Saints by the Numbers: Back-to-back division titles for first time

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Remember the adage, “Stats are for losers?” That’s certainly not the case in New Orleans, where the Saints are once again NFC South champions after a 28-14 victory at Tampa Bay Sunday.

And they’ve accumulated some pretty good stats along the way.

For the first time in the 52-year history of the franchise, New Orleans has won back-to-back division titles. Following division titles in 1991, 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2011, the Saints failed to repeat.

The Saints are the 10th NFC team to win back-to-back division titles since the league realigned prior to the 2002 season. The six teams who have not repeated in that span? Division mates Atlanta and Tampa Bay; NFC East rivals Dallas, the New York Giants and Washington, and the only team who has not won a division title in the NFC since 2002, Detroit.

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Defense Steps Up Again: For the fifth consecutive game, the Saints held their opponent to 17 points or less, matching the longest such streak since Sean Payton became head coach in 2006. In Payton’s first year, New Orleans also had a streak of five straight games holding opponents to 17 or less.

The only longer streaks in franchise history came during the prime era of the “Dome Patrol.”

Streak First Game Last Game Record
8 games 12/16/1991 10/11/1992 6-2
6 games 9/8/1991 10/20/1991 6-0
5 games 11/26/2006 12/24/2006 4-1
5 games 11/11/2018 Active 4-1

 

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More Milestones for Michael: Wide receiver Michael Thomas passed a pair of Louisiana products and former LSU Tigers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, for the most receptions in the first three seasons of his career.

Thomas, who had 11 catches for 98 yards on Sunday, now has 298 career catches, 10 more than Beckham and Landry.

Seasons Catches
Michael Thomas 2016-18 298
Odell Beckham Jr. 2014-16 288
Jarvis Landry 2014-16 288
A.J. Green 2011-13 260
Anquan Boldin 2003-05 259

 
Additionally, Thomas went over the 100-catch mark for the second consecutive season on Sunday. By reaching the mark in the 13th game of the season, Thomas became the 11th player in NFL history to top 100 catches through 13 games. Only four players have had more catches through 13 games than Thomas’ 102.

Thomas needs two more catches to match his franchise record of 104 set last season.

The list of most receptions through the first 13 games of a season:

Player Team Season Catches
Marvin Harrison IND 2002 118
Julio Jones ATL 2015 109
Antonio Brown PIT 2014 105
Wes Welker NE 2009 105
Cris Carter MIN 1994 102
Michael Thomas NO 2018 102

 

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Sacks Continue: With four sacks of Jameis Winston Sunday, New Orleans has 41 sacks on the season and is on pace for 50 sacks, which would be the most in the Payton era.

The most by a Payton-coached team is 49 in 2013. The franchise record is 66 in 2000.

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Sacks Part 2: Cam Jordan had two of the four sacks on Sunday, his third consecutive game with at least 2.0 takedowns.

Jordan is the second player in franchise history to have a streak of three straight multi-sack games. Who did he join on that list? Certainly it had to be someone like Jackson, Swilling, Martin or Glover, right?

No, it was Darion Conner, who had consecutive multi-sack games against Tampa Bay (3.0), San Francisco (2.0) and the New York Giants (2.0) in Weeks 3-5 of the 1994 season. Conner finished with 10.5 sacks in his only season as a Saint.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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