AFR: Fazende's 4-Point Stance

As my sportswriter friends would say, it's time to empty out the notebook on the week that was for the Saints.

We call it the 'Four-Point Stance.'

1.)   Time Flies

If it seemed like the Saints victory over the Vikings went by fast, that's because it did. Sunday's game didn't even last three hours inside the Dome; it ran only 2:47. That's easily the shortest game of the season.

Credit the lack the turnovers by either team, not a single challenge by either team and just nine total penalties as reasons for the fast-pace. It also helped that both teams combined for 54 rushing attempts.

2.) Sunday Night Success

It's been brought up often this week that Saints coach Sean Payton has never lost a Sunday night game. But in his previous seven wins on the sideline, only two of those came on the road. In 2006, the Saints beat the Cowboys 42-17. In 2007, they traveled to Seattle and won 28-17. Sunday in Dallas will be Payton's third road Sunday night game.

3.) Steady Stills

It may not seem like a lot, but quietly Kenny Stills has had a nice start to the season.  In two games, he has seven catches for 63 yards. But of those seven, five went for first downs and two of those five came on third downs.

4.) Debunking the Deep Ball Myth

For the most overblown storyline of the week we debunk the Saints' perceived deep ball deficiency. This has always been one of my pet peeves when people analyze the Saints' offense. Contrary to popular belief, if you really study Drew Brees' passes, the traditional deep ball or '9' route is NOT Brees' best throw. The Saints' get the bulk of their big plays on seem routes to Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston and on screen passes to Pierre Thomas. While the deep ball is in the arsenal, it hasn't been their most potent weapon over the years.

Plus, the biggest criticism of the Saints offense over the years has been their inability to run the football. This year they can and they've used it often. Thus, the big play shots have been toned down for a more ball-control style of attack. In the last two games the Saints have six touchdowns. Those scores came on drives of: 57, 80, 80, 82, 85 and 90 yards respectively, with a heavy mix of run and pass.

The deep ball is not dead. It's just that the run game is alive and well.