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Saints defense shows the way in win over Steelers

The 2009 Saints offense probably isn’t walking through that door.  But the defending champions can still be one of the best teams in a muddled NFC if they play smarter on offense, and their defense plays like it did Sunday night against the Steelers.

The Saints won 20-10 on the strength of a great goal line stand, and two fourth quarter takeaways against Pittsburgh.  Despite being short-handed in the secondary, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams confused Ben Roethlisberger all night long with an array of blitzes.  They recorded 3 sacks and no Pittsburgh receiver topped 43 yards.

Keyed by good field position, the Saints put together their only two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.  Drew Brees completed 20-of-22 passes for 191 yards and two scores after halftime, although he did turn the ball over twice again on Sunday night.  The Saints held the ball for almost 35 minutes.

Pittsburgh’s pass defense continues to show a few cracks after a ridiculously dominant start, but they remain in good shape at 5-2.  This was a bigger game for New Orleans, a team could ill afford to fall two losses behind the Bucs and Falcons in the NFC South. 

The Saints now enter a favorable part of their schedule knowing they can beat an elite opponent.  This was the team’s first “Big” game since a Week Four loss to the Falcons, and they came through with their best 30 minutes of the season after halftime.  They won a physical slugfest against the most physical team in the league.

These Saints may not light up the scoreboard like last year’s team, but the 2010 Saints went a long way towards establishing their own identity Sunday night.

UPDATE: Video proof:

 
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58 Responses to “Saints defense shows the way in win over Steelers”
  1. jmorand47 says: Nov 1, 2010 12:00 AM

    No truth to the rumor that Hines Ward said, “The league didn’t want to see the Steelers at 6-1.”

  2. Reggie'sBush says: Nov 1, 2010 12:10 AM

    It’s frustrating to see us get dominated by the Cleveland Browns, and then turn around to kick the Steelers collective behinds.
    At least the bandwagon has thinned down.
    BTW Saints are black and GOLD, Steelers are black and YELLOW.
    Geaux Saints!

  3. DukeofMadness says: Nov 1, 2010 12:12 AM

    Do you suppose Gregg Williams had to work real hard to keep Ben confused all night?
    Ahh, there’s nothing more delicious than the tears of Steelers fans! Nothing, I tell you!

  4. Blackn'Gold says: Nov 1, 2010 12:22 AM

    The Saints made the plays when they had to. A good game with some intensity. There’s always next week.
    GO STEELERS!

  5. stugacz says: Nov 1, 2010 12:26 AM

    The Saints simply got the better of it this time. They certainly were not dominant by any stretch of the imagination!

  6. Neverend says: Nov 1, 2010 12:28 AM

    People still want to say AFC is superior to NFC?

  7. praveen says: Nov 1, 2010 12:30 AM

    The guy confused was Arians. The guy is awful. He couldnt figure out a single way to combat the blitz all game long. I would like to blame Ben, but everyone on offense for Pittsburgh was to blame. WRs unable to get open despite playing against an injury svaged secondary.
    Maybe Charlie Batch will get some respect. Some fans said that points would explode once Ben came in. It doesn’t matter how well he passes if the Steelers offensive system is flawed and not to mention the awful red zone conversion rate. Colinsworth was talking abou Ben’s rust. What about Batch who led the team on two TD drives against a tougher Balt defense? Batch got a tiny fraction of Ben’s reps over the past 3 years and barelyt any this year. Yet the point production doesn’t seem higher under Ben so far despite Ben looking better passing this year.

  8. Rip says: Nov 1, 2010 12:30 AM

    # Blackn’Gold says: November 1, 2010 12:22 AM
    The Saints made the plays when they had to. A good game with some intensity. There’s always next week.
    GO STEELERS!
    ———————————————–
    I’d say a lot of intensity and a well played game for both teams.

  9. bmcgrath2 says: Nov 1, 2010 12:40 AM

    Can’t wait for even more talk about how the Saints have learned how to “win ugly”

  10. Gautam says: Nov 1, 2010 12:51 AM

    They won a physical slugfest against the most physical team in the league….
    the Steelers defense may be physical but won’t call the offense led by Big Ben physical

  11. Gautam says: Nov 1, 2010 12:51 AM

    happiest team after all this – Ravens who saw both the Bengals & Steelers lose

  12. NFL Replay Official says: Nov 1, 2010 1:02 AM

    Whatever happen to that great Steelers team that was 3-1 w/o their messiah? Isn’t Big Ben supposed to be better than a 4th stringer? He looked like he was confused out there. The Saints had no problem rattling him.

  13. Bmore Styles says: Nov 1, 2010 1:05 AM

    That “wait till we get Ben back” talk isn’t working out so well. They couldn’t win without the refs last week and got straight up beat by a better team tonight. OVERRATED.

  14. stugacz says: Nov 1, 2010 1:13 AM

    The Saints simply got the better of it this time. They certainly were not dominant by any stretch of the imagination!

  15. HolyMoly says: Nov 1, 2010 1:25 AM

    Hey Gregg what were you saying the other day about the Saints’ overrated pass defense? Hmmmm???
    Btw, the Saints defense is the 3rd ranked defense in the NFL after 8 weeks. The Saints defense is for real, because Gregg Williams is a superior defensive coordinator. It’s nice to have Darren Sharper back as well!

  16. Deb says: Nov 1, 2010 1:32 AM

    @rip …
    Sure hope you’re a Saints fan because I wanted to offer a hearty congrats to our opponents … and that’s tough when you find jerks like Reggie’sBush and DukeofMadness vomiting ignorance and bad sportsmanship everywhere.
    For the Saints’ fans who actually have class, congrats on regrouping from your loss last week and playing a tough game. Your defense, especially, did an excellent job.

  17. prophet of the light says: Nov 1, 2010 2:43 AM

    Gautam says:
    November 1, 2010 12:51 AM
    happiest team after all this – Ravens who saw both the Bengals & Steelers lose

    Try the Patriots, who are now the NFL’s best record (6-1) because the Saints and Packers took care of the Jets and Steelers today.

  18. jennstergerscellphone says: Nov 1, 2010 4:09 AM

    Great game, the Saints earned the win despite a bad call by the refs on Ward in the end zone in the first half. I watched that play repeatedly and he never pushed off, simply handle jostling by both. Regardless of that, it was a good game by both teams.
    Possible Super Bowl match-up….

  19. PARavensJeff says: Nov 1, 2010 4:14 AM

    Gautam says:
    November 1, 2010 12:51 AM
    happiest team after all this – Ravens who saw both the Bengals & Steelers lose
    & that the Jets lost too. Only team we were rooting against that lost was the Patriots

  20. gameday says: Nov 1, 2010 5:24 AM

    The Saints were more physical. They outhustled as well.
    Steelers looked liked the team I thought they were……..and are.

  21. DerekLutz says: Nov 1, 2010 6:45 AM

    21 points per game avg. before No. 7′s return, 20 points per game avg. with No. 7 under center.
    Next week is the Bengals Super Bowl, better put up at least 28 if you want to get the win.

  22. HandsofSweed says: Nov 1, 2010 6:51 AM

    This marks two consecutive weeks in which Arians has completely blown an easy, gravy field goal right before half with greedy, foolish play calling that took us out of fg position, kept too much time on the clock and knocked the psychological control of the game out of our hands that our D had earned.
    The one last week very nearly cost the game. This one did. You can’t blow the gravy field goal before half, especially when the other team gets ball in the 2nd half, and they have a dominant offense that you have completely choked to death for the first 29 min.
    Saint did what they had to do. Arians let them back in the game and they made us pay.
    Oh well. Move on. It’s Bengals week now and a win ends their season early.

  23. navybrowns says: Nov 1, 2010 7:22 AM

    Rapistberger wasn’t at full strength because he wasn’t able to feast on a drunk new orleans girl prior to the game!

  24. Macadamia says: Nov 1, 2010 7:26 AM

    Just the beginning of the end Stillerz fanz…enjoy the fall.

  25. BernardPollardIsAnAss says: Nov 1, 2010 7:32 AM

    And the Patriots sit alone atop the NFL at 6 -1. Surprise, surprise. Didn’t expect it coming into the season but sure enjoying it.

  26. Saintsarebest says: Nov 1, 2010 7:59 AM

    More proof that the siants own the nfl. the refs stayed out of the way and we rocked another teem on our way to back to back.
    who dat!

  27. joe6606 says: Nov 1, 2010 8:12 AM

    Meh.
    Officiating was pretty terribly biased in favor of the Saints, which was not surprising given the NFL’s pro New Orleans favoritism.
    Mendenhall clearly broke the plane on 2nd down from the goal line.
    Offensive PI was complete BS against Hines..that was defensive PI as well as helmet to helmet.
    Counted at least 8 holding non-calls.

  28. Gossamer says: Nov 1, 2010 8:19 AM

    Looks like the Refereelers forgot to get the checks out to the refs; maybe next week they’ll use direct deposit!!

  29. sgraham628 says: Nov 1, 2010 8:20 AM

    The Saints didn’t confuse Ben! He had no time to even throw the ball, so many balls fell short and weren’t on target. But in a situation like that, the receivers need to break on their routes quicker.
    That being said, well played games by the Saints. I do not agree with many of the calls by the coaches, and the refs, but you cannot win them all. Steelers need to get ready for Cincy next week and get back on track.

  30. 10TwoSaint says: Nov 1, 2010 8:23 AM

    @ Ravenator
    Don’t get too excited, You’ll get the same treatment on December 19th.

  31. theroc5156 says: Nov 1, 2010 8:58 AM

    Gautam says:
    November 1, 2010 12:51 AM
    happiest team after all this – Ravens who saw both the Bengals & Steelers lose
    The Bengals are completely out of the race (other than the first pick of the draft). They are terrible and the Steelers will bounce back quickly next week when they destroy them.
    God I wish Mike Brown would just sell the team and let someone come in who has actual football knowledge and take the Bengals over.

  32. Holeinone09 says: Nov 1, 2010 9:07 AM

    Congrats to the Saints. They did what they had to do with no running game. Brees is an excellent QB and they are well-coached.
    Steelers offense was flat. Missed opportunities in first half (inability to get 1 yard and settle for a FG, and got nothing on Taylor’s interception) killed them. Line blocking was poor, play calling was questionable, and defense gave up too many 3rd downs. It happens, and you make corrections which is what I am sure they will do going into Cincinnatti. It is early in the season, so all the haters shouldn’t get too excited yet.
    New game next week!
    GO STEELERS!!

  33. Steelers+Refs=True Love says: Nov 1, 2010 9:09 AM

    Even when the Saints were making great plays, MIchaels and Collinsworth still found a way to slurp the Steelers, it was sickening to watch.

  34. HamBurghlar says: Nov 1, 2010 9:14 AM

    Great overall game by the Saints, the D had Arians confused w/ all the blitzing.. Threw Ben off, couldn’t get to his recievers fast enough. Not to mention, the 3rd down “goal line” TD that was mysteriously not called.. But you’re at the 1 and don’t run a play for your 250 lb QB? That’s just dumb..
    Anyway, just shows that even the best D in the league has some holes in it. Good game on both sides, next week can’t come soon enough.
    GO STEELERS!

  35. somesome says: Nov 1, 2010 9:27 AM

    That was good game. Could have gone either way and keeps things interesting.
    As for calls not given to Ben, I see it that way:
    You have a big, strong, evasive QB. He is able to extent plays with his escape ability and strength. You saw how many it took to bring him down and how a single tackle only causes delay in Ben delivering the play. The refs let it play out with the benefit of the doubt that Ben possibly makes it out and delivers the ball but you also then have to take the bad which is not getting a call. Almost the same as Harrison or Ngata will never get a holding call in their favor unless it is absolutely blatantly.
    Overall I thought the game was officiated well. Saints covered the Steelers receivers well, sure there is always question about offensive or defense interference but it is a judgment call. I have Hines Ward on my FF and I on every play. Certainly would have liked a few calls be made and the offensive interference not given, was really borderline. But that is from a fan perspective, overall I thought the officiating was non-interfering and almost not noticeable.
    Welcome to second place though.

  36. steelersmichele says: Nov 1, 2010 9:32 AM

    I couldn’t believe the first half of the game–All defense. Not what I expected from the Saints (not a dis, and I don’t think the Steelers expected their defense either)
    Good job with the Saints offense to make the necessary changes at halftime. Only wish we had an offensive coordinator that could do the same thing. Arians makes some pretty questionable/stupid calls. Kind of makes me miss Whiz.
    One more thing: See how many Steelers fans are congratulating the Saints on their win. We don’t blame the refs for losses or whine about how the other team got advantages (see Ravens fans). We admit we played poorly. This is the appropriate time to say: Way to keep it classy Pittsburgh!!!

  37. ArtModellsPimp says: Nov 1, 2010 9:36 AM

    joe6606 says:
    Officiating was pretty terribly biased…
    Mendenhall clearly broke the plane…
    Offensive PI was complete BS against Hines…
    Counted at least 8 holding non-calls…
    ———–
    Would you like a terrible tissue?
    Suck it up, whiner. You lost to a team that the Cleveland Browns crushed.

  38. somesome says: Nov 1, 2010 9:45 AM

    @steelersmichele
    “One more thing: See how many Steelers fans are congratulating the Saints on their win. We don’t blame the refs for losses or whine about how the other team got advantages (see Ravens fans). We admit we played poorly. This is the appropriate time to say: Way to keep it classy Pittsburgh!!!”
    I would give you that if it wasn’t for the Steelers fans who feel the need to post on Ravens threads as soon as they are mentioned and no matter what the topic is to point out “Shouldn’t the ratbirds be concerned about who is on parole rather than on IR?” or any of the quaint murder references within the first 10 posts or that anybody should be thankful for the Steelers bopost to the economy whenever they visit.
    Aside of that thiswas great game and propably the toughest road game you guys played this far and you were in it. You cannot win them all, this was a good outing.

  39. steelersmichele says: Nov 1, 2010 10:03 AM

    Somesome, the Steelers and Ravens fans have a very tumultuous relationship. Where there is one intelligent and objective Steelers/Ravens fan, there are 10 idiots on both sides that spew “rapistberger” and “murderer.” The hate goes both ways.
    Now I may be a bit more biased to call out Ravens fans and their whining/bragging considering I live in Baltimore and have to put up with them on a weekly basis. They come down to my cube and brag when they win and are mysteriously absent when their team loses.

  40. scra22 says: Nov 1, 2010 10:04 AM

    joe6606 says:
    November 1, 2010 8:12 AM
    Meh.
    Officiating was pretty terribly biased in favor of the Saints, which was not surprising given the NFL’s pro New Orleans favoritism.
    Mendenhall clearly broke the plane on 2nd down from the goal line.
    Offensive PI was complete BS against Hines..that was defensive PI as well as helmet to helmet.
    Counted at least 8 holding non-calls.
    =====
    Whatever dude, I saw several things that should have been called against the Steelers that weren’t. And the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Julius Jones was BS when one of your guys had his hands on him after the play, he just pushed the guy off of him. And we get the flag. Regardless, officiating did not give the game to anyone. It was a good game.

  41. scra22 says: Nov 1, 2010 10:05 AM

    steelersmichele says:
    November 1, 2010 9:32 AM
    One more thing: See how many Steelers fans are congratulating the Saints on their win. We don’t blame the refs for losses or whine about how the other team got advantages (see Ravens fans). We admit we played poorly. This is the appropriate time to say: Way to keep it classy Pittsburgh!!!
    ====
    Yes, except for the one guy in here talking about the NFL’s New Orleans bias (which sure helped us last week against the Browns), the Steelers fans have shown themselves to be pretty gracious. Thanks.

  42. Igottz5onit says: Nov 1, 2010 10:17 AM

    Good game saints fans.
    Go Steelers!

  43. PARavensJeff says: Nov 1, 2010 10:17 AM

    So much for that 15-1 record, huh Florio? Wow, who is your #1 team this week since your 2 darlings went down in flames? HAHAHA
    Michele, maybe you should go back to Pittsburgh since it’s such a great city?! I’ll take Baltimore anyday over Pittsburgh & apparently so do you since you live here @ your option. BTW, I don’t hide from anyone, win or lose! & I work w/ Steeler fans. The funny thing is when the Ravens beat the Steelers, they are very quiet! See you December 5th.
    10TwoSaint, Yep December 19th in BALTIMORE, no friendly dome for you, welcome to the elements of Baltimore! Last year there was a 2′ blizzard on thata day!! & the Ravens home record the last 10 years is top 3 in the NFL, I’ll take the Ravens!

  44. somesome says: Nov 1, 2010 10:20 AM

    Nonetheless, makes for an interesting week 9.
    Steelers – Bengals
    Ravens – Fins
    pretty even match up and from here on out every week will be for either the division or wild card.

  45. if yer not first... says: Nov 1, 2010 10:21 AM

    Officiating was pretty terribly biased in favor of the Saints, which was not surprising given the NFL’s pro New Orleans favoritism.
    Mendenhall clearly broke the plane on 2nd down from the goal line.
    Offensive PI was complete BS against Hines..that was defensive PI as well as helmet to helmet.
    Counted at least 8 holding non-calls.

    A Shittsburgh fan complaining about the refs? hahahahahahahaha- could you BE more delusional Joe?
    Did you actually watch the game or did your dad tell you about it this morning before you went to school?

  46. psuzanner says: Nov 1, 2010 10:33 AM

    Collinsworth is THE WORST commentator! What did he play? 2 years? I truley hope when his contract is up he goes!
    He was sooooo on the Steelers and Troy Polomalu’s jock it was sickening! A not partial commentator is best!
    Troy Polomolu is VERY good. It’s undeniable! He’s fast, he’s everywhere & has a good knowledge and strategy for the game.
    According to Collinsworth though, Polomolu is the second coming and on the eighth day God created the Steelers. Even when the Saints did something positive…”Oh the Steelers”.
    I’m not a fan of either team, who won really didn’t matter to me but, watching the game was extremely unenjoyable with Collinsworth never letting up on just how wonderful the Steelers are.

  47. Bdrunk says: Nov 1, 2010 10:37 AM

    ArtModellsPimp says:
    November 1, 2010 9:36 AM
    joe6606 says:
    “Suck it up, whiner. You lost to a team that the Cleveland Browns crushed.”
    ——————
    How’s that Saints-crushing working out for your playoff chances? Oh wait, it doesn’t.

  48. Steel Dahn Sahth says: Nov 1, 2010 11:09 AM

    Very good game NO.
    Hard hitting battle from both sides.
    Steelers, as usual, very predictable first half play calling. I can’t think of a single downfield throw on 1st down before the 2:00 warning of the 1st half.
    Then wow!!! Moving the ball through the air, and it opened up the running game. Imagine that! Fumble.. Too little too late. Fire Arians.
    Hats off to The Saints. The harder they got smacked in the face, the tougher they came back.
    The Saints have a really easy schedule coming up, and should be at or near the top of the NFC by playoff time.
    The Steelers are fine. They were outplayed. They will bounce back.
    Big win for NO, and deservedly so.

  49. 60minuteassassin says: Nov 1, 2010 12:32 PM

    steelersmichele says:
    November 1, 2010 9:32 AM
    One more thing: See how many Steelers fans are congratulating the Saints on their win. We don’t blame the refs for losses or whine about how the other team got advantages (see Ravens fans). We admit we played poorly. This is the appropriate time to say: Way to keep it classy Pittsburgh!!!
    ———————————-
    Did you read this post?
    joe6606 says:
    Officiating was pretty terribly biased…
    Mendenhall clearly broke the plane…
    Offensive PI was complete BS against Hines…
    Counted at least 8 holding non-calls…

  50. Deb says: Nov 1, 2010 2:23 PM

    @psuzzaner …
    Collinsworth played his entire career for the Bengals and has always hated the Steelers. He was giving props to Polamalu because Troy is an exceptional talent. Do your homework next time.

  51. Deb says: Nov 1, 2010 2:38 PM

    joe6606 says:
    Officiating was pretty terribly biased in favor of the Saints, which was not surprising given the NFL’s pro New Orleans favoritism.
    Mendenhall clearly broke the plane on 2nd down from the goal line.
    Offensive PI was complete BS against Hines..that was defensive PI as well as helmet to helmet.
    Counted at least 8 holding non-calls.
    ————————————————–
    Please don’t. It’s embarrassing. This was a well-officiated game. Mendenhall didn’t break the plane. You didn’t see Hines question that call, did you? The helmet-to-helmet contact was incidental and unintentional.
    You can count at least 8 holding non-calls in any NFL game. If officials called every hold, games would take five hours.
    Yeah, the NFL bias for the Saints was obvious during the 40 years they went without a championship. The NFL ripped the ball from Heath’s hands and handed it to the Saints. And they waved a magic wand over #88 so he’d blow up a sure Ward TD.
    You’re doing to them what’s always been done to us. Quit whining. We lost fair and square.

  52. lawboy2000 says: Nov 1, 2010 4:23 PM

    Now I understand why the Steelers spread the field on the goal line and ran the QB keeper against the Dolphins: they can’t get 1-yard from a Big formation when they need it.
    I agree that it appears that Arians continues to be unable to adapt to the kind of blitzing the Saints brought last night. He better figure it out quickly because the Saints provided the blue print for everyone else. Arians and the Steelers have been down this road before and it ends with watching the playoffs instead of being in them.
    Jeff Reed needs to shape up or ship out. I appreciate that Tomlin had faith in him from 51-yards, but Reed is clearly slumping and costing the team games. He was not entirely to blame against the Saints as he arguably was against the Ravens, but that 1st half miss led to a complete change in the dynamics of the game at halftime and starting the 3d quarter.

  53. Deb says: Nov 1, 2010 5:02 PM

    @lawboy2000 …
    I’ve made excuses for Reed myself, but the guy gets millions of dollars to do one thing: kick the ball through the uprights. Yes, I’m being completely unreasonable, but have just decided for that money, kickers should be able to kick the ball through the uprights from their own 40 in 60mph winds. And punters should be able to angle the ball to the corner and hit the 1 yard line with no return possible. These people have nothing to do but practice their foot action morning, noon, and night. When you do something that often, it should be rote–and perfect. I’m tired of losing games or nearly losing games on special teams. Sepulveda’s doing fine, but as you say, Reed can shape up or get out.

  54. scra22 says: Nov 1, 2010 6:07 PM

    joe6606 says:
    November 1, 2010 8:12 AM
    Mendenhall clearly broke the plane on 2nd down from the goal line.
    =====
    Please go back and watch the replays (from more than one angle) with your homer glasses off. He clearly did NOT break the plane. The bad officiating in that situation was awarding the TD in the first place.

  55. Kay Bee says: Nov 1, 2010 11:58 PM

    Ryan Clark held Colston’s arm…no pass interference called.
    Clark also hit Meachem late out of bounds…another no call.

  56. HolyMoly says: Nov 2, 2010 4:18 AM

    A Steeler fan complaining about biased refs would be like Eliot Spitzer complaining about prostitution. No football team in the history of the NFL has been the beneficiary of more, shall we say, “helpful” calls than the Steelers. The refs even admitted as much following the Super Bowl in which the Steelers defeated the Seahawks. That game was clearly rigged.

  57. Finkstein says: Nov 2, 2010 6:48 AM

    Thought this was a very entertaining game, and overall the best team won.
    Not sure how the Steelers can ever be put up for #1 rated team with that kind of offense.
    There was some dodgy officiating calls through this game but nothing major. The overturned TD call should never have been given, and Polamalu should have been called for a late hit a couple of times, but yeah overall, best team won.
    From a Steelers fanboy.

  58. EllisDee says: Nov 2, 2010 10:57 AM

    It was a great game to watch, and to be in the Dome for the victory. Props to Steeler fans for showing up and repping their team. You guys do travel well and are a lot more civil than Eagles fans. And you don’t come on here and complain about the refs throwing the game with bad calls either (at least some of you don’t).
    But I don’t think they were prepared for the type of noise they encountered. The Steeler fan in front of me said it was the loudest stadium he had ever been in, in the 1st Quarter!
    Go Saints!

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