Saints dominate Redskins on latest Brees record-breaking night
NEW ORLEANS – It was only appropriate that Devery Henderson was in the house.
As the head of the Saints Hall of Fame, I was cognizant of the possibility that Drew Brees could break the all-time yardage record in NFL history weeks ago. So we scheduled Henderson to appear before the game at the museum.
After all, it was Henderson that was on the receiving end of Brees’ touchdown pass in 2012 to break the Johnny Unitas record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass with 48. Henderson was grateful to be here on this night. He only wishes he could have caught another record pass.
Instead, that distinction fell to rookie Tre’Quan Smith, who found himself all alone for a 62-yard touchdown reception late in the first half.
Brees is great. There is simply no debating this obvious fact. His greatness was never more evident than on this night.
The man was nearly perfect, completing 26-of-29 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns.
It was quite a night.
Here are my quick takes from the Saints 43-19 win over the Redskins:
**The Saints chose to introduce their offensive starters, which meant Mark Ingram was introduced to an incredible roar while Brees got an amazing “Drew” chant, the loudest I’ve ever heard.
**The Saints won the toss and elected to defer, giving the Redskins the ball first.
**New Orleans opened in nickel defensively, with just two linebackers in Demario Dsvis and A.J. Klein
**P.J. Williams made a huge hit on Adrian Peterson on the second play from scrimmage, an incomplete pass.
**Alvin Kamara took over punt return duties with Ted Ginn, Jr. out.
**Ingram started and carried on the first play from scrimmage, gaining three yards.
**As expected, Josh Norman drew Michael Thomas and was guilty of holding him on the third play from scrimmage.
**Brees then connected with Ingram on a 28-yard screen pass. On the play, Max Unger had a great block and Ingram nearly scored.
**On the next play, Ingram did score from two-yards out to give the Saints a 6-0 lead with 10:41 to play in the opening quarter but Wil Lutz missed the extra point wide right. In his defense, the snap was low. The drive covered 69 yards in six plays, taking 3:09 off the clock.
**Marcus Davenport made a very athletic play to tackle Peterson on a first down play. He was blocked low, got up and ran Peterson down for a two-yard gain, displaying his athleticism.
**Marshon Lattimore went down on the next play when he and A.J. Klein inadvertently collided. Lattimore took a blow to the head and left the field to be evaluated for a concussion.
**Klein then went down on the same series and left the game limping. He was able to return.
**Cam Jordan had a sack and a tackle for a loss on the same series.
**Sheldon Rankins then got a huge sack on Smith on third down, forcing a 37-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins to make it 6-3 with 2:37 to play in the opening quarter. The drive covered 15 plays and 56 yards, taking a whopping 8:04 off the clock.
**The Saints responded with a 13 play, 75-yard drive with Brees hitting Josh Hill on a two-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-3 with 10:38 to play in the half.
**On the drive, Monte Nicholson committed an obvious, ignorant unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Ingram after a sack by Ryan Kerrigan which would have forced a punt.
**Brees then passed Brett Favre for second all-time in passing yardage on a six-yard completion to Alvin Kamara.
**It appeared Washington got a stop again but a defensive holding call in the end on Quinton Dunbar gave the Saints new life and Brees took advantage with his scoring toss to Hill. Washington self-destructed on the drive.
**The carnage continued for the Saints secondary when P.J. Williams went down injured on the next series. Fortunately, he was able to return two plays later.
**Washington drove to the New Orleans 35-yard line and stalled and Hopkins booted a 53-yard field goal to make it 13-6 with 8:36 to play in the half. The drive covered 40 yards in six plays, taking 2:02 off the clock.
**The Saints responded with a 10 play, 75-yard drive with Ingram scoring his second touchdown on a one-yard run to make it 20-6 with 3:43 to play in the half. The Saints overcame a holding penalty on the drive with a big 46-yard completion from Brees to Cam Meredith, who is clearly getting healthier and getting better.
**Then came the record touchdown pass from Brees to Smith to give the Saints a 26-6 lead with 2:36 to play in the half. New Orleans chose to go for two but Taysom Hill was short on a running attempt.
**Incredibly, the zebras called the Saints for what amounted to excessive celebration, a 15-yard penalty, on the record-breaking play. You cannot make this stuff up. The NFL scripted things, stopped the game, had David Baker of the Pro Football Hall of Fame on hand with a certificate, had pictures taken on the sideline and even had Peyton Manning tape a video to congratulate Brees. So what did the officials do? How about flagging the Saints. Such is your NFL today!
**After getting another stop, the Saints had a chance to perhaps put the game away early. They did not as a result of a fumble by Meredith when hit by Fabian Moreau with Pernell McPhee recovering at the New Orleans 16-yard line.
**The Redskins took total advantage with Alex Smith scoring on a four-yard run to cut the deficit to 26-13 by halftime.
**Brees finished the first half 17-of-20 for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
**He picked up where he left in the first half to start the second half, taking the Saints 74 yards in five plays, hitting Tre’Quan Smith on a 35-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints a 33-13 lead with 12:23 to play in the third quarter. Smith burned Greg Stroman on the play.
**Justin Hardee then picked off a Smith pass and returned it 77 yards to the Washington four-yard line. That set up a one-yard touchdown run by Taysom Hill to make it 40-13 with 8:43 to play in the third quarter.
**Smith was then hit by Alex Okafor as he was trying to pass, fumbled and Klein recovered at the Washington 48-yard line.
**That led to a 44-yard field goal by Lutz to make it 43-13 with 14:10 to play.
**Taylor Stallworth went down in the fourth quarter with what may have been a right ankle injury. He limped off with help.
**Washington drove 75 yards in seven plays with Kapri Bibbs scoring on a one-yard run to make it 43-19 with 10:25 to play. The Redskins went for two but a pass failed as Craig Robertson laid out Chris Thompson with a huge hit.
**New Orleans then expired the final 10:21 of the game with a patented drive to finish off a superlative performance.
It was a night of superlatives for the Saints. Ingram returned in outstanding form. Tre’Quan Smith had a breakout game. Meredith looked good, with the exception of the fumble. Josh Hill continued to make plays. So did Taysom Hill. The Saints were able to reduce the load of Kamara and that was good after how he carried things the first four weeks. New Orleans never punted.
The defense was plenty good enough. Davenport showed he can be a star and Jordan is an outstanding player. Hardee did very good things.
Sean Payton did a class thing, taking Brees out at the two-minute warning, letting him leave to one more resounding applause from appreciative fans. Teddy Bridgewater got into the game for the first time as a Saint to take a knee three times.
Now comes the bye week, which should help the Saints perhaps get Lattimore, Ginn, Jr. and Manti Te’o back. Then comes the meat of the schedule, beginning with a pair of tough road games at Baltimore and Minnesota. Then, the unbeaten Rams come to town, followed by a road game against a good Cincinnati team and home games against Super Bowl champion Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Yes, the Washington secondary did not cover anyone but that takes nothing away from the brilliance of Brees.
The Saints have scored 177 points in the first five games of the 2018 season. The only other time they ever accomplished that feat was in 2009 and you know what happened that season.
The Saints have improved weekly. They have won four straight games. They needed to be 4-1 by the bye week and that is where they are. Only the Los Angeles Rams are better in the NFC at 5-0. Now, we will find out just how good New Orleans is.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…