Saints make statement with win over Pats

NEW ORLEANS -– Watching Indianapolis come back from a 17-point deficit and take apart Houston on Sunday had me wondering if the Colts might be the team to beat. A day later, I got my answer.

The New Orleans Saints’ 38-17 bludgeoning of New England left no doubt that things run through the Big Easy. The Saints might drop a game or two before all 16 are played, but against a team feared for its weapons and its rep, they had the fearless disposition, the defense, the coaches and the quarterback to illustrate they were better.

Sure, the Patriots could have had an off night and the Saints could have been perfect. In fact, Saints quarterback Drew Brees pretty much was. But that could be said about any game that turns ugly.

Saints coach Sean Payton out-schemed Bill Belichick, picking on his vulnerable safeties. New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran circles around the Patriots, confusing them with three-man rushes and varied man-zone defenses; and Brees was sick, hitting five different receivers for five touchdowns.

And what about Mike McKenzie? Just more than a week ago, the veteran cornerback was on the couch, out of football. He joined the injury-depleted secondary this week, started, nabbed an early pick that led to a touchdown and then broke up a pass to Randy Moss on fourth-and-4 near the Saints’ goal line in the third quarter that threw water on any rally hopes the Patriots conjured.

The folks in the Who Dat Nation are partying hard right about now, but something tells me this won’t be the last time they’re moseying down the streets doing the Second Line stroll after a big game. For those of you not in the know, that’s the celebratory Jazz March in these parts that follows a funeral.

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