December 7, 2009
Saints good 'n' luckyCapitalize on breaks to stay perfect
By KEN FIDLIN, SUN MEDIA
To get to 12-0 in the NFL you have to be good. As the New Orleans Saints have proven, you must also be lucky.
Three times yesterday against the Washington Redskins, they were down 10 points and three times they came back to tie before winning 33-30 in overtime to keep their perfect season alive.
Late in the fourth quarter, coming out of the two-minute warning, it appeared the Saints had run out of magic when the Redskins lined up for a late field goal that would have given Washington a 33-23 lead and sealed New Orleans' first loss of the year. It was a chip shot, from about extra-point distance but Washington's Shaun Suisham missed it.
"I believe in karma," Saints QB Drew Brees said. "We've been on the other side of this deal too many times and maybe it's out turn to start catching some breaks."
The Saints made the Skins pay immediately, Brees connecting with Robert Meacham on a 53-yard strike that tied the game.
In overtime, Washington had the ball first but when Mike Sellers fumbled and the Saints recovered on the Washington 39, it was all but over.
The teams combined for 918 yards of offence, including 775 passing yards and 53 first downs. The Redskins led 10-0, 27-17 and 30-20 at various points but Brees was relentless.
"The problem playing defence in that situation is it's hard to stop them when they're throwing on every down and (Brees) did a masterful job of getting them down field," Skins coach Jim Zorn said.
At Indianapolis, the Colts, also perfect, were anticipating a stiff test against the Titans and Vince Young, but the Colts never trailed. Only late in the game did Young seem to get into a rhythm but it was too little, too late to avoid a 27-17 loss.
Peyton Manning, et al, built a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter and took a 24-10 lead at halftime on their way to an NFL record 21st consecutive regular-season win.
"The guys appreciate (the record) but it's not something that goes to their heads," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said.
Swagger is gone
Maybe it's just dawning on the New England Patriots that they're not that good. The swagger is gone and with each passing week they're giving their opponents, especially those in the AFC East, reason for hope.
The Pats had plenty of chances yesterday to put the Dolphins away and dismiss them as a contender. Instead, Miami scored the final 12 points of the game in a 22-21 victory.
"When you lose, it's an awful feeling," QB Tom Brady said. "We're just not closing the game out when we have the opportunity.
"If things don't go your way, you have to fight back. At times we do and at other times I don't think we fight very hard."