NEW ORLEANS -- The initial temptation when you see so many Saints coming free in the Patriots secondary, and so many New England defenders frazzled and off-balance, is to think that Sean Payton and Co. had some sort of special binder marked "Week 11" on it that hadn't been opened before this week.
But if you ask the players, there really wasn't anything out-of-the-ordinary that the Saints offense pulled on the Patriots. Bill Belichick intimated that his guys weren't caught off-guard by New Orleans, and the Saints seconded that.
"They’ve seen 10 of our games," said tight end Jeremy Shockey. "We just executed, and we didn’t turn over the ball and we got the momentum, made some big plays, they made some bad plays and they lost momentum. Any time that happens, it’s very hard to come back."
Before the game, Marshall Faulk -- having seen how Belichick game-plans this type of explosive offense -- told me that he felt like the Patriots would try to take away Shockey and Marques Colston.
Colston was held to one catch and 6 yards in the first half, before blowing up after the break. Shockey had just one catch for 15 yards the entire game. Trouble was, when the Patriots took away the Saints' right, the Saints simply beat the crap out of them with their left, so to speak.
"They had a good gameplan coming in," Shockey said. "Like I said, there’s just so many (bleeping) weapons. You gonna guard this guy one time, leave this guy alone? You got Meachem, you got Colston, you got Devery, you got great players. And as we’re running the ball harder, it’s tough to stop."