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New Orleans Saints dominate the trenches in 31-3 win over Denver

'I thought our guys up front, toward the end of the game, we won that battle pretty clearly'

The New Orleans Saints dominated the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively in its 31-3 rout over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 29 at Empower Field at Mile High.

The Saints ran for 229 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns against a stout Broncos defensive unit that gave up just 56 rushing yards the week prior.

"I was proud of how we ran the football," Saints Coach Sean Payton said Monday. "I thought our guys up front, toward the end of the game, we won that battle pretty clearly."

Running back Latavius Murray carried 19 times, tallying 124 yards and two scores. Taysom Hill added two scores on the ground, taking advantage of his trademark quarterback power rush off the right side of the line.

"Yeah, the quarterback power, any time the quarterback runs the ball, you really gain an extra blocker," Saints offensive guard Nick Easton said Monday. "So if everybody executes their assignments, he's got a free run to the end zone. So, it's pretty hard for a defense, like somebody's got to defeat the block in order to make a tackle. So, you end up getting a few extra yards on those type of plays."

Easton got the start Sunday in place of injured guard Andrus Peat.

"As far as knowing I was going to start, I approach every week with the mentality that I'm going to be a big contributor and play my hardest," Easton said. "Andrus, was dealing with a concussion and working through the protocol. So, it was a little blurry going through the week, but I always prepare like I'm going to start."

New Orleans was also without All-Pro offensive tackle Terron Armstead, who was placed on the Covid-19/Reserve lLst Saturday.

Defensively, the Saints (9-2) set a franchise record with just 112 yards allowed and forced three turnovers while winning their eighth straight game.

"We're just playing with trust in our teammates and our guys next to us," Saints defensive tackle Malcom Brown said Monday. "I mean, we trust everybody to be where they're supposed to be. And we're just trying to roll like that and we just keep on working. Not looking too far ahead and not trying to hold anything from ourselves. But, we just want to keep on working, go through the process and stack them up every week."

Brown and company were tasked with facing Kendall Hinton, an undrafted rookie wide receiver activated from the Broncos' practice squad and inserted as their starting quarterback Sunday.

The Broncos lost all four of their quarterbacks this week after backup Jeff Driskel tested positive for Covid-19 and starter Drew Lock and the other two quarterbacks on the roster were deemed close contacts and ruled ineligible.

"We all kind of prepared for the offense as Drew Lock at quarterback and everything," Brown said. "But I mean, it's the NFL. Whatever they roll out, you have got to defend and that's kind of the mentality we took to it."

Due to Denver's quarterback situation, the Broncos relied heavily on the "Wildcat" offense, only attempting nine passes, two of which were intercepted.

"I like to play the run a lot," Brown said. "My fundamentals and technique are real important to me. So, we knew we'd play the run a lot all game. It's weird too though,. because usually you get rewarded with a pass on third down, where you can rush the passer. It was just one of those games where it was just, I don't know, it was kind of weird."

New Orleans leads the NFL in total defense, allowing just 284.9 yards per game.

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