Despite the New Orleans Saints 35-17 win over the Buffalo Bills, Head Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees were not satisfied with Sunday’s performance. The dynamic duo agreed that despite the final score, the number of mistakes they made in Sunday’s victory will be more than enough to get them beat against a more formidable opponent. Pre-snap penalties, missed scoring opportunities and mental mistakes left the Saints feeling like they got away with one on Sunday. ”If we continue to repeat these mistakes they will get us beat,” stated Brees. “That’s not good enough for us. We’ve set the bar high. We have a high standard. We want to be as perfect as we can out there.”
Coach Payton was pleased with the victory, but remaind stellar in his demeanor when discussing the Saints mishaps. ”When you have eight penalties … and you can’t get the right amount of people on the field, then those are things that certainly go against saying you have your swagger,” Payton said. “Those are things that are troubling.”
Although Brees was less-than-satisfied with the overall performance, his numbers were stellar as usual. Brees was 26 of 34 for 332 yards and 5 touchdown passes. Spreading the wealth around, Brees connected with 10 different Saints receivers. One of those receivers was tight end Jimmy Graham who missed most of the Saint’s practice time this past week with an injured foot. Graham had three catches for 37 yards and 2 touchdowns. Coming off his poorest performance of the season in week 6 where Graham was shut out in the Saints only loss of the season to the New England Patriots, Graham showed flashes of brilliance and made the most of his oppotunities. Coach Peyton chose to sit Graham most of the game to rest his injured foot using him only when the Saints cracked the red zone. Said Graham of his Sunday performance, “Everyone plays with something going on, so this is no different”. ”I’ve been preparing myself this week to play, so to get that call was awesome.”
Perhaps the brightest of the bright spots for the Saints on Sunday was standout wide receiver Kenny Stills who had three catches for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. Stills gave the Saints fans something to cheer about in the second quarter when he blew past Bills linebacker Jerry Hughes and Brees hit him in stride for a 69 yard TD strike. Stills has proven himself a worthy reciever and is just one more reason the Saints passing game remains on of the best in the business.
One the other side of the ball, Buffalo Quarterback Thad Lewis had little to cheer about. On the very first play from scrimmage, Lewis lost a fumble after being crunched by a Saints linebacker David Hawthorne. Lewis struggled throughout attempting to read Saint’s Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s defensive schemes. Lewis finished 22 of 39 for 234 yards and a touchdown. Following the loss, Bill’s Head Coach Doug Marrone, a former top offensive assistant under Payton in New Orleans advised “That is a playoff team that we played.”