The Saints total yardage was 537 to 289 for Oakland. After having so much success on long, productive drives, the Saints pulled Brees in the second quarter. Maybe it was injuries to KC QB Matt Cassel and Patriots QB Tom Brady that had Payton spooked, or maybe Brees just proved he didn't need the planned two and a half quarters of playing time.
Brees was 14-17 for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked once when both Heath Evans and Mike Bell failed in succession to stop a blitzer up the middle. It was Mark Brunell who tossed two interceptions, one of which was a poorly advised duck into the end zone. It was a poor day for Brunell who had been steady and reliable so far. Joey Harrington threw a touchdown in late duty to Skyler Green, but we still feel that Brunell takes the #2 QB job.
QB Jamarcus Russell was sacked and hurried but otherwise connected on 12 of 18 passes for 153, a number of which were deep strikes into the heart of Saints defenses. Saint menace Jeff Garcia played late and also had decent success, scoring the Raiders' only points when Saints CB Danny Gorrer and S Pierson Prioleau whiffed on poor tackling attempts on WR Jonathan Holland.
So don't get your hopes up about back-to-back dominating performances in wins against the Texans or Raiders. But take what you can from these games. Here's what you can take from the Saints' victory in Oakland:
- QB Drew Brees is sharp and the offense is clicking.
- The Saints have shown an increased dedication to the run game in preseason. From the standpoint that it is an indication of Payton's playcalling this is meaningless, but from the standpoint that the Saints are having success in the run game, especially with the first team, is significant.
- The Saints are going to cause fumbles this year. In each game so far the defense has manufactured turnovers on the factory floor of the stripped football. The latest examples today were Pierson Prioleau ripping the ball away from WR Louis Murphy, and S Roman Harper slapping the ball from QB Jamarcus Russell.
- The Saints are going to give up big plays this year. Its going to happen. The Saints just don't have any truly great players in the secondary. There's a possibility that great players emerge, but the Saints have never been short on potential.
- WR Devery Henderson is really quite good and is only getting better. How fantastic is this wide receiver corps?
- The Saints are very thin at linebacker. Not sure there is a legit backup middle linebacker on this team.
- This Jermon Bushrod guy comes to play in games. Practice receivers have been less than perfect but in game he's looked capable.
- The Raiders are baaaad.