Following the New Orleans Saints 31-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, I was happy to see the Saints improve 3-0 on the season and to see their position atop the NFC South further solidified. Drew Brees was in in great form as he threw for three touchdowns and ran in another by himself in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. Equally impressive through the day, however, was Rob Ryan’s defense and their overall effort.
Ryan’s defense limited the Cardinals to just 84 yards and one touchdown on 16 attempts. The Saints defense also limited Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer to just 18 out of 35 passing for a 51 percent completion rate and just 187 yards. Rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro also reeled in his first career interception in the NFL and cornerback Keenan Lewis also contributed one pick as well.
More important, however, is the fact that New Orleans was able to get to and pressure Palmer consistently throughout the day. Palmer was sacked four times in the game, twice by defensive end Cameron Jordan. The Saints defense was also able to get to and hit Palmer a total of nine times Sunday afternoon, further adding to his and the Cardinals troubles.
This is great news for a team whose offense had been a bit shaky in the first two games, and had trouble getting all of the cylinders to fire. As long as the defensive side of the ball isn’t plagued by any huge injuries as the season continues to play out, there is no reason to think that the Saints and their defense won’t continue to improve. Should that be the case, the Saints could continue their winning streak for several more weeks and prove to be a tough playoff contender.