2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Payton encouraged by Saints' ability run the ball

By Guerry Smith - Associated Press
    2013-11-18 16:47

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - The New Orleans Saints are establishing themselves as a complete team entering the stretch run.

Despite a 6-2 start, the knock on the Saints has been their inability to run or stop the run. They have answered that challenge in the last two weeks, beating Dallas behind a dominant ground game and rallying past San Francisco by slowing down running back Frank Gore while containing the scrambles of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

San Francisco had outrushed New Orleans by the combined total of 287-96 in the 2011 divisional round of the NFC playoffs and the 2012 regular season, but the Saints had a 92-81 rushing edge in their 23-20 win.

''What was encouraging was we were able to create those third downs that we felt were favorable (defensively), and conversely we were able to run the ball,'' Saints coach Sean Payton said Monday. ''In both those areas it was against a real good 49ers front. Ultimately, those two goals were probably the most important keys to winning that game, and we achieved both of them.''

New Orleans was near the bottom of the NFL in rushing before gaining a season-high 242 yards against Dallas. After getting fewer than 3.0 yards per carry in the two losses to the 49ers, the Saints averaged 4.0 yards on Sunday.

The Saints were tied for last in average per carry allowed (5.0) entering the San Francisco game. The 49ers were the league's fourth-leading rushing team.

Yet, Gore finished with only 48 yards on 13 carries. Kaepernick ran three times for 25 yards.

Stopping the run ''was something we put on our shoulders,'' defensive end Cameron Jordan said. ''We knew it was going to be a physical game. We were ready for that. Clearly, we prepared very well for it and we got the job done.''

Add those ingredients to quarterback Drew Brees' prolific numbers along with an improved pass rush, and the Saints (8-2), like their position heading into a Thursday night game against Atlanta. New Orleans trails Seattle by 1 1/2 games for the best record in the NFC.

Brees is second to Denver's Payton Manning in passing yards (3,369) and touchdowns (26). New Orleans sacked Kaepernick three times, increasing its season total to 32, two more than in all of 2012.

Getting past defending NFC champions San Francisco was a significant mental boost in itself. Payton revved up the crowd by pumping his arms repeatedly to ask for noise as the 49ers approached the line with 2:01 left. The Saints celebrated more than usual when Garrett Hartley kicked the winning field goal on the final play.

''They had beaten us two years in a row, and we just wanted to prove something to ourselves,'' wide receiver Robert Meachem said. ''We had to get over that hump, and I felt like beating those guys kind of helped us get over that hump.''

The only negative for the Saints was losing starting cornerback Jabari Greer in the first quarter to a significant left-knee injury.

Greer, a 10-year veteran who has started for the Saints since arriving from Buffalo in 2009, was taken off the field on a cart and transported to a local hospital. Second-year pro Corey White replaced him.

Payton said he would wait until Tuesday to provide specifics on Greer, but his words weren't positive.

''We're just kind of keeping our fingers crossed with him,'' Payton said. ''It's always difficult when someone like Jabari who has been with us and been a staple of what we've done defensively goes down with an injury like he's sustained.''

Meachem, who said he saw Greer in the locker room on Monday morning, did not sound optimistic, either.

''That was a tough one,'' Meachem said. ''You kind of saw it, but you didn't really know if it was that bad. Seeing how he is today, (we are) knowing things are going to be a little different around here.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dane FletcherMay 27 02:33a

Free-agent LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) has returned to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

Devonta FreemanMay 26 09:53p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman worked with the first-team offense during organized team activities Tuesday, May 26.

Charles SimsMay 26 05:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims has a solid chance of beating out RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay's starting running back gig, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

A.J. JenkinsMay 26 01:02p

Free-agent WR A.J. Jenkins (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, May 26, according to a source. Jenkins was the 30th overall pick by the San [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 26 08:43a

Updating an ongoing story, the Dallas Cowboys have moved on from the idea of trading for Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, despite persistent rumors, according to The Dallas Morning [ More ]

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group