on former LSU star JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders at Oakland Coliseum.

It was the most dominant preseason performance in franchise history.

Whatever happened to the Raiders Commitment to Excellence? Well, who the hell knows.

Raiders head coach Tom Cable–a man not known for pulling punches–told reporters, "Obviously, I'm embarrassed by that effort. It was not very good in terms of the third preseason game. It just seemed like early in the game we could not make a play on either side of the ball."

A born again Saints rushing attack–minus Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas–shredded Oakland's defense for 232 yards on the ground.

Lynell Hamilton and P.J. Hill, vying for a possible fourth running back slot behind Thomas, Bush, and Mike Bell, combined for 178 rushing yards. 

The Saints passing attack was equally as efficient as Drew Brees directed scoring drives of 80, 67 and 78 yards in passing for 179 yards and two touchdowns before leaving in the second quarter.

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Yeah, it was an whipping alright.

  • A Saints 2-1 Time of Possession advantage.
  • First Downs: Saints 31 to Raiders 9.
  • A 75 percent third-down conversion rate in the first-half. When is the last time you remember the Saints accomplishing that?
  • A 536-289 advantage in total yards.

This morning, Father Tony, over at Our Lady of Hopeless Cases in the French Quarter, preached that the last shall be first.

THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST BROTHER! THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST! Amen and Amen!

And which time, I awoke from a light sleep and sat up and shouted PRAISE THE LORD!, immediately assuming he was talking about the NFC South where last to first has become an annual tradition.

New Orleans was an unusual and unlikely last place finisher one year ago with a great offense featuring creme-de-la-creme QB Brees throwing for over 5,000 yards as he mounted a serious challenge to Dan Marino's all-time passing record.

By contrast, the running game and defense were terrible.

Gregg Williams was brought in as the new Saints defensive coordinator to raise the unit to acceptable level.

Yesterday afternoon, they looked as opportunistic as they have since day one of training camp–continuing a trend of flying to the ball and forcing turnovers and proving that the Good Lord can raise the dead.

Paul Spicer, Jonathan Vilma, and Chris Reis recovered fumbles. Randall Gay and Osama Young dropped near interceptions and Tracy Porter recovered a fumble that was ruled an incomplete pass.

The aggressive play of the defense had Gregg William's philosophy stamped all over it from beginning to end.

Alpha and Omega! As those Bourbon Street preachers say. Alpha and Omega!

"We're just flying to the ball," rejuvenated Saints FS Roman Harper said. " I don't think we did anything extra or special, we're just trying to run as fast as we can."

After the Saints attempt to draft Ohio State power back Chris "Beanie" Wells in this year's draft proved futile, Payton remarked that the running backs he needed may already be in the building.

Cynics dismissed the comment as wishful thinking.

Following Bell's breakout game against the Texans last week and Hamilton and Hill's performances last night in Oakland, Payton's statement may have been more than idle chatter.

With Tampa Bay rebuilding, Carolina banged up with little depth, and question marks abounding about the lack of leadership on Atlanta's defense, it is entirely possible that once again this year in the NFC South the Last Shall be First.

The Last Shall be First! The Last Shall be First!

Amen and Amen!

Praise the Lord and pass the hurricanes in New Orleans.

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