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WELCOME BACK PARTY

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DATELINE: Scottsdale, AZ (Saints offense makes a U-Turn in the desert)

They were once lost but now they are found again.

Go figure the Saints offense found itself in the desert of all places?

And who would have thought they would rediscover their mojo  against the number one defense in the NFL?

It's been that kind of season for the black and gold--expect the unexpected.

Drew Brees can't throw any touchdown passes in consecutive weeks against the Lions or Bucs but then lights up the rough and tough Cardinals D for four touchdowns passes and no interceptions.

It's hard to figure this offense out.

Afterwards, the Saints O repeatedly said there was no magical meeting or special speech that got their groove back---it was just a group with a lot of pride determined to turn things around.

"We've been disappointed in the last two games just because it is not our standard," Brees said after his best performance in a month. "It wasn't anything earth-shattering this week. It wasn't like it was a wholesale change on anything. We just got back to our stuff, execution at a premium."

Their "stuff" would include a Welcome Back party on many fronts.

Welcome back the running game---the Saints are at their best when they boast balance and keep defenses guessing. 130 rushing yards was far better than the 48 they have been averaging the past two weeks.

Welcome back Brandin Cooks---the speedy Saint scored his first touchdown in a month and for good measure found the endzone twice with a season high 186 receiving yards.

Welcome back Michael Thomas whose seven receptions and a score gives him as many TD's and more catches than some guy named Marques Colston had in his rookie season and we all know how that career turned out.

But the biggest welcome back invite was dished out to Brees who after a MVP like start delivered the Who Dat Nation an unprecedented two week stretch with no touchdown passes and six interceptions.

Entering this game Saints wide receiver Willie Snead had more touchdowns passes than Brees in the past NINE quarters of football...?

Let that sink in for a minute.

"Yeah, it's good for him," Sean Payton acknowledged about his quarterback. " It was good for the coach too. Listen, it's frustrating to have two games where we don't do enough good things."

That's an understatement.

"I'd say we would like to be more consistent and more steady," Brees said. "I think it says a lot about our group the way we were able to respond today on the road against the number one defense and put together a great peformance and a great win."

But it remains a mystery why the drop off when the playoff stakes were at its pinnacle?

The Saints now have a chance to avoid a losing record by winning their last two games.

If this offense shows up they may have  a chance.

Welcome Back.

WHO DAT HITS

INGRAM ERUPTS: With the game in hand Mark Ingram let Sean Payton have it on the sidelines in the fourth quarter when the Saints Head Coach let Tim Hightower finish the drive with a score. Ingram looked childish but owned it afterwards, "I'm really competitive in everything I do," Ingram said of the sideline argument. "I got to be smarter, I got to control emotions better."            

HIGHTOWER'S HOMECOMING: While Mark was unhappy, Tim Hightower enjoyed his return to his ole Cardinal stomping grounds. After playing his first three years here in Arizona where he didn't miss a game and scored 10 times as a rookie, Hightower returned to score a pair of touchdowns but didn't see it as a homecoming more of a business trip " We are just happy to pick up a win," he said afterwards.                        

COOKS' CLUB: Despite not seeing a lot of catches, Brandin Cooks surpassed the 1,000 yard receiving milestone for the second straight year---the first Saints wideout to do it since Marques Colston pulled it off in 2009 & 2010.

NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT... You want to read a great sports book, check out Fox's Lead Play by Play announcer Joe Buck's latest offering, "Lucky Bastard,"

Buck doesn't hold back with candid thoughts on his many critics on Social Media and how it has affected his remarkably successful career.
In addition, you'll discover stories about Buck being scared of losing his voice (and his hair) he alsio gives us a very human look at his rise to being the rare national voice of both the NFL and MLB.

A lot of candor in this refreshing read from both arenas where I give Buck credit for putting himself out there where you get the feeling writing this book was therapeutic for him.

It was enjoyable for me--one of the best sports books I've read in some time.

UNTIL NEXT BLOG,
Mike Nabors
@mikenabors
CST

Mike Nabors's photo

By: Mike Nabors

An Emmy award winning sports reporter who covers a wide variety of events for CST. Primarily, Mike serves as the network's reporter for Saints coverage.

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