Who Dey? The Saints know who they are and so do the Cincinnati Bengals after a commanding 51-14 victory in Paul Brown Stadium. In what most media heads considered a “trap game” for New Orleans, Drew Brees and Company made sure there would be no such thing today. They played a phenomenal team game in all three phases and scored on every possession except for the final drive where victory was all but guaranteed.
The Saints started the game off right with a 15 play, 75-yard drive that ate up over half of the first quarter clock that ended with a miraculous touchdown catch by Michael Thomas to put them up early. The Bengals were able to counter with a score of their own, going 75 yards as well, driving down the field with a big catch by Tyler Boyd for 23 yards and a couple of 10-plus carries by Joe Mixon. They completed their drive with John Ross hauling in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to even the score.
On the next Saints possession, Mark Ingram got involved in the passing game with two big 20-plus yard receptions, with the second resulting in a 28-yard touchdown off a screen pass. To no surprise, Ingram threw up the X for fellow teammate Dez Bryant, who was placed on IR with a torn Achilles shortly after joining the team mid-week. Cincinnati looked to make another counter score after a long kickoff return by Alex Erickson put them in good field position. However, the Saints defense finally came to play. After giving up a 17-yard completion to Joe Mixon, they stopped the Bengals the next three plays to force a 4th down play. Cincinnati looked to go for it but a false start ended those hopes and they had to punt it away.
From that point on, The Who Dat Train went on a non-stop scoring spree. Alvin Kamara scored a rushing touchdown to put them up 21-7. After a three and out, he would score again on the ground from one yard out, set up by Dan Arnold’s 23-yard catch with over a minute left in the half. Dalton and the offense would try to get their team on the board knowing they would get the ball back at halftime. Giovani Bernard hauled in a big 26-yard catch to get them inside Saints territory, only to have Dalton get intercepted by Marcus Williams inside the 5 yard line and return inside the Cincinnati 20-yard line. Brees would capitalize with a quick strike touchdown pass to Thomas which put him 2nd all time on the touchdown passes list. What a way to end the half I would say.
The Bengals could not do much to start the second half, going three and out and were forced to punt. The Saints continued to keep their foot on the gas pedal as Brees connected with recently called up Keith Kirkwood on a 42-yard catch to put them in the red zone. Will Lutz would finish the drive with a field goal to extend the lead. The Bengals tried to get back into the game with Tyler Boyd making a huge 36-yard reception to get them to the Saints’ 35. Despite that, the Saints defense stepped up once again with a big sack by Alex Anzalone on third down and forcing Dalton to throw incomplete on fourth down.
As much as the Saints had this game in hand, they continued to show why they are arguably the best offense in the NFL. Ingram gashed through for a 33-yard scamper which helped them put more points on the board with a signature Drew Brees sneak from the 1-yard line to go up 45-7. The Bengals would be forced to another three and out, with Sheldon Rankins pushing his way to a sack on second down. The Saints would kick a field goal on their next drive and the defense would get an interception by Eli Apple on a deflection that would essentially seal the deal.
For the Saints, Drew Brees had another MVP like performance going 22/25 for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns. The duo of Ingram and Kamara made their mark in the passing and run game (Ingram-13 carries/104 yards; 3 rec./58 yards/1 TD; Kamara-12 carries/56 yards/2 TDs; 4 rec./46 yards). Michael Thomas, once again, showed why he is one of the best receivers in the game today with a big 8 catches, 70 yards and 2 touchdown game.
For the Bengals, Andy Dalton finished 12/20 for 153 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Joe Mixon had a solid game with 11 carries for 61 yards on the ground along with 2 catches for 24 yards through the air. Tyler Boyd lead his receivers with 3 catches for 65 yards.
The Saints defense played a standout game having four sacks and only allowing 284 total yards. The Bengals defense, on the other hand, would like to forget this game as they allowed 509 total yards with no sacks and no turnovers.
Overall, this was the most complete game the Saints have played this season and will have to keep up that tempo with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to New Orleans next week.