Stopping the New Orleans Saints’ offence this season has been about as simple as going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will get their crack at slowing down the high-powered Saints (2-0), who come to Orchard Park having scored a league-high 93 points in a pair of blowout wins.
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Even more impressive, quarterback Drew Brees has thrown nine touchdown passes. This comes on the heels of falling just 16 yards short of the NFL record of 5,084 in 2008, a year that saw the Saints miss the playoffs at 8-8.
The Bills (1-1) are coming off a 33-20 win over Tampa Bay, thanks to a strong defence that limited the Buccaneers to just 57 yards rushing and intercepted two passes, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Donte Whitner.
But making big plays against Brees and the Saints could be a different story.
“They certainly do pose a lot of problems,” Bills head coach Dick Jauron said in his weekly press conference. “Drew is just a terrific player. He’s playing at a very high level.”
Making matters tougher for the Bills is the Saints’ newfound rushing attack, led by fourth-year pro Mike Bell. While Reggie Bush has provided his share of excitement, Bell enters Week 3 fourth in the NFL in rushing yards with 229.
Brees says the Saints’ balanced attack is a key to putting up so many points.
“When you look at what we’ve been able to do in the rushing game week one and week two, it was impressive,” Brees told the Saints’ official website.
“But I feel like our ability to balance, our ability to throw and run effectively is great because they both complement each other so well, they set each other up.
“We want to get into situations in games where teams can’t just play one or the other — they have to worry about both.”
The passing game has gone beyond the strong play of Brees.
Wide receiver Marques Colston (11 catches, 128 yards, three touchdowns) and tight end Jeremy Shockey (eight catches, 80 yards, two touchdowns) pose big-play problems, while the electrifying Bush is a dual threat (47 yards rushing, 97 yards receiving, one touchdown).
Buffalo cornerbacks Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin will have their hands full, but slowing the Saints passing game may come down to generating pressure up front.
Defensive ends Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel will need to get after Brees, while interior linemen Kyle Williams and Marcus Stroud (one sack last week) will be called upon to wreak havoc up the middle.
Nevertheless, Jauron is wary that even pressuring Brees may not do the trick.
“Pressure doesn’t seem to get him out of the rhythm a good deal of the time,” the coach said. “You try to change it up, you try to keep them guessing, you try to disguise. The answers are always the same when you play the very top level quarterbacks.”
The teams will kick off at 4:05 p.m. ET, the second straight week the Bills have played in Fox’s late-afternoon time slot.
Although there won’t be a traditional Buffalo snowstorm to use to its advantage, the weather forecast is calling for rain Sunday.