East Rutherford, N.J. - With their offense kept in check for the first half, the New Orleans Saints turned to their triplets on the first drive of the second half. The results: their first touchdown and control of a game that ended with a 33-18 Saints victory over the New York Giants.
The Saints' third consecutive victory puts them in first place in the NFC South at 3-1 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) and Atlanta Falcons (1-3) each lost Sunday. Carolina (2-1) had its bye this week. The Saints will go for four straight when they host the Washington Redskins (2-1) on Monday, Oct. 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in their first "Monday Night Football" game this season. The Giants fell to 1-3.
Starting at their own 20 to open the second half, Saints running back Alvin Kamara scampered 18 yards. Then quarterback Drew Brees hit wide receiver Michael Thomas with a beautiful 15-yard back-shoulder throw. Veteran tight end Benjamin Watson got in the act with a 23-yard reception. Kamara ended it with a 9-yard run up the gut of the Giants defense.
The Saints did struggle on third down (5 of 13) but they converted four times on a fourth quarter drive that ended with another Kamara touchdown, this one from 4 yards thanks to a challenge by Coach Sean Payton with 6:06 to play. Kamara put the final touches on the victory with a 49-yard scoring burst with 2:06 to play. The second-year running back out of Tennessee finished with 19 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns.
Much of the talk leading into the game was about how the Saints defense could contain the Giants passing attack, specifically, Odell Beckham Jr., after entering with the league's 30th-ranked pass defense and whether Brees would add another NFL record to his resume. After allowing a score on the Giants' first drive, the Saints defense largely kept Beckham and rookie running back Saquan Barkley in check, although Barkley scored a 1-yard touchdown after the Saints had grabbed a two touchdown lead. While Brees had another efficient outing, he stills remains 201 yards short of becoming the NFL's all-time passing leader and needs four touchdowns to join the 500-TD club.
New Orleans struggled in the red zone in the first half Sunday, entering four times and leaving each time with a Wil Lutz field goal (42, 34, 37 and 26 yards), which tied his career high for makes in a game. In addition to the made kicks, a fourth-down fake punt conversion by Taysom Hill and Justin Hardee and a forced fumble and recovery by defensive backs P.J. Williams and Marshon Lattimore were key plays as the Saints led 12-7 at halftime.
Linebacker Demario Davis had his best game with the Saints as he sacked Manning twice and Lattimore played tough coverage on Beckham most of the game. Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison came up with the Saints' third sack, forcing a Manning fumble that New Orleans recovered with 57 seconds to play, effectively ending the game.
Saints key stats
Drew Brees, 18 of 32 for 217 yards
Alvin Kamara, 19 carries for 134 yards with three touchdowns and five receptions for 47 yards
Michael Thomas, four receptions for 47 yards