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Old 09-23-2002, 08:38 PM   #1
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Talking New Orleans Saints Report-Week 3

Title:New Orleans Saints Build Character with Come from Behind Win


The New Orleans Saints came back from a 20-point deficit, and beat the Chicago Bears at Chicago, 29-23.

Not only did this victory keep the Saints among the ranks of the unbeaten, but it had to help build character for a team that was struggling to find its new identity in the new NFC South.

The Saints were not really expected to do so well this season, especially after trading running back Ricky Williams, who rushed for over a 1,000 yards in 2001, to the Miami Dolphins during the off-season. They also lost All-Pro guard Willie Roaf, and defensive end and sack monster LaíRoi Glover.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were picked by most football experts to dominate the new NFC South. Currently, they are 1-1, and have to play the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football tonight.

As for the Saints big victory Sunday, against the Bears, you know it really had to instill confidence in the teamís offense, since they overcame a 20 point deficit to win it. The Saints really did their best to give the Bears the win it seems in the first quarter and part of the second. In one instance, center Jerry Fontenot snapped the ball to quarterback Aaron Brooks, and it hit Brookís leg, and they lost the ball to Chicago.

The Saints were trailing 20-0 in the second quarter, when they finally scored on a Brooks 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jerome Pathon with 7:21 seconds left to play in the second quarter. They later scored in the same quarter, on a 7-yard scamper by Brooks, to make it 20-14 at halftime.

Brooks ended up completing 22-of-34 for 233 yards, and three touchdown passes. He did throw one interception. Brooks is really blossoming into a great quarterback. Head coach Jim Haslett didnít give up on Brooks even after the teamís big letdown of the 2001 season

In 2000, the Saints had won their division, despite losing running back Ricky Williams to an injury, and losing starting quarterback Jeff Blake to another injury. That is when Brooks emerged, and led the team to the postseason, and their first playoff victory in franchise history.

Back to Sundayís game. In the third quarter of Sundayís game against Chicago, Brooks connected with wide receiver Joe Horn for a 5-yard passing score. Horn was the leading receiver for the Saints with six receptions overall. His big score made it 21-20, Saints. Then Chicago kicked a successful field goal in the fourth quarter with 8:43 seconds remaining. The Saints later put a drive together, and with 1:11 seconds remaining, Brooks threw his third touchdown pass of the day to rookie wide receiver, Donte Stallworth. Brooks ran it in for a 2-point conversion to make it 29-23 and that sealed the victory for the Saints to make them 3-0.

Running back Deuce McAllister, who played a large part in the Saints first two victories, rushed for only 45 yards on 17 carries. He caught four passes for 42 yards.

The Saints now find themselves tied with the Carolina Panthers for first place in the NFC South, both having a record of 3-0. Thatís another big surprise so far this season, the Panthers being undefeated after three games. They went 1-15 in the 2001 season.

The Saints play the Detroit Lions in Detroit next Sunday, on September 29th. Another road victory would really boost the confidence level of this team. The Lions are 0-3, and are struggling to find their own identity with rookie quarterback Joey Harrington leading the team.

If the Saints defense really kicks in, this team could very well win their division and advance into the playoffs. But three games are not enough to tell how well a team will play next week or in the near future.

By the way, the Saints defense Sunday, against Chicago, was led by Saints safety Sammy Knight who had 11 tackles and one interception. 10 were solo tackles. He really played a great game.

The Saints can only prepare well, and work hard during the week, while practicing. Maybe saying a prayer or two will help too. The Lions will be no pushover, especially when they play at home, and especially when they are seeking their first victory of the 2002 season. Hope to see you at the game.
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Old 09-23-2002, 09:52 PM   #2
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Aaron Brooks and McAllister could be the surprise of the season! No one expected them to come out and play so well after many accused them of giving up last season. The only question is whether Pathon can continue to demand attention from defenses to free up Horn.
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Old 09-23-2002, 10:21 PM   #3
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Stallworth can also free up Horn.....Stallworth made a good play for the game winning touchdown yesterday against the Bears. The Saints will be 4-0 after next weekend!

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