Saints by the Numbers: Winning with a dozen unusual
The Saints’ 12-9 victory at Carolina Monday night was unusual in many ways, none moreso than the winning team’s point total.
Since Sean Payton and Drew Brees arrived in 2006, Monday was the 12th time they have been held to 12 points or less in the regular season. It’s the first time they’ve left the field winners. The previous low score in a victory was in the 2010 season opener against Minnesota – a 14-9 New Orleans victory.
The last time New Orleans won when scoring 12 or less was way back on Oct. 25, 1998 – a 9-3 victory over Tampa Bay. Since then, the Saints had been 0-35 when scoring 12 or less points … until Monday night.
Of the dozen performances of a dozen or less by the Saints since 2006, nine have been on the road.
Breaking a Trend With No TD Passes: The Saints won despite Brees not throwing a touchdown pass, but Monday night’s game broke a solid trend in that department.
Up until Monday, every one of the previous six wins without a touchdown pass since 2006 came in a game where Brees did not throw an interception – which he did against the Panthers.
And in every one of the 11 games with no TD passes and at least one INT, the Saints had lost. In fact, New Orleans had a 15-game losing streak dating back to 2003 in such games.
More Sacks: The Saints defense stepped up in a big way again Monday night, sacking Panthers quarterback Cam Newton four times.
It’s the 11th time in 14 games New Orleans has had three or more sacks in a game. Only the 1997 and 2000 teams have had more games with at least four sacks, each doing it 12 times.
Run to Win: The Saints rushed for 152 yards on 33 attempts Monday night, the 16th time New Orleans has finished with at least 130 rushing yards in the last two seasons – and all 16 games have resulted in victories.
The combination of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram has certainly amped up the Saints running game over the last two years. Before Kamara’s arrival, the Saints had only 15 games of 130 or more rushing yards the previous four seasons.
Seven Road Wins: With the win, the Saints finished 7-1 on the road. The seven road wins ties a franchise record, originally set in 2000 and tied in the Super Bowl-winning season of 2009.
With the exception of the 1990 team that made the playoffs with an 8-8 record, every Saints team to reach the postseason has had a winning road record.
Another Record for Mike: Wide receiver Michael Thomas continues to obliterate the Saints record book. A catch late in the third quarter was Thomas’ 105th of the season, topping his own mark from a year ago.
Thomas is the only player in Saints history to catch at least 100 passes in a season. He’s done it twice in his first three years in the NFL, and has become the first player in NFL history to top 300 receptions in his first three seasons.
Donte’ For 2: New Orleanian Donte’ Jackson returned an intercepted two-point pass by Drew Brees for two points in the fourth quarter.
In 2015, the NFL passed the rule used for three decades in the college game, allowing defenses to return point-after attempts (kicks and scrimmage plays) for two points. Jackson’s play was the seventh defensive two-point conversion in the four-year history of the rule.
Ironically, the first such conversion came in the 2015 season and was by the Saints against the Panthers. Stephone Anthony returned a blocked kick for two points.
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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;…