Sunday’s Beat Down Shows Why Colston’s Injury Won’t be Fatal to the Saints’ Offense

Now Saints fans, did Week Two feel a little better?

After a heartbreaking loss in the first week of the season to the Green Bay Packers, the Black and Gold returned home to “The Big Easy” looking to please the New Orleans crowd.  And so they did.  The offense came alive for three scores, kicker John Casey tacked on three field goals, and the defense had Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler running for his life (in every sense of the phrase), as they recorded six sacks and held him to only one passing Touchdown (Cutler finished with a 67.3 QB rating.).  Overall, it was complete domination, something that the squad needed to get its season headed back in the right direction.

In a post I made prior to the contest, I brought up the following question:  “Would the loss of WR Marques Colston affect the Saints’ offense?”

Clearly, it did not.

The Saints did exactly what they had to do to cope with the Colston injury:  they turned to their young receiving corp to help carry the load.  Tight end Jimmy Graham finished second on the team in reJimmy Grahamceiving yards (79) and five-year man Robert Meachem added on a TD.  The “veteran” of the group, Devery Henderson (29-years old), truly racked up the big plays, though, catching three passes for 103 yards and a TD.  His 79-yard TD reception early in the second quarter would set the tempo for the remainder of the game, as he burned two of the Bears’ safeties en route to the end zone.  Even the new addition to the team, Darren Sproles, contributed to the fireworks, recording eight receptions for 43 yards and a TD.  QB Drew Brees finished the day with a smile on his face and 270 passing yards on his stat sheet.  Three TDs and a 118.1 QB rating didn’t look too shabby either.

The key to success with Colston injured was simple.  Once the Saints began to spread the ball around, life became easier.  The run game finally began to show signs of production, getting 29 carries for 118 yards.  Eight different members of the Saints’ offense caught a pass, keeping the defense on its toes and playing the guessing game.  Ultimately, New Orleans targeted receivers (RBs, TEs, and WRs) 37 times, showing a true balance in the passing game.  Even without Colston in the number one role, Brees was able to successfully spread the ball around, and 30 points were the result. 

So now the Saints can spend the week in New Orleans and prepare for the new challenge ahead:  the Houston Texans.  The Texans, who are currently 2-0 to start the season, are currently ranked as the top pass defense in the league, as opponents have averaged 162.5 yds/game, recording only 325 total yards and two TDs.  Although these numbers seem solid, they can be a tad misconstrued. 

Having beaten two sub-par passing offenses in the Indianapolis Colts (try saying that any other year) and the Miami Dolphins, Houston hasn’t faced a true challenge in the passing game.  This all changes this coming weekend, as Brees is surely more dangerous than the likes of Kerry Collins and Chad Henne.  The Texans get their first true test against the Saints on Sunday in the Superdome, and even without Colston, the New Orleans receiving corp should be a handful. Lance Moore

In Week Two, WR Lance Moore was hardly used, being targeted only four times and making one reception for six yards.  If the Saints decide to use him to his potential this week, then the Texans will have to keep an extra eye on the Saints’ receiving corp, freeing up the RBs out of the backfield and allowing Graham to burst off the line of scrimmage. 

The simple fact is this: the Texans were far-and-away the worst pass defense in the league in 2010 (4,280 total yards allowed, 267.5 yds/game given up, 33 TDs surrendered, and opposing QBs averaged a 100.5 QB rating against them). 

On Sunday, the Saints should give them flashbacks to last season.

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