Rahul Sharma (Editor)

2009 New Orleans Saints season

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Record  13–3
Head coach  Sean Payton
General manager  Mickey Loomis
Home field  Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Division place  1st NFC South
Start date  2009
Owner  Tom Benson
2009 New Orleans Saints season httpsiytimgcomvi13pREARQtD0hqdefaultjpg

Playoff finish  Won Divisional Playoffs (Cardinals) 45–14 Won NFC Championship (Vikings) 31–28 (OT) Won Super Bowl XLIV (Colts) 31–17
Pro Bowlers  Drew Brees (QB) Jahri Evans (OG) Jonathan Goodwin (C) Roman Harper (SS) Darren Sharper (FS) Jon Stinchcomb (OT) Jonathan Vilma (LB)
AP All-Pros  Jahri Evans (1st team) Darren Sharper (1st team) Drew Brees (2nd team)
Similar  2009 NFL season, 2007 New York Giants season, 2011 New York Giants season, 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers s, 1998 Denver Broncos s

The 2009 New Orleans Saints season was the franchise's 43rd season in the National Football League (NFL). It was the most successful season in franchise history, culminating with a victory in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints recorded a franchise record 13 regular season victories (later tied in the 2011 season), an improvement on their 8–8 record and fourth-place finish in the National Football Conference (NFC)'s southern division from 2008. As a result, the Saints advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. For head coach Sean Payton, this was his fourth season with the franchise, commanding a club overall record of 36–24.


With a victory over the Carolina Panthers on November 8, the Saints jumped out to an 8–0 start, the best in franchise history. They would go on to set the record for the longest undefeated season opening (13–0) by an NFC team since the AFL–NFL merger, eclipsing the previous record (12–0) held by the 1985 Chicago Bears. This record has since been tied by the 2011 Green Bay Packers and surpassed by the 2015 Carolina Panthers. Although losing the last three games of the season to finish 13–3, the team clinched a playoff berth, a first-round bye and—for the first time ever—the top seed in the NFC. The Saints defeated the defending NFC Champions Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Divisional playoffs, and proceeded to host the NFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history. There, they defeated Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in overtime, then went on to face the Indianapolis Colts at Super Bowl XLIV in the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl appearance. The Saints won the Super Bowl 31-17, giving the city of New Orleans its first world championship. The Saints are the first team to defeat three former Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in a row in the playoffs to win the Super Bowl. The Saints, along with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are the only teams to go to one Super Bowl and win it.

Although five Saints were elected to the Pro Bowl (with two others added as injury replacements), since the game was held one week prior to Super Bowl XLIV, they did not participate.

Staff changes

  • Bill Johnson was named the defensive line coach.
  • Gary Gibbs was replaced by Gregg Williams as the defensive coordinator on January 15, 2009 after Gibbs was released on January 7, 2009.
  • On January 12, 2009, Pete Carmichael, Jr. replaced Doug Marrone as the offensive coordinator after Marrone had resigned from his position in December 2008; Aaron Kromer was named the offensive line coach/running game, and as a result, Bret Ingalls replaced him as the running backs coach; Joe Lombardi was named the quarterbacks coach.
  • Schedule

    The Saints' regular season schedule was released on April 14, 2009.

    Week 1: vs. Detroit Lions

    The Saints began their season with a Week 1 duel with the Detroit Lions. New Orleans would get off to a fast start in the first quarter as quarterback Drew Brees completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marques Colston and a 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Robert Meachem. The Lions would answer with kicker Jason Hanson getting a 47-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Detroit came closer as running back Kevin Smith got a 4-yard touchdown run. The Saints would reply with Brees completing a 1-yard and a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey.

    The Lions tried to catch up in the third quarter as quarterback Matthew Stafford got a 1-yard touchdown run, yet New Orleans answered with kicker John Carney making a 39-yard field goal. Detroit would respond with Hanson nailing a 24-yard field goal, while the Saints kept pounding away as Brees completed a 58-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Devery Henderson. The Lions would close out the period with safety Louis Delmas returning a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, New Orleans closed out the game as Brees completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to fullback Heath Evans.

    With the win, not only did the Saints begin their season at 1–0, but Brees (26-of-34, 358 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT) became the very first quarterback to throw 6 TD passes in an opening day game, as well as tying Billy Kilmer's franchise record for touchdown passes in a game.

    Week 2: at Philadelphia Eagles

    Coming off their win over the Lions, the Saints flew to Lincoln Financial Field for a Week 2 duel with the Philadelphia Eagles. In the first quarter, New Orleans drew first blood as quarterback Drew Brees completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marques Colston. The Eagles answered with quarterback Kevin Kolb (in his first start as the Eagles' quarterback) completing a 71-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson, yet the Saints replied with kicker John Carney making a 23-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Philadelphia tied the game as kicker David Akers got a 23-yard field goal. New Orleans answered with Brees completing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Colston. The Eagles closed out the half as Akers made a 32-yard field goal.

    In the third quarter, the Saints began to take command as Brees completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to fullback Heath Evans, along with running back Mike Bell getting a 7-yard touchdown run and Carney nailing a 25-yard field goal. The Eagles answered with Kolb completing a 3-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jason Avant. In the fourth quarter, New Orleans kept up its domination as running back Reggie Bush got a 19-yard touchdown. Philadelphia drove to the Saints' 5-yard line but could not score and the drive ended on downs; the Saints were then unable to move the ball, and rather than punting out of their own end zone, they opted to have Brees throw the ball out of the end zone for an intentional safety. After the ensuing free kick, the Eagles again drove deep into Saints territory, but again failed to score, as Kolb threw an interception which safety Darren Sharper returned 97 yards for a touchdown.

    With the win, the Saints improved to 2–0.

    Week 3: at Buffalo Bills

    Coming off their win over the Eagles, the Saints flew to Ralph Wilson Stadium for a Week 3 interconference duel with the Buffalo Bills. New Orleans would make an immediate impact in the first quarter with running back Lynell Hamilton's 1-yard touchdown run. The Bills would answer in the second quarter when a fake field goal attempt, punter Brian Moorman would complete a 25-yard touchdown pass to defensive end Ryan Denney. The Saints would close out the half with kicker John Carney's 27-yard field goal. After a scoreless third quarter, New Orleans would take control in the fourth quarter with running back Pierre Thomas' 34-yard touchdown run, Carney's 35-yard field goal, and Thomas' 19-yard touchdown run.

    With the win, the Saints improved to 3–0.

    Week 4: vs. New York Jets

    Coming off their road win over the Bills, the Saints went home for a Week 4 interconference duel with the New York Jets. New Orleans would deliver the game's first points as kicker John Carney got a 34-yard field goal. In the second quarter, the defense went to work. Safety Darren Sharper would return an interception 99 yards for a touchdown, followed by defensive end Will Smith forcing an endzone fumble by sacking Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, which allowed defensive tackle Remi Ayodele to land on the ball for a touchdown. Afterwards, New York closed out the half with kicker Jay Feely's 38-yard field goal.

    The Jets would begin a comeback attempt in the third quarter with running back Thomas Jones getting a 15-yard touchdown run. Afterwards, the Saints would close out the game with running back Pierre Thomas' 1-yard touchdown and the defense making an impressive stand.

    With the win, New Orleans would enter its bye week at 4–0.

    Week 6: vs. New York Giants

    "Saints keep Giants off balance: The Saints completely dismantled the Giants by showcasing a versatile passing game out of multiple formations and personnel groupings. New Orleans' ability to routinely switch from conventional two-back sets to three- and four-receiver formations kept New York off balanced. It also enabled Drew Brees to attack a defense that was sitting back in conventional coverage. With the Giants playing a heavy amount of two-deep zone, Brees repeatedly attacked the middle of the field with seams and deep crosses. The Giants' underneath defenders were unable to disrupt the timing or release of the receivers' routes, which allowed Brees to routinely find an open target in the zone. Brees capitalized on the Giants' tactical error, and the Saints topped the 40-point mark for the third time this season as a result."

    Coming off their bye week, the Saints stayed at home for a huge Week 6 game in a "Battle of The Unbeatens" against the New York Giants. New Orleans' offense would roar out of the gates in the first quarter with running back Mike Bell's 2-yard touchdown run on a 4th-down-conversion and quarterback Drew Brees' 1-yard touchdown pass to former Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey. New York would then close out the opening quarter with a 49-yard field goal from kicker Lawrence Tynes, with the Saints leading 14–3. The Saints' high-powered offense continued to heat up in the second quarter as Brees completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Robert Meachem, being called a "Week 6 Can't-Miss Play." The Giants would try to keep up as running back Ahmad Bradshaw got a 10-yard touchdown run, yet New Orleans answered with Brees hooking up with wide receiver Lance Moore on a 12-yard touchdown pass. New York tried to catch up yet continued to stay persistent as quarterback Eli Manning completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mario Manningham, yet the Saints closed out the half with a 7-yard touchdown run from running back Reggie Bush. The Saints now led 34–17, with the point deficit being at 17 points. The Saints had over 300 yards of total offense, with 5 offensive touchdowns, with 2 TD runs by Mike Bell and Reggie Bush, and 3 TD passes from Drew Brees to Jeremy Shockey, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore.

    New Orleans would solidify its lead in the third quarter with Brees finding wide receiver Marques Colston on a 12-yard touchdown pass. The Giants opened the fourth quarter with Tynes booting a 38-yard field goal, yet the Saints ended its dominating run with fullback Heath Evans getting a 2-yard touchdown run. New York would then close out the game's scoring with quarterback David Carr completing a 37-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.

    The New Orleans Saints finished the game with 493 yards of total offense (369 passing and 124 rushing), 7 offensive touchdowns (3 runs and 4 pass), 48 points, 28 first-downs, finished 7/13 (53%) in 3rd-down-conversions and 1/2 (50%) in 4th-down conversions, ran 70 plays (30 pass plays and 40 rushing plays), controlled the ball 36:07 minutes and did not commit a turnover, though Robert Meachem fumbled, with the fumble being recovered by the Saints. According to NFL Game Center, some of the team leaders for the Saints included Drew Brees, who missed only 7 passes, passed for 369 yards, scored 4 TDs and spread them to 4 different receivers, and threw 0 interceptions, did not fumble and did not get sacked. For the receiving game, Marques Colston caught 8 receptions for 166 yards with 1 TD coming from 12 yards out from Drew Brees in the 3rd quarter, and Lance Moore caught 6 receptions for 78 yards with 1 TD, being from 12 yards out from Drew Brees. For the running game, Pierre Thomas ran 15 times for 72 yards with 0 TDs, and Mike Bell ran 15 times for 34 yards, with 1 TD, being a 2-yard TD run early in the 1st quarter on the Saints' first possession on 4th-down. The Giants lost the game by a 21-point deficit and finished it with only 325 yards of total offense (241 passing and 84 rushing), 3 offensive touchdowns (2 pass and 1 run), 27 points, 17 first-downs, finished 3/10 (30%) in 3rd-down-efficiency and 1/1 in 4th-down-efficiency, ran only 57 plays (36 pass plays and 19 rushing plays), controlled the ball for 23:53 minutes on the clock and committed 2 turnovers (1 interception and 1 fumble). Their team leaders included Eli Manning, who completed 14 passes out of 31 attempts, passed for 178 yards, ran the ball 1 time for a loss 1 yard, threw an interception and fumbled on a sack, while David Carr finished 4/5 for 72 yards and 1 TD, a 37-yarder to Hakeem Nicks. For the receiving game, Hakeem Nicks caught 5 receptions for 114 yards, with 1 touchdown reception coming from quarterback David Carr, while Mario Manningham caught 4 receptions for 50 yards, with 1 TD from Eli Manning. For the running game, Ahmad Bradshaw had 10 carries for 48 yards for a 4.8 average with 1 TD, and Brandon Jacobs had 7 carries for 33 yards for a 4.7 average, with 0 TDs.

    With the win, New Orleans improved to 5–0.

    Week 7: at Miami Dolphins

    In Week 7, the Saints traveled to South Florida to continue their interconference series against the Dolphins. Miami jumped out to a 24–3 lead by the second quarter, with former Saint first-rounder and Heisman winner Ricky Williams scoring on runs of 4 and 68 yards, and Ronnie Brown added a touchdown run of 8 yards in the second quarter. Despite being behind for the first time in the season, the Saints gained momentum when Drew Brees scored on a quarterback sneak to end the first half and cap a 1:36 drive of 51 yards. In the second half, the Saints scored on a 42-yard interception return by Darren Sharper in the third, but Dan Carpenter added a second field goal to push the lead back to ten points. The Saints responded with a 10-yard Brees-Colston connection, but Ricky Williams answered with another 4-yard rushing score to make the score 34–24. The Saints completed their comeback in the fourth quarter, first with Reggie Bush scoring on a reverse from 10 yards out, then with Brees scoring his second rush TD from 2. Though John Carney missed the extra point, he later hit a field goal from 20 yards, and Tracy Porter sealed the comeback with a 54-yard interception return. The Saints outscored Miami 22–0 in the fourth quarter, and 36–10 for the second half.

    The Saints improved to 6–0 with the win.

    Week 8: vs. Atlanta Falcons

    Coming off their comeback road win over the Dolphins, the Saints went home for a Week 8 NFC South duel with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. New Orleans would initially trail in the first quarter as Falcons running back Michael Turner got a 13-yard touchdown run, yet the Saints answered with running back Pierre Thomas getting a 22-yard touchdown run. Atlanta would come right back as quarterback Drew Brees was sacked by free safety Thomas DeCoud, causing him to fumble and allow defensive end Kroy Biermann to return the ball 4 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, New Orleans would go on a rampage with Brees' 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marques Colston, running back Reggie Bush's 1-yard touchdown run, and cornerback Jabari Greer's 48-yard interception return for a touchdown.

    However, the Falcons began to get back into the game with quarterback Matt Ryan finding wide receiver Roddy White on a 68-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, followed by kicker Jason Elam booting a 25-yard field goal. Fortunately, cornerback Tracy Porter's key interception (helped from linebacker Jonathan Vilma's tip) lead to Brees finding Thomas on a 1-yard touchdown pass. Even though Atlanta crept closer with Elam nailing a 40-yard field goal and recovering an onside kick, free safety Darren Sharper's interception sealed the tight victory.

    With the win, the Saints improved to 7–0 (tying their best start in 1991).

    Week 9: vs. Carolina Panthers

    Coming off their Monday night win over the Falcons, the Saints stayed at home for a Week 9 NFC South duel with the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans would trail in the first quarter as Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams got a 66-yard and a 7-yard touchdown run. In the second quarter, the Saints got on the board with a 23-yard field goal from kicker John Carney. Carolina would reply with kicker John Kasay getting a 32-yard field goal, yet New Orleans would close out the half with Carney's 25-yard field goal.

    In the third quarter, the Saints crept closer with a 10-yard touchdown by running back Pierre Thomas. The Panthers would reply with Kasay nailing a 25-yard field goal, yet New Orleans would close out the period with quarterback Drew Brees' 54-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Robert Meachem. Afterwards, the Saints took command in the fourth quarter as Carney booted a 40-yard field goal, followed by defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove forcing Williams into a fumble and recovering it for a 1-yard touchdown run.

    With the win, the Saints improved to 8–0, which is the team's best start in franchise history.

    Week 10: at St. Louis Rams

    Coming off their divisional home win over the Panthers, the Saints flew to the Edward Jones Dome for a Week 10 duel with the St. Louis Rams. After a scoreless first quarter, New Orleans got the game's inaugural points in the second quarter with running back Reggie Bush getting a 3-yard touchdown run. The Rams would respond with quarterback Marc Bulger completing a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Donnie Avery. New Orleans would answer with quarterback Drew Brees hooking up with Bush on a 15-yard touchdown pass, yet St. Louis would close out the half with a 2-yard touchdown run from running back Steven Jackson.

    The Saints would begin the third quarter with wide receiver Courtney Roby returning the second half's opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. The Rams would stay close with kicker Josh Brown nailing a 32-yard field goal. New Orleans would extend their lead in the fourth quarter Brees finding wide receiver Robert Meachem on a 27-yard touchdown pass. St. Louis tried to catch up as Bulger found Avery again on a 19-yard touchdown pass (with a failed 2-point conversion), yet the defense prevented the Rams from getting any closer.

    With the win, the Saints improved to 9–0.

    Week 11: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Coming off a tough road win against the Rams, the Saints went to Raymond James Stadium for a Week 11 duel against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After a quick first quarter Tampa Bay touchdown from rookie quarterback Josh Freeman to Micheal Clayton to cap a 95-yard drive, the Bucs showed how the Saints struggled defensively. The Bucs looked to improve on their next drive by moving the ball with running backs Carnell Williams and Ernest Graham. The Saints would answer defensively as they took advantage of numerous mistakes by rookie Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman.

    Drew Brees passed for 187 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with Robert Meacham for a 4-yard touchdown catch and a 6-yard touchdown catch, and to tight end David Thomas for an 11-yard touchdown. Pressure on the young Freeman from the Saints forced him to throw 3-interceptions and a fumble, allowing the Saints to take more control during the second half. The Saints would close out the game with two scores from running back Mike Bell from 3 yards and one yard out.

    With the win, the Saints improved to 10–0.

    Week 12: vs. New England Patriots

    The Saints returned to the Dome for possibly the most hyped game in recent team history, a Monday Night showdown in front of 70,768 with the 7–3 Patriots, winners of 3 Super Bowls in this decade. The Saints came out firing from the start with a 33-yard completion from Brees to Devery Henderson. The drive resulted in a John Carney FG from 30 yards. The Pats stormed back on the next drive, converting twice on 4th-and-1, the second being Laurence Maroney's 4-yard TD run to put New England in the lead. On New England's next drive, Tom Brady was intercepted by a healthy and re-signed Mike McKenzie, leading to a TD from Brees to Pierre Thomas on an 18-yard swing pass. Forcing the Pats to punt again, Drew Brees found a wide-open Henderson on the next play, who waltzed into the endzone on a 75-yard reception to make it 17–7. The Patriots scored again on a 38-yard FG by Stephen Gostkowski. Drew Brees made it 24–10 on a 38 yarder to Robert Meachem, which was set up by a 25-yard catch by former Patriots TE David Thomas, and Gostkowski missed a 50-yard FG wide to close out the half.

    On the Pats first play of the third quarter, Scott Fujita forced Maroney to fumble, and Sedrick Ellis recovered the ball. However, Maroney forced Ellis to fumble, and Wes Welker recovered the ball on the New England 19. Brady then drove New England downfield, including a 47 yarder to Randy Moss, and Maroney scored his second rush TD from two yards. On the next offensive play, Marques Colston turns a 10-yard catch into a 68-yard gain to the Patriots 6, and New Orleans gets another touchdown via a two-yard catch by backup TE Darnell Dinkins. In the fourth quarter, Brees hits Colston from 20 yards for his 5th passing TD of the game, and the game was sealed when Sharper got his 8th interception of the year, and Brady is pulled with 5:28 to go, replaced by backup Brian Hoyer.

    With the win, the Saints improve to 11–0. Drew Brees completed 18 of 23 passes for a season-high 371 yards, five touchdowns and his first-ever perfect passer rating of 158.3, and became the first to throw 5 TDs against a Bill Belichick-coached team.

    The television broadcast of the game on ESPN's Monday Night Football was the second-most-watched cable telecast of all time.

    Week 13: at Washington Redskins

    After an emotional Monday night win against the New England Patriots, the Saints traveled to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland for a Week 13 matchup against the Washington Redskins. In the 1st quarter, the Redskins scored first with Jason Campbell throwing an 8-yard touchdown to Fred Davis. Shaun Suisham then kicked a 32-yard field goal to go up 10–0. In the 2nd quarter, the Saints finally scored with a Garrett Hartley 34-yard field goal. After a defensive stance, Drew Brees threw a 40-yard touchdown to Marques Colston which tied the game 10–10. The Redskins retook the lead with Jason Campbell connecting with Devin Thomas for a 10-yard touchdown. With the Saints now down 17–10, Brees and the Saints attempted to drive the field. Brees’ pass attempt to Jeremy Shockey was intercepted by Kareem Moore. Robert Meachem then ran into Moore, stripped the football, and returned it for a 44-yard touchdown.

    In the 3rd quarter, the Redskins kicker Suisham made a 28-yard field goal. The Redskins then extended their lead with Devin Thomas catching a 13-yard touchdown pass from Campbell. The Saints’ Hartley made a 27-yard field goal. In the 4th quarter, Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley traded field goals. After a field goal miss from 23 yards by Shaun Suisham, the Saints, only down by 7 points, now had the opportunity to tie the game. Drew Brees and the Saints offense drove the field in 5 plays, in 33 seconds and capped the drive with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem to tie the game 30–30 at the end of regulation. The Saints completed the comeback with Garrett Hartley's 18-yard field goal for the first lead in the game and the win 33–30 in overtime.

    With the win, the Saints improved to 12–0 and clinched the NFC South title. Their 12 wins also tied a single-season franchise record set in the 1987 and 1992 seasons.

    Week 14: at Atlanta Falcons

    After a tough road win in overtime against the Redskins. The Saints marched into Atlanta with their eyes on a franchise best 13th straight victory. In the first quarter, Atlanta started out fast driving down the field for a Matt Bryant 36-yard field goal. The Saints responded with a Garrett Hartley 33-yard field goal. Atlanta responded with another Matt Bryant 30-yard field goal to take 6–3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Saints would come out strong in the second quarter, when RB Reggie Bush scored on a 6-yard pass from Drew Brees to take a 10–6 lead. The Saints continued to move the ball and added onto the lead with a Marques Colston 3-yard touchdown catch from Drew Brees. Garrett Hartley kick failed giving the Saints a 16–6 lead in the second quarter. The Falcons troubles would continue. After failing to score a touchdown for the third time in the first half, Atlanta settled for a Matt Bryant 27-yard field goal to get within a touchdown at halftime.

    The second half looked promising for the Saints but RB Reggie Bush fumbled and recovered the ball. RB Reggie Bush would redeem his performance on the next play with a 21-yard screen pass from Drew Brees to put the Saint up 23–9. Atlanta would make a run and wear down the Saints defense when Michael Jenkins caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Chris Redman to move within a touchdown. Jason Snelling would add a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 23. Late in the fourth quarter, the Saints would have a chance to get the lead back with a Garrett Hartley 38-yard field goal. The Saints got a break when Jonathan Vilma intercepted a Chris Redman pass to give the Saints a chance to increase the lead. The Saints would move the ball but only settle for a fake field goal that failed. The results continued in doubt for the Saints until Vilma came up with another defensive fourth-down hit on RB Jason Snelling. Stopping him a yard short of the marker with just over a minute remaining, the Saints' defense came up big but gave up 392 yards. Drew Brees threw for 296 yards for the season and threw for more than 30,000 yards in his career.He also added three touchdowns for the season and tied a club record with 120 in his Saints career. RB Reggie Bush had 47 rushing yards, 33 receiving yards and two touchdowns added for the season.

    The Saints won 26–23. With the win, they improved to 13–0, clinching a first-round bye in the playoffs.

    Week 15: vs. Dallas Cowboys

    Coming off yet another close win, this time over the Falcons, the Saints went home for a Week 15 Saturday night duel with the Dallas Cowboys. In the first quarter, Dallas would get off to a fast start with quarterback Tony Romo completing a 49-yard TD pass to wide receiver Miles Austin. The Cowboys then increased their lead later in the quarter with a 3-yard TD run by running back Marion Barber. In the second quarter, the Saints would score their only points of the half with kicker Garrett Hartley nailing a 34-yard field goal. However, the Cowboys took a 17–3 lead at halftime with kicker Nick Folk's 44-yard field goal.

    In the third quarter, Dallas scored the period's only points when running back Marion Barber got a 2-yard TD run. An exciting fourth quarter ensued. New Orleans got the first score of the period when running back Mike Bell scored from one yard out to make a 24–10 Dallas lead. Following a Dallas three-and-out, New Orleans made it a one touchdown game when quarterback Drew Brees hit wide receiver Lance Moore for a 7-yard TD pass. Dallas then marched down the field to the Saints' eight-yard line, but then kicker Nick Folk's potential game-icing 24-yard field goal hit the right goalpost and went no good, setting up another fourth quarter comeback for the Saints. However, unlike in such games against Washington and Atlanta, quarterback Drew Brees was sacked with 10 seconds left in the contest at the Dallas 48-yard line, forcing a fumble for the second time in the game by Dallas' DeMarcus Ware, which was then recovered by nose tackle Jay Ratliff. The Cowboys then took a knee to end the game.

    With the loss, the Saints fell to 13–1, ending their chance at a perfect season. Also with the Colts' win, the Saints held the 2nd best overall record of any team.

    Week 16: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The Saints dominated the first quarter and entered halftime riding on a 17–3 lead. Tampa Bay scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 77-yard kick return by Micheal Spurlock, to tie the game at 17. As time expired, Garrett Hartley attempted a 37-yard field goal that would have salvaged the game for the Saints, but the kick hooked left. In overtime, Tampa Bay won the coin toss, received the kickoff, and drove down the field to win the game with a field goal, for a final score of 20–17.

    With the disappointing loss, the Saints fell to 13–2, and appeared to be at risk of losing homefield advantage in the playoffs to the Vikings. However, the Vikings lost in overtime to the Chicago Bears in Week 16's Monday night game, and the Saints clinched the top seed in the NFC.

    Week 17: at Carolina Panthers

    After nearly beating the now 3–12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New Orleans Saints looked to rest their starters for the remaining game against the Carolina Panthers. In the First Quarter, the Carolina Panthers started out with great runs from Jonathan Stewart who capped off the first drive with a 67-yard run for a touchdown. In the second quarter the Saints got on the board with a Garrett Hartley 35-yard field goal making the score 7–3. Carolina was not done, they continued to go to their play makers like Dwayne Jarrett who caught a 30-yard pass from Matt Moore to go up 14–3. Later John Kasay added a 41-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17–3. In the second half, the Saints could not stop Carolina from scoring twice more on a John Kasay 39-yard field goal and a 37-yard field goal to go up 23–3. The Saints would show promise when Lynell Hamilton ran for a 1-yard touchdown to end the game at 23–10.

    Game Notes: Mark Brunell was dismal completing 15 of his 29 attempts for 102 yards, 1 interception and a passer rating of 45.5. This marks the first time this season that the Saints did not have a productive quarterback, receiver or running back. This marks the second time the Saints have allowed a Carolina running back to run for over 100 yards in a game (DeAngelo Williams 149 yards week 9 & Jonathan Stewart 128 yards week 17). Sitting out allowed Drew Brees to break the NFL record for completion percentage in a season with 70.60, beating the previous NFL record of 70.55 by Ken Anderson of Cincinnati set in 1982. The Saints have home-field throughout the national football conference playoffs.

    NFC Wildcard Round: Bye week

    By earning the NFC top-seed, the Saints earned a bye week in the first round of the NFC Playoffs.

    NFC Divisional Round: vs. Arizona Cardinals

    Entering the postseason as the NFC's #1 seed, the Saints began their playoff run at home in the NFC Divisional Round against the #4 Arizona Cardinals. New Orleans would immediately trail in the first quarter as Cardinals running back Tim Hightower ran for a 70-yard touchdown. The Saints would greatly respond with a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Lynell Hamilton, quarterback Drew Brees finding tight end Jeremy Shockey on a 17-yard touchdown pass, and running back Reggie Bush's 54-yard touchdown run. Arizona would reply in the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run from running back Chris "Beanie" Wells. Afterwards, New Orleans struck again as Brees found wide receiver Devery Henderson on a 44-yard touchdown pass, followed by wide receiver Marques Colston for a 2-yard touchdown pass.

    In the third quarter, the Saints continued their offensive day as place-kicker Garrett Hartley kicked a 43-yard field goal, followed by Bush's 83-yard punt return for a touchdown. For the rest of the game, New Orleans' defense took control and shut down the Cardinal's offense.

    With the win, the Saints advanced to the NFC Championship Game for the second time in franchise history.

    NFC Championship Game: vs. Minnesota Vikings

    Coming off their divisional home win over the Cardinals, the Saints stayed at home for the NFC Championship Game against the #2 Minnesota Vikings. New Orleans would initially trail in the first quarter as Vikings running back Adrian Peterson got a 19-yard touchdown run, yet the Saints responded with quarterback Drew Brees hooking up with running back Pierre Thomas on a 38-yard touchdown pass. However, Minnesota would answer with quarterback Brett Favre completing a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sidney Rice. New Orleans would tie the game again in the second quarter with Brees finding wide receiver Devery Henderson on a 9-yard touchdown pass.

    The Saints would take the lead in the third quarter with Thomas' 9-yard touchdown run, but the Vikings would tie the game with a 1-yard touchdown run from Peterson. In the fourth quarter, New Orleans would regain the lead as Brees found running back Reggie Bush on a 5-yard touchdown pass, yet Minnesota would tie again with Peterson's 2-yard touchdown run. A key interception late in 4th quarter by Tracy Porter stopped what could have been Minnesota's game winning drive, leading to overtime. In overtime, the Saints came out on top as place-kicker Garrett Hartley booted the game-winning 40-yard field goal.

    With the win, not only did the Saints improve their overall record to 15–3, but they would advance to their very first Super Bowl in franchise history.

    Super Bowl XLIV: vs. Indianapolis Colts

    In continuation of a string of firsts, the Saints advanced to their first Super Bowl in franchise history and won it in dramatic fashion. After the coin toss, the Saints wanted the ball first; however, they did not score on their first drive. The Colts drove the ball down the field with an attempt to score the first touchdown but was denied and forced Matt Stover to kick a 38-yard field goal. But the Colts were not finished: on their next possession, Pierre Garcon caught a 19-yard TD pass from Peyton Manning, and the Colts led 10–0 after fifteen minutes. In the second quarter, the Saints were forced to look upon Garrett Hartley for two field goals – a 46 yarder and a 44 yarder respectively – and the deficit was reduced to four points by halftime. Garrett Hartley ended the game with the Super Bowl record for kicks of more than 40 yards, with 3.

    Kicking off the second half, the Saints caught Indy by surprise with the "Ambush" play (an onside kick in kickoff formation), which the Saints recovered, shifting the momentum to them. Pierre Thomas caught a 16-yard screen pass from Drew Brees and NO had their first lead of the game, 13–10 after the extra point. The Colts would not be denied from scoring again with the rushing attack of Joseph Addai, capping off the scoring drive with a 4-yard run. From here, however, the Colts would be denied. The Saints still stood by Hartley to keep the game close with a 47-yard field goal, taking the score to 17–16. In the fourth quarter, Jeremy Shockey caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees with Lance Moore catching a two-point conversion and the Saints led 24–17. On the Colts ensuing possession, season MVP quarterback Peyton Manning swiftly moved the Indianapolis offense into Saints territory, off four passes for 44 yards, vying for the tying score. However, in the end, it was the Saints defense that would prove championship worthy, when Tracy Porter intercepted and returned Manning's shotgun pass 74 yards for a touchdown to seal the win and the first Super Bowl title for the New Orleans Saints in their 44-year existence.


    2009 New Orleans Saints season Wikipedia