Saints by the Numbers: Offensive superlatives galore in Bengals beatdown

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A 51-14 road victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday produced enough superlatives to keep reading until the Saints’ next game seven days from now against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Let’s focus on the very high points.

How rare was Sunday’s performance? First of all, it was only the eighth time in franchise history the Saints have topped 50 points in a game – but the fifth time since 2008, second only to the six such games by the New England Patriots in the last decade.

It’s been so long since the Saints have hung up a “50-burger” on the road that neither of the road stadiums where New Orleans scored 50 – old Busch Stadium in St. Louis and the Kingdome in Seattle – are still standing.

Additionally, the 37-point margin of victory matches the Saints’ second-largest away from home. One year ago Monday, the Saints defeated the Buffalo Bills 47-10. Those were only topped by the 38-0 shutout at Atlanta in 2002.

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No Punts, No Turnovers: Maybe the most impressive statistic on this Sunday afternoon is the Saints played the entire game without a punt or a turnover, the first such game in franchise history.

New Orleans scored on its first nine possessions and the 10th ended with the clock running out.

Only nine times in the last 50 seasons has a team played an entire game without a punt or turnover. Only the Saints on Sunday, the 2015 Patriots and the 2000 Rams scored on every possession before running out the clock.

The full list of those no punt/no turnover games in the last half-century:

Team  Opponent Date Final Poss TD FG Other Possessions
NO at CIN 11/11/2018 51-14 10 6 3 End game
NE vs JAX 9/27/2015 51-17 10 6 3 End game
GB at CHI 9/28/2014 38-17 7 5 1 Missed FG
GB at MIN 10/27/2013 44-31 9 4 3 End half, end game
BAL vs MIA 11/7/2010 26-10 10 2 4 Downs, missed FG, end half, end game
CLE vs NYG 10/13/2008 35-14 8 3 2 Missed FG, end half, end game
TB vs MIN 10/29/2000 41-13 9 4 2 End half, downs, end game
STL vs SD 10/1/2000 57-31 12 6 5 End game
TB vs MIN 11/1/1998 27-24 7 3 2 Downs, end game

 
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Making a Point … or 40: The Saints topped the 40-point mark for the second straight week and the fifth time in nine games.

New Orleans is just the fourth team in NFL history to have five 40-point games in the first nine games of the season, joining a pair of teams to reach the Super Bowl (the 2013 Denver Broncos and the 2000 St. Louis Rams) and the 1949 San Francisco 49ers.

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35 Again: Last week against the Rams, for the first time in the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era, the Saints scored 35 first-half points in a regular-season game (they did it in the January 2010 divisional playoff game against the Cardinals).

On Sunday, the Saints did it again, getting two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half – just as they did against the Rams – to take a 35-7 halftime lead.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Saints are the first time since the Kansas City Chiefs in December 2013  to score 35 first-half points in consecutive games.

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500 Again: In what’s become a semi-regular occurrence for the Saints offense, New Orleans topped he 500-yard mark Sunday, finishing with 509 total yards – 244 rushing and 265 passing.

Since 2006, the Saints have topped 500 yards on 26 occasions, easily the most in the NFL. The Patriots are second with 17.

The Bengals allowed 500 yards for the third consecutive week – the first time in NFL history a team has had such a streak.

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Still Can’t Guard Mike: Wide receiver Michael Thomas got off to a great start Sunday with four receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown on the Saints’ opening drive. He finished the day with eight catches for 70 yards.

Thomas has 78 catches for 950 yards through nine games this season. That projects out to a ridiculous 16-game stat line of 139 catches and 1,689 yards.

Only three other players in NFL history have caught 75 or more passes for at least 900 yards in the first nine games of a season: the Vikings’ Adam Thielen this season (78-947), the Falcons’ Julio Jones in 2015 (80-1,029) and the Colts’ Marvin Harrison in 2002 (75-972).

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Kamara Doubles Up Again: For the third straight game, Alvin Kamara scored a pair of touchdowns. He is the first player in Saints history to score two or more touchdowns in three straight games.

Kamara joins a select group of running backs this season – the Rams’ Todd Gurley, the Steelers’ James Conner and the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey – to put together a streak of three consecutive games with multiple scores.

The last player in the NFL to score multiple TDs in four straight games was Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin in 2015. Kamara will try to run his streak to four next Sunday against the Eagles.

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Ho-Hum for Drew: Drew Brees moved into second place all-time on the NFL’s career passing touchdown list, passing Brett Favre, while putting up another great performance.

Brees completed 22 of 25 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns against the Bengals.

The 88 percent accuracy rate was only Brees’ second-best of the season; on Oct. 8, Brees completed 26 of 29 passes (89.4 percent) against Washington. Remarkably, Brees has completed 80 percent of his passes five times in nine games.

Brees’ passer rating of 150.4 was his second-best this season (153.2 against Washington) and the seventh time in nine games he’s topped the 100 mark.

Research assistance provided by the database website Pro Football Reference.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in 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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