Brees and Bush Lead the Way as Saints Slam Raiders 34-3

Campbell goes for a big gain
Interim Raiders coach Tom Cable had his debut ruined as his overmatched team met a powerful Saints offense hitting on all cylinders. Brees put on a phenomenal show, looking as if he could do whatever he wanted and Bush had two touchdowns for the second week in a row. Not to be overlooked was an improving New Orleans defense that held their opponent to less than 100 yards rushing for the fourth week in a row.

The Saints got the ball first, rushing Reggie Bush for 5 yards, then again for a loss of two, and throwing to TE Mark Campbell for 6 but short of the first down. New Orleans then punted from their 28 to Oakland’s Johnnie Lee Higgins, but a 35-yard return (his first of two for the day) moved the ball just 11 yards back. Oakland made it to the 6 yard line but the Saint’s defense showed up as S Roman Harper almost intercepted the ball in the end zone on third down, forcing their only score of the game: a field goal from 24 yards.

On the next possession, Saints QB Drew Brees made two big play throws to Reggie Bush and TE Mark Campbell to get the Saints inside the red zone, but two penalties against OT Jammal Brown for holding pushed the Saints back out. The team’s field goal woes continued as re-signed draft pick Taylor Mehlhaff missed his first field goal attempt when the ball sailed wide to the right from 30 yards.

The Saints took the lead on their third possession, going for 18 plays and almost 11 minutes. RB Deuce McAllister showed how important he is to an offense near the bottom of the league in rushing with two runs for 9 yards and another for 7 yards on the drive. Reggie Bush ran for 3 yards into the end zone to give the team its first touchdown of the day.

After the Raiders missed a 57-yard field goal, the Saints made it to Oakland’s 16 but two incompletions and a questionable intentional grounding penalty stopped their drive. Mehlhaff got a confidence boost after making his first field goal from 44 yards.

With 5 seconds left in the first half, Brees threw the ball 25 yards to TE Billy Miller but the clock ran out before the Saints could call a timeout and try for a field goal. The score at halftime was New Orleans 10, Oakland 3.

Predictably, the Saints continued to own the third quarter. After forcing the Raiders out early, the Saints drove down the field to set up an 8-yard touchdown pass to RB Aaron Stecker. After several chances to intercept the ball, the defense stepped up when CB Jason David intercepted the ball midway through the quarter. Two plays later, Reggie Bush caught a short pass to go 15 yards in for his second touchdown of the day. As the quarter ended, New Orleans was driving towards the end zone, which set up Mehlhaff’s second field goal from 33 yards out.

The Saints defense also helped by creating turnovers and limiting the Raiders on third down. After Bobby McCray sacked Russell and the Saints recovered the ensuing fumble, TE Mark Campbell made a 2-yard catch for the team’s fourth touchdown. The Raiders were also able to complete only 6 of their 16 third-down attempts.

Brees continued his outstanding season, showing that he is in the running for league MVP. He made his first 16 passes for 171 yards, which was a career high, and finished with 26 completions out of 30 attempts for 320 yards and three touchdowns. Playing no favorites, Brees threw to 9 different receivers in the game and had 196 yards in the first half alone.

Raiders QB Jamarcus Russell struggled in the game, making 13 out of 35 pass attempts for 159 yards. He was intercepted once and lost a fumble following a sack early in the fourth quarter.

K Sebastian Janikowski missed a 57-yard field goal attempt late in the first half that would have put the Raiders within one. He later tried a 59-yarder that also didn’t make it.

New Orleans improved its rushing game as they gave Oakland a heavy dose of Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. The Saints rushed for 122 yards, 65 by McAllister who averaged 5 yards per carry. Bush had 27 yards rushing and 40 receiving along with his two touchdowns.

Last Monday night, penalties were a major factor in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings and an area emphasized by the coaching staff during the week. After the two consecutive holding penalties by Jammal Brown in the first half, the Saints settled down and ended the game with just four penalties for 30 yards.

Injuries have also been a weak spot for New Orleans this season. Players out for the game included WR Marques Colston, TE Jeremy Shockey, rookie DT Sedrick Ellis, CB Aaron Glenn, WR David Patten, DT Antwan Lake, and S Kevin Kaesviharn. This past week, rookie CB Tracey Porter and K Martin Gramatica were placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons.

The Saints play the Panthers in Charlotte next week, who lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This will be their last game in the Superdome until November 24th and they will have a bye following the game in London against the Chargers the following week.

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