Saints could make rout of Bucs into springboard to title run

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He said it.

“We want to play well, we prepare to play well, but confidence can only be achieved through demonstrated ability,’ said Saints head coach Sean Payton.

After a 38-3 rout of Tampa Bay, the Saints’ confidence, already high, should be higher.

That performance ranks among the best in Payton’s 14-season tenure as head coach in New Orleans.

Those big wins can propel a team onto bigger things.

In 2006 during another Sunday night showdown, the Saints routed the Cowboys in Dallas, 42-17. The pupil, Payton, got the best of his former boss, then Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells.

New Orleans scored 21 points in the second quarter and 21 points in the third. They even recovered an onside kick, and turned it into a Drew Brees-to-Devery Henderson touchdown pass.

The Saints won the NFC South and reached the conference championship game before being eliminated by the Chicago Bears.

Three years later, the Saints ran their record to 11-0 with a 38-17 win over the New England Patriots on a Monday night in November.

Brees completed 18 of 23 for 371 yards and five touchdowns, recording the first perfect passer rating of his career. He also became the first opposing quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a game against a Bill Belichick-coached team.

The Saints won their first 13 games and eventually the Super Bowl but it was on that night in November when the Black and Gold declared the quality of their team.

Which brings up to Sunday night’s rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Saints had 27 first downs to Tampa Bay’s 13. Tampa was held under 200 yards in total offense and ran the football a total of five times.

The Bucs, winners of six of their previous seven games, had the football for only 19:56. The Saints possessed the football for 40:04.

New Orleans was 9-of-14 on third down while the Bucs were only 1-of-9.

Tom Brady was limited to 5.5 yards a completion and sacked three times. He felt the heat, early and often.

Payton, of course, downplayed his club’s dominating win.

“We’re going to look at the tape. And, a season is made up of a series of games, adversity, tough games. And this was a positive one that I think is one of our better team games.”

You think?

On a Sunday night in Tampa, the Saints looked like a team that could go very deep in the postseason. It may indeed be an indicator of things to come.

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Ed Daniels

Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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