NEW ORLEANS â€“ Everything seemed to be in concert for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Offense, defense and special teams, each unit performed in sweet harmony.
Even country music singer and songwriter Kenny Chesney got to visit with injured Saints Coach Sean Payton in the coach's booth during halftime of the unexpected laugher between the NFC South-leading Saints (5-2) and winless Indianapolis Colts (0-7).
It was that one sided for the Black and Gold, who thrashed the hapless Colts 62-7 before a sellout crowd of 73,012, many of whom headed for the exits midway through the third quarter, and a national TV audience that perhaps switched to the fourth game of the World Series by halftime.
Two words â€“ "pathetic'' and "embarrassing'' â€“ describe theÂ current Colts roster, causing this inquiring soul to ask: How in the world can this once-proud NFL franchise fall from power so quickly with club President Bill Polian at the helm and Jim Caldwell on the sideline?
Additionally, why haven't Polian and owner Jimmy Irsay properly addressed the backup quarterback position? After all, Peyton Manning is 35 going on sudden retirement next season if his neck problems persist.Â Reserves Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins and Dan Orlovsky aren't the answers,Â individually or collectively, now or in the future.
They merely are band-aids, there to stop the bleeding temporarily but not heal the long-term problem.
Only 23 regular-season games ago, the Colts were playing the Saints for the world championship in Super Bowl XLIV in south Florida.
Granted, the Colts desperately are missingÂ Manning, who one day will be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But his absence from under center doesn't come close to explaining Sunday night's 60-minute fiasco.
It certainly doesn't explain how the Saints managed to score with ease a franchise record 62 points, eclipsing their previous high of 51 set on three different occasions. Or their winning margin of 55 points, which also is a franchise benchmark.
Truth be told, it could have been a wider spread if Payton had not called off the hounds and yanked quarterback Drew Brees late in the third quarter.
As it were, Brees had a field day for nearly 45 minutes, completing 31 of 35 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns for a dazzling 144.9 passer rating. Other highlights include:
-- Â The offense amassed 557 yards, including a season-high 236 yards rushing.
-- Â Running back/return specialist Darren Sproles accounted for 190 all-purpose yards on 24 touches and scored two touchdowns
-- The defense nearly equaled its number of takeaways through the first six games (4), coming up with three that ultimately led to 21 points. Cornerback Leigh Torrence was responsible for one TD, bobbing and weaving 42 yards with an interception early in the fourth quarter to cap off the night's scoring.
-- Â Special teams provided two field goals, yielded just 31 return yards and limited Indy's average starting field position to its 20-yard line.
It was a total group effort.
In fact, Payton didn't call one play from his perch high above the playing field in the newly-named Superdome. He turned over that responsibility to Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael, who seemed quite adept in the role and received a game ball as his just reward.
Nothing against Pete Carmichael: I'm sure he's a fine coach and a skilled play-caller in his own right. But imagine the final score if Payton, who is considered one of the game's brilliant offensive minds, had dialed up the plays.
As it were the 62 points tied a league record for most points scored in one game since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Would 75 points, with Brees on the field in the fourth quarter, have been out of the realm of possibility against that Colts' defense?
You tell me.
Now, it's back on the road against the winless St. Louis Rams (0-6), who were pulverized 34-7 by the schizophrenic Dallas Cowboys. An unheralded rookie running back by the name of DeMarco Murray ran for a franchise-record 253 yards against the Rams, including a 91-yard scoring jaunt.
As the adage goes, records are meant to be broken.
Do I hear 63?
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