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Saints at Redskins Game Notes

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*During today's first quarter, Pierre Thomas, the Saints leading rusher, showed his versatility coming out of the backfield as a receiver. Thomas, who has 648 yards with 5.6 yards per carry coming into the season, only ran the ball twice. However, he had three catches for 37 yards on three screen plays. Thomas's season high for catches is five against Carolina, while he had 46 yards receiving against the New York Jets as another personal season best. Moreover, two of his receptions went for first downs. The Saints may continue to use the screen pass throughout this afternoon's contest to counter the aggressive Redskins defense. Thomas's receiving ability out of the backfield will continue to be an asset for the Saints offense against the Redskins' league-best pass defense.

*The Saints put their first points on the scoreboard today with 12:18 left in the second quarter on a 34 yard field goal by Garrett Hartley. This was Hartley's first field goal of the season after completing all 13 of his field goal attempts last season for the Saints. Hartley was inactive for the first eleven games of the season as he makes his first start today. Hartley has shown power and consistent accuracy, the two key attributes for a great kicker, during his time in the NFL. His career-long field goal is 47 yards, while he has twice made three field goals in one game. Hartley also completed his first extra-point of the season with 5:34 left in the second quarter after a 40-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Marques Colston. The catch was Colston's first of the afternoon, and his eighth touchdown reception of the season. The touchdown tied up the game 10-10, after the Redskins opened the game with a 10 point lead.

*The Saints took the road less traveled to continue their trend of scoring points late in the first half. After a three and out, Thomas Morstead took the field to punt the ball back to the Redskins. However, the punt hit Redskins' cornerback Kevin Barnes on the back. Saints' safety Usama Young was there waiting, and he scooped up the fumble for another scoring chance. After a sack by Redskin Laron Landry and a penalty by Saint Jahri Evans, the Saints had a challenge ahead of them. Facing a third and 26, the Saints spread the field with four wide receivers and Reggie Bush in the backfield. With his receivers covered and facing the Redskins pass rush, Drew Brees heaved a desperation throw over the middle to Jeremy Shockey. Safety Kareem Moore of the Redskins stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it. Moore fell to the ground, but he regained his feet to return the ball 14 yards. However, he was then stopped by Robert Meachem, who stripped the ball into the air and caught it. Meachem then returned the ball 44 yards for a touchdown in as bizarre a touchdown one will see in the NFL. Officially, it counts as a defensive touchdown for the Saints and their league-leading 23rd takeaway of the season. Also, fantasy owners of Meachem should not rejoice yet as the touchdown does not count as a reception. The Saints now have 221 points scored in the last two minutes before halftime, which also is first in the league.

*POSTGAME NOTES

New Orleans Saints at Washington Redskins ● Sunday, December 06, 2009

・ With the win and today's loss by Atlanta, the Saints have clinched the 2009 NFC South title. It is their second division title since the inception of the division in 2002, tying them with Tampa Bay and Carolina for the most titles in that period. Since Sean Payton became head coach in 2006, New Orleans' two division titles are the most by any club in the NFC South. They join the Seattle Seahawks (2006, 2007) as the only NFC clubs to win two division titles in the last four seasons.

・ With today's win, the Saints have won 12 games for the third time in franchise history. They went 12-3 in 1987 and 12-4 in 1992.

・ This was the first overtime game of the season for the Saints and their first since a 27-24 loss to Chicago on December 11, 2008. It was New Orleans' first overtime win since they beat the St. Louis Rams 28-25 on September 26, 2004.

・ With today's 33 point total, the Saints have scored 440 points in 2009, the second-highest total in club history. The club record is 463 in 2008.

・ The Saints have scored 56 touchdowns in 2009, the second-highest total in club history with the highest being 57 in 2008.

・ QB Drew Brees completed 35 of 49 passes for a season-high 419 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 102.3. It was the fifth time he has thrown for 400 yards as a member of the Saints. Brees' passing yardage total was the sixth-highest total in club history. Brees owns five of the six top passing days in franchise history.

・ Brees now has 28 touchdown passes in 2009, tied with his 2007 total for the second-highest in club history. He owns the club record with 34 touchdown tosses in 2008.

・ With his touchdown pass to Marques Colston, Brees now has 116 career touchdown passes as a Saint and moved into sole possession of second place all-time.

・ Brees has 197 touchdowns to tie with Ken Anderson for 31st all-time. With two touchdown passes he would moved into the tie with Anderson past Steve DeBerg, Joe Ferguson, Bobby Layne and Norm Snead.

・ Brees now has 29,794 passing yards to rank 34th all-time in NFL history in passing yardage, surpassing Roman Gabriel.

・ WR Marques Colston had a second quarter 40-yard touchdown reception. He is now tied for the team lead with Robert Meachem with eight on the season. Colston had two receptions for 46 yards

・ WR Robert Meachem had eight receptions for a career-high 142 yards, tying for the team lead in receptions and leading the club in receiving yardage, the first 100-yard game of his career. His two most impressive plays of the game occurred when Brees had thrown a ball that was intercepted by Redskins S Kareem Moore and he stripped the ball out of his hands and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown near the end of the first half to tie the score 17-17. Late in the fourth quarter, his 53-yard touchdown grab from Brees, tied the game at 30-30. The forced fumble and recovery for a score was New Orleans' eighth defensive touchdown of the year. This is the second-highest total in club history, with the club record being nine in 1998. It is also the fifth-consecutive game where Meachem has scored a touchdown. If he scores next week at Atlanta, Meachem would be tied for the longest scoring streak in club history with Dalton Hilliard (12/18/88-10/8/89, 10/18-11/29/92) and Pierre Thomas (11/16-12/21/08). Meachem is now tied with Colston with eight touchdown grabs and leads the team with nine overall.

・ CB Malcolm Jenkins led the Saints with eight tackles, tying his career-high for the third straight week.

・ WR Devery Henderson has 16 career touchdown receptions to tie with Dave Parks and Torrance Small for ninth on the club's all-time list. With one scoring grab, he would move into sole possession of ninth.

・ TE Jeremy Shockey had four receptions for 47 yards. He now has 465 receptions for 5,234 receptions in his career. He moved past Todd Christensen and Mickey Shuler into tenth place for receptions by NFL tight ends. His receiving yardage total is ranked 22nd. With 5,234 career receiving yards, moved into 21st past Brent Jones.

・ RB Pierre Thomas tied for the team lead with eight receptions for 64 yards.

・ LB Jonathan Vilma found an opportune time for his second interception of the season in the fourth quarter to stop a Washington scoring drive. Vilma also added five solo tackles.

・ CB Chris McAlister's forced fumble and fumble recovery in overtime helped set up New Orleans' game-winning score.

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