Feeling at home

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:48 AM ET

SAN ANTONIO -- They came from New Orleans and San Antonio and places in between.

And whether they felt a deep allegiance to the home team or empathy for their plight, they made a difference in the Saints 19-7 win over the Buffalo Bills.

The first regular-season pro game to be played at the Alamodome since the CFL's Texans were in town for a cup of coffee in 1995, was by most accounts a resounding success.

When the Saints were introduced, the team's cheerleaders were joined on the field with 50 New Orleans evacuees of Hurricane Katrina.

When the Bills faced crucial third-down plays, the noise was loud enough to bang off the Alamodome walls and make life miserable for Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman.

The 58,688, some 6,000 short of a sellout, even provided a couple half-hearted attempts at the wave.

"It was touching really," Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie said. "It was electric out there. They were in it from the start all the way to the end."

Saints coach Jim Haslett joked afterwards that he "has to let that go," referring to the Saints first "home" game against the Giants at the Meadowlands.

With a record of 2-2 and the feeling of home, things are looking up for a team that won't be hard to support.

"It made me feel like I was back in New Orleans again," defensive end Charles Grant said. "That's what I think we really needed for us to get that spirit of New Orleans back."


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