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

Doug BaldwinNov 25 07:43p

Seattle Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Tyrod TaylorNov 25 07:23p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) said he will play in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Malcom FloydNov 25 06:53p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hip) and WR Malcom Floyd (shoulder) were limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Case KeenumNov 25 06:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Case Keenum (concussion) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Dexter McClusterNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans RB Dexter McCluster (knee) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Kendall WrightNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Mark IngramNov 25 06:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram's (shoulder) injury isn't expected to be a major concern after resting last week during the bye. It's unclear, however, if his shoulder injury [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 25 06:23p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney) is confident that he will play again this year, but a timetable for his return at this point is tough to gauge. [ More ]

Leonard HankersonNov 25 06:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) is still bothered by a hamstring strain, and the Falcons may continue to take their time with his injury. Hankerson previously missed two [ More ]

A. Seferian-JenkinsNov 25 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 05:53p

St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) is out of surgery and will be in an intensive care unit for 3-5 days. Doctors are hopeful he will make a successful recovery.

Danny AmendolaNov 25 04:43p

New England Patriots WRs Julian Edelman (foot), Danny Amendola (knee) and Aaron Dobson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Glenn DorseyNov 25 04:33p

San Francisco 49ers DT Glenn Dorsey (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25, after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 11.

Marshawn LynchNov 25 03:53p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) will return in three to four weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, but he could be [ More ]

Matt ForteNov 25 03:33p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) and WR Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) are both listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26.

John BrownNov 25 03:13p

Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Martellus BennettNov 25 02:53p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) has been ruled out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Michael FloydNov 25 02:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Emmanuel SandersNov 25 02:23p

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Charcandrick WestNov 25 02:03p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Charcandrick West (hamstring) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Johnny ManzielNov 25 01:33p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's tenure with the Browns may not be over, according to head coach Mike Pettine. 'I certainly hope not,' Pettine said, when asked if Manziel [ More ]

Marshawn LynchNov 25 01:23p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) underwent successful sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to a source. The hope is that Lynch can return in late December.

Christian PonderNov 25 01:03p

Updating a previous item, free-agent QB Christian Ponder (Raiders) signed with the Denver Broncos Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to a source. Ponder will start out as the team's No. [ More ]

Zach ErtzNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (concussion) is officially out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Ryan MathewsNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (concussion) is officially out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Sam BradfordNov 25 12:53p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) is a long shot to play Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Detroit Lions. He practiced fully Wednesday, Nov. 25, and is questionable for Week 12.

Tyrod TaylorNov 25 12:43p

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) is feeling better and likely to play in Week 12, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'I think Tyrod is going to play,' [ More ]

Devonta FreemanNov 25 12:33p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is still in the first phase of the concussion protocol and won't practice Wednesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Marcus ThigpenNov 25 12:23p

Buffalo Bills RB Dan Herron and WR Denarius Moore were cut Wednesday, Nov. 25. WR Marcus Thigpen was re-signed by the Bills.

Christian PonderNov 25 12:23p

Free-agent QB Christian Ponder (Raiders) will sign with the Denver Broncos, according to a source. He'll be the No. 3 quarterback.

Frank GoreNov 25 11:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Frank Gore (knee) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Joseph RandleNov 25 10:43a

Free-agent RB Joseph Randle (Cowboys) was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 24, in a Kansas casino on charges including felony criminal threats, misdemeanor assault of a law enforcement officer, interference with [ More ]

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