An undeniable truth became evident as the Drew Brees casually sauntered out of the pocket and outstretched the football over the pylon giving New Orleans a 34 point lead late in the 3rd quarter...
Same old Saints, they are not.
It was poetic, really. The first called pass of a 10 play, 94 yard drive that officially trampled whatever pride and competitive spirit remained in a Buffalo Bills team that got flat out emasculated in front of their own fans also ended up being, yet another, rushing touchdown.
The label was earned. Over the years, far too many seemingly winnable games would end up in the loss column because the Saints dependance on being a finesse football team would have them over passing their way into precarious situations when the environment turned hostile. That is, in part, what had most looking to a mid-November contest in the unforgiving weather of the Northeast to solidify their belief in a six-game win streak that seemed far too good to be true. In theory, the Bills - and more specifically, Buffalo - would prove to be a difficult matchup. In damn near flawless execution, that theory wasn't just dead wrong...it was wide right.
Simply put, it's time to scrub this team free of the label that they've spent over a decade incessantly rubbing into the very fabric of their being. Your 2017 New Orleans Saints still have one of the top passing attacks in the league, but they no longer live - or, more accurately - die by it. Prior to this season, a 184 yard effort with 0 touchdowns through the air from Drew Brees would signal inevitable defeat, but yesterday his so-so stats were a sign of sheer dominance. The argument can be made that they've actually been more impressive when the ball isn't in the hands of their future, first ballot 'Hall Of Fame' quarterback, which is mind blowing considering the chemistry that he's always had with Sean Payton. It's genuinely shocking how much of that can be credited to a renovated running game that boasts two of the league's most efficient, versatile backs in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, and has been able to withstand multiple injuries to the line tasked with opening holes for them.
What remains of that credit, of course, goes to the unit that has gifted the Saints the opportunity to control both the ball and the clock. Yesterday the Bills Mafia got whacked. The cause of death was strangulation, and the leading suspect was the Saints' defense. Tyrod Taylor had 56 yards passing before his yanking served as a white flag. LeSean McCoy was more ghostly than 'Shady' after starting off the game with a 36 yard run that accounted for all but 13 of his yards on the ground. It's time to declare it official, the annual forgone conclusion that New Orleans is a soft team made even more vulnerable by travel has become a myth. With nearly 300 rushing yards, 6 rushing TD's, and 47 unanswered points without a single punt, their legitimacy as a true contender that is built to win anywhere got stamped with the type of authority required to hold an NFL team to 66 total yards through 3.5 quarters...
Seven wins is unquestionably much better as a streak than it is as a season, and if they continue to play the way they played yesterday then there is no reason to think they won't be extending the former in short order. Expectations are no longer being tempered, and - with the entirety of the game no longer resting solely on Drew Brees' shoulder - they don't even feel like that heavy of a burden. They say that where there is a will there is a way, and the New Orleans Saints are currently imposing their will on everyone they play.
More important than the ridiculously one-sided football that was played yesterday, Daniel Lasco had movement in all extremities after leaving the field with a spine injury in an ambulance. Considering how frightening the following scene was, that's excellent news. Here's to hoping there are no complications and that he makes a full recovery...