Saints, Brees sail past Giants
NEW ORLEANS - Drew Brees and the surging New Orleans Saints made everything look easy against the slumping Giants.
Brees passed for 363 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score as New Orleans rolled to a 49-24 victory last night, extending New York’s losing skid to three games.
“There’s that confidence that players around him have, and obviously we have in him,’’ Saints coach Sean Payton said of Brees. “He made some fantastic throws tonight.’’
Tight end Jimmy Graham had five catches for 84 yards, including touchdowns of 5 and 29 yards. Brees’s two other scoring strikes went to Lance Moore, who had five catches for 54 yards.
“Can’t say enough about our team. Our coaches, offense, defense - it was a great team win tonight in every aspect,’’ Brees said.
This was a game New York was desperate to win after losing its previous two to San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Instead, the Giants (6-5) dropped a game behind first-place Dallas in the NFC East and face the possibility of a four-game losing streak when they play host to the unbeaten Green Bay Packers next weekend.
The Saints (8-3), meanwhile, maintained a one-game lead over Atlanta in the NFC South.
They also padded their rushing stats with 205 yards on the ground, including touchdown runs of 12 yards by Pierre Thomas and 35 yards by rookie Mark Ingram.
“Our guys came out sharp,’’ Payton said. “We had the balance we were looking for.’’
Marques Colston had three catches for 78 yards, all on the Saints’ 34-second, 88-yard touchdown drive late in the second quarter that gave New Orleans a 21-3 halftime lead. Colston’s longest reception went for 50 yards when he caught a pass along the left sideline, slipped a tackle, and raced up field.
The Giants took a beating on the scoreboard and on the field. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora went out with a sprained ankle and receiver Hakeem Nicks was rocked on a vicious hit by Saints rookie safety Isa Abdul-Quddus. Nicks stayed in the game despite bruised ribs.
New York already was missing two key players because of injuries: leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Mario Manningham.
Eli Manning completed 21 consecutive passes for the Giants - mostly after the outcome was decided. New York did not get into the end zone until Brandon Jacobs steamrolled safety Roman Harper on an 8-yard scoring run that made it 21-10 in the third quarter, but the Saints went right back down the field and scored on Brees’s 8-yard scramble.
After Giants running back Da’Rel Scott fumbled at his own 29, Brees connected with Graham, who rumbled down the left sideline and dove for the pylon for his second TD of the game.
The Saints never trailed, striking first early in the second quarter on Brees’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Moore, who snagged a quick throw on the right side and dove to stretch the ball across the goal line before he was tackled.
Back home in the Big Easy, Manning passed for 406 yards. He also was intercepted by linebacker Will Herring in the end zone on the team’s first series.