On the surface, this weekend’s game against the Bengals looked like a place where the Saints might stumble. They were away and facing a team two wins over 500; as a rule, that’s going to be a tough out. But this Bengals team had the leagues worst defense in terms of yards allowed per game and presented an opportunity for the Saints offense to have a field day, and they didn’t disappoint. The Saints put on their most dominant performance of a season that is becoming filled with them. The final score was 51-14, with the Saints putting up 35 in the first half, giving Brees the rest of the day off a few minutes into the fourth quarter, and scoring on every single possession other than the very last one, on which they took a knee to win the game. They could not be stopped.
This season has gone even better than I could’ve hoped. The first two weeks when the defense and then the offense took turns looking inept feels like a bad dream. With an eight-game winning streak and a tiebreaker over the Rams, the Saints are in a good position to lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and there is no team in the league which is going to come out of the Superdome with a win. A lot of members of the Saints deserve credit for these beautiful first ten weeks. The offensive line has been incredible protecting Brees and opening up huge holes in the running game; Armstead and Ramczyk are currently the highest ranked tackle duo in the league by PFF. Thomas and Kamara are both averaging over 100 yards a game and have established themselves as one of the best players at their respective positions. The defense also deserves a lot of love; they have only let up over 23 points once in the last six games, and that was to the high-powered Rams offense.
It’s not just the players that have been outdoing themselves. The coaching staff and front office continue to one-up themselves and the rest of the league with an aggressive and no-fear attitude in their decision making. Sean and Carmichael have been more fun and creative with their offensive game plans this season than at any other point in their ten years working together on the Saints. No more over-reliance on Brees, going for it on fourth downs, and using Taysom Hill at QB have made the Saints borderline unstoppable. On the other side of the ball, Allen continues to impress with the defense looking stronger on a weekly basis and the key young pieces thriving.
No team in the league has done a better job drafting and managing their players than the Saints over the last three years, and that starts with Loomis. I was not happy with the Saints giving up a first-rounder to move up Davenport this year, but he was a stud before he went down and will be as soon as he’s back. I should’ve known better than to doubt Loomis by now. If they could just find a number two wideout that doesn’t end up on I.R., the front office can take the rest of the season off.
All that being said, the guy that deserves the most credit for where the Saints are right now is Drew Brees. He is having arguably the greatest season ever by a quarterback, and people seem not to be noticing. Everyone is so excited by Gurley and Mahomes and so used to Brees’s excellence that they aren’t paying it any mind. Brees should be the runaway MVP this season. His TD to INT ratio is 21-1, which, if he maintains, would be the best ever with a 50% increase over Brady’s then record-breaking 14-1 ratio from 2016. He also has the highest completion percentage ever at 77.3%, which is over 5% more than the record which he set last year at 72%, and he has the highest QBR of all time at 123.8 besting the record of 122.5 which Rodgers set in his 2011 MVP season. That Brees hasn’t won an MVP in his career is ludicrous, but the voters can make that right if they simply open their eyes and appreciate what has been in front of them the whole time.
COVER PHOTO: USA Today