Winless Colts sink farther in 62-7 loss to Saints
NEW ORLEANS—Curtis Painter didn't look ready for the ball on a botched snap that set up the first of many scores for the New Orleans Saints.
Few of Painter's Indianapolis Colts teammates seemed ready to play, either.
The Colts were no match for Drew Brees and the Saints, giving up as many points as any team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 in a 62-7 loss to New Orleans on Sunday night.
"We just didn't play near well enough," Painter said. "We made a few too many mistakes in the beginning, and any time you're playing a team as good as them, they're going to make you pay. We just kind of got off to a rough start and you've got to credit them.
"Obviously, we need to work on some things. We are just going to have to keep working to get it straight."
Painter was only 9 of 17 for 67 yards and had an interception returned 42 yards for a touchdown by Leigh Torrence.
Running back Joseph Addai tried to return from a nagging hamstring injury but lasted only two series. His replacement, Delone Carter, carried 10 times for 89 yards and Indianapolis' long TD, but also fumbled.
For the seventh game this season, Colts star quarterback Peyton Manning was forced to watch because of a neck injury that has sidelined him all season.
As hard as it had to be for Manning to be a spectator in his return to his native New Orleans, it had to be even harder to see his team's mistake-prone performance. These Colts looked more like the bumbling Saints of old that his father, Archie, starred for three decades ago.
The winless Colts (0-7) are now guaranteed to have fewer than 10 victories in a season for the first time in nine years, and at this rate might not win many games at all.
The Colts had three turnovers, including two in the first quarter, and each led to a Saints touchdown.
"Honestly, I don't think we showed up to play," receiver Austin Collie said. "Our mindset could have been a whole lot better."
Drew Brees completed 31 of 35 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns, and the Saints set a franchise record for points and victory margin.
"I was real proud of how we played, how we handled the week of practice," said Saints coach Sean Payton, standing on crutches after the game because of a broken left leg. "We spent a lot of time during the week just talking about us beginning to play our best football, because we really felt while we were 4-2, we hadn't done that."
Payton had called offensive plays from the sidelines since he took his first head coaching job with New Orleans in 2006, but that changed after he was caught up in a tackle along the sideline during a loss at Tampa Bay last week and was injured. Payton had surgery last Monday and didn't attend a practice until Thursday.
Sitting high up in the Superdome for the game against the Colts, he had to like what he saw down below, where offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. called plays for the first time.
Brees had two touchdown passes to Marques Colston and one to Darren Sproles in the first quarter. His fourth and fifth touchdown tosses went to second-year tight end Jimmy Graham in the third quarter.
It seemed the Saints (5-2) could do whatever they wanted, also rushing for 236 yards.
Colts safety Antoine Bethea called his unit's performance "embarrassing."
"We just can't do that," he said. "I mean, 62 points against us?"
The Saints' point total tied the most in a game by any team since the AFL merged with the NFL in 1970.
The Saints previous franchise high for points in a game was 51 on three occasions and their largest previous victory margin was 42 over Denver in 1988.
"We had a great game plan. We played with a lot of confidence. Pete did a phenomenal job," Brees said. "It was just our night, one of those games that doesn't come along too often. ... We needed a win like this, especially after the past week and everything we've gone through."
Colston had seven catches for 98 yards.
Brees wasn't intercepted before he was replaced by Chase Daniel late in the third quarter, a move that prevented New Orleans' starting quarterback from extending his NFL record of four straight games with at least 350 yards passing.
Mark Ingram rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries but limped to the locker room early in the fourth quarter with what Payton said was a heel injury, adding that X-rays were negative. Sproles carried 12 times for 88 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown.
The Saints had 557 yards and a team-record 36 first downs.
"That team played better than we did in every area and we just got whooped across the board," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's one of those things that once you don't do the little things right, there is a lot of bad things that happen to you. Obviously, I have to take responsibility for our team and the way that they played."