12th Man? How about 76,000 strong... Saints do their best work in The Dome

Posted by GARY ESTWICK on September 7, 2012 

Brees says 2012 Saints has "potential to be" best team he's played on

Here's what the Redskins are walking into Sunday: The Superdome, where last season the Saints averaged 41.1 points a game, setting an NFL record.

That's 329 points in eight regular-season games. Let's put that in perspective - the 2011 Redskins scored 288 points all season, in 16 games. The St. Louis Rams? Just 193 points, the lowest in the league.

The Saints' scoring barrage at home last season was actually higher than 12 NFL teams' total scoring for 2011.

Meanwhile, here's Washington's defensive effort last season. 

Points allowed in 1st quarter: 75

Points allowed in 2nd quarter: 90

Points allowed in 3rd quarter: 73

Points allowed in 4th quarter: 126

Total: 367 (By comparison, the Saints defense allowed 339 points last season, the most coming in the second quarter - 113 points.

If you're a Redskins fan, this might be a good time to click off this blog. It's only going to get worse. Well, it could be a way to prepare you mentally and emotionally for Sunday...

Anyway, interim coach Aaron Kromer was asked Thursday if the Saints can replicate last season's scoring effort. He said at least part of it will depend on your guys in Saints Land. 

"The crowd is so loud in the Dome that it is hard for opposing offenses to have success," Kromer said "The defense causes turnovers, maybe by an offensive lineman being late off (the ball) or a blitz pickup not being communicated because of the noise. 

"You can’t underestimate how loud it is in there, in the Dome, and how crazy our fans are. It is really an asset to the team. So, they get the ball back for us, we get it one or two more times at a home game because of it and it allows us one more chances to score."

Yeah, and it doesn't help to have perhaps the most athletic tight end in the game in Black & Gold (Jimmy Graham), or the smallest and perhaps shiftiest running back in Darres Sproles, and of course, a quarterback intent on maximizing every ounce of ability out of himself and the guys around him (Drew Brees).

It's an offense which converts on third downs - since 2006, the Saints have converted 48.4 percent of their third downs. Last year, the percentage was 56.7. San Diego was second at 48.8 percent.

And when Saints skilled players get the ball, they know what to do with it. As a unit, the  players ranked second last season in yards after the catch (2,534), a favorite stat of Stat Guys. Only New England (2,704) was better.

Did I mention the protection in front of Brees?

Here's a guy who on Sundays, keeps his jersey clean, thanks to his linemen left tackle Jermon Bushrod, center Brian de la Puente, right guard Jahri Evans, right tackle Zach Strief and newcomer Ben Grubbs, a guard. In 16 games, Brees was sacked just 24 times. When you remember the Saints ran so many more offensive plays than other teams, that statistic's impact grows.  

Asked if the 2012 Saints is the most talented team he has been a part of, Brees said it "has the potential to be."

"It was so competitive at so many different positions with guys vying for a spot on this team and it’s a reason why we took five running backs," Brees said. "This guy (Travaris Cadet) can play... We find a way to keep this guy, even though it’s a little bit unusual."

 

 

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