Cincinnati – The New Orleans Saints rolled to their eighth consecutive victory Sunday, a 51-14 dismantling of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Saints scored 35 points in the first half for the second consecutive week and then poured it on in the second. New Orleans is 8-1 and in firm control of the NFC South after Carolina's loss Thursday night dropped the Panthers to 6-3. The Falcons lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and are 4-5. Tampa Bay (3-6) also lost.
Quarterback Drew Brees was sensational Sunday - 22 of 25 for 265 yards with three touchdown passes and a 1-yard touchdown dive. He moved into second place for career touchdowns with 509. Backup Teddy Bridgewater replaced Brees with a little less than nine minutes to play.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas had eight catches for 70 yards with two touchdowns and set the NFL record for most catches through the first 40 games of a career with 274.
Alvin Kamara scored two touchdowns on 12 carries for 56 yards and Mark Ingram had a touchdown reception and ran the ball 13 times for 104 yards, the 14th 100-yard game of his career, the first this season.
Punter Thomas Morstead only got on the field to hold for Wil Lutz extra-point attempts (six) and field goals (three).
While the offense was the story, the Saints defense played effectively as well with four sacks, a long interception return by safety Marcus Williams and the first interception by Eli Apple as a member of the Saints. The Bengals (5-4) scored on their opening drive and then were shut out until backup quarterback Jeff Driskel scored with 4:42 to play.
The Saints' domination started early as they had scoring drives of 15 plays, six plays, nine plays, nine plays and one play while hogging time of possession (19:33 of the 30 minutes). New Orleans was 6 for 6 on third down in the first half. It was the seventh time in franchise history the Saints have scored at least 50 points. The Saints finished the game with more than 39 minutes of possession and more than 500 yards of offense.
The Saints did lose starting left tackle Terron Armstead to a shoulder injury in the first half. Armstead was replaced by veteran Jermon Bushrod.
The Saints, who last won nine consecutive games during the 2009 season, return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome next Sunday to play host to the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5), last season's Super Bowl champions.
Next Sunday's game is at 3:25 p.m. and will be televised by Fox.