The Saints keep on rolling with their sixth straight win. They're now 11-3 and are playing their best football of the season.
Oh, and Drew Brees is awesome.
Let's break it all down.
Feeling the Brees
Just another day at the office for Drew Brees.
Superb doesn't give what Brees has done this season any justice. And amazingly he's on pace to shatter all-time passing records and done so UNDER THE RADAR.
How this has happened, I have no idea.
Well, now it's about time he gets his due.
Brees was simply magnificent Sunday and finished 32-40, 412 yards and five touchdowns against the Vikings and did it all in basically three quarters of play.
Brees absolutely shredded the Vikings soft zone, cover 2 defense as he fluidly worked his reads on every play and connected with nine different receivers. Six of those receivers caught at least two passes.
He was also near flawless on the game's most critical down. On 3rd downs Brees was 7-8, 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Brees has that ultra-confident, dialed-in look in his eye and is playing the best football of his career. Yes, better than he played 2009, and the Saints would be foolish to let this guy go anywhere near free agency.
Can you say MVP?
Can you say highest-paid player in NFL history?
Where the Game was Won
While the Saints clearly dominated the entire game, the third quarter was really where they put the game away.
In the quarter they ran 25 plays to the Vikings' nine and out gained Minnesota 182-10 in total yards.
When the quarter began the score was 21-13, by the time it ended it was 35-13 and completely out of reach. Once the Saints finished off their 19-play 87-yard10:36 drive (which stretched over the 3rd&4th quarter) the score was 42-13. That's when Brees took a seat and watched backup Chase Daniel take over.
Tough stretch for Jed Collins. Five penalties in two games won't sit well with the coaches. On Sunday, his two penalties negated a touchdown catch by Robert Meachem and a 13-yard gain by Pierre Thomas.
It definitely appeared early on the crowd noise was affecting the Saints. On the Saints second fumble, Brian De La Puente must've thought he heard Brees calling for the ball while he appeared to just be changing the play. Plus, early in the second quarter Jermon Bushrod jumped so early on a false start, he had to have been rattled by the crowd noise.
Speaking of that fumble, how about that tackle by Brees on Everson Griffin? That's a 273-pound defensive end and it saved a touchdown.
The Saints are without question the best screen team in the NFL. On Sunday they ran four screens that yielded gains of: 25, 39, 16 and 18 yards. It seemed every time the Saints dialed up the screen they caught the Vikings blitzing which allowed the big gains.
If Darren Sproles' touchdown catch looked familiar, it should have. That was the exact same play Reggie Bush ran in the Monday night game vs. San Francisco last year.
Although it almost worked, I didn't think the ambush onside kick in the 2nd quarter was necessary. At that point in the game the only reason Minnesota was even in the game was the horrendous field position the Saints put them in. The defense stuffed them each time on short fields that led to field goals. By pinning them back deep, I don't think the Vikings could've executed a drive. As it turned out, Minnesota scored their first touchdown on that drive.
With four touches for just seven yards, the Saints made it clear they were not going to let Percy Harvin beat them.
Another admirable job on an elite running back by the Saints defense. Adrian Peterson rushed 10 times for 60 yards but really only had one big impact run of 39 yards.
The Saints were 8-11 on third downs. Unreal.
He may not want to hear this, but Roman Harper's personal foul call on Christian Ponder was a reputation flag. Had that been Malcolm Jenkins or Jonathan Vilma nothing would have been called but because Harper is getting nasty rep for late hits around the league, he got popped on a very questionable call.
All he does is catch 1st downs. Marques Colston had eight receptions Sunday. Six of those resulted in first downs for the Saints.
Pierre Thomas is as steady a professional as you are going to find. He is the veteran of the running back room and has seen his touches diminish, but you'll never hear him complain about it. In fact, he makes the most of his opportunities. Over the last three games Thomas has 30 offensive touches for 163 yards and one touchdown. That's an average of 5.4 yards per touch. PT-23 is solid as a rock.
Although it was the last play of the game, cornerback Patrick Robinson now leads the team with three interceptions.
To Lance Moore: what was that in the end zone?
Classy move by Brees to get John Gilmore a touchdown. Jimmy Graham was open too on that play but it's important to get some of his blue-collar guys some love. It reminded me of the pass he threw to Darnell Dinkins against the New England Patriots back in 2009.
I expect a post-Christmas battle in Big Easy Monday Night against Atlanta, but the Saints will win.