The Cardinals' offensive line had no answer for the Saints' defensive front; Rob Ryan didn't even need his exotic blitzes to get pressure on Palmer (not that it stopped him from calling them). Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan and linebacker Junior Galette should have paid rent they were setting up shop so often in the Cardinals' backfield. Galette in particular gave left tackle Levi Brown fits all game.
After surrendering a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, the Saints' defense forced eight straight punts followed by two interceptions to end the game.
Call us believers in the Saints' revamped defense.
What else we learned:
1) What else is there to say about Drew Brees? The Saints quarterback notched his eighth straight 300-plus yard passing game. He ended with 342 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Brees is so much the center of the Saints' offense that before the game's final drive he also was leading the Saints in rushing yards.
2) Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was unstoppable. He absolutely dominated the Cardinals' secondary with nine catches, 134 yards and two touchdowns. The Cards seemingly threw every defender they could at him, Patrick Peterson, Yeremiah Bell, Tyrann Mathieu and none of them could slow the tight end.
3) The Cardinals' offense squandered great field position for most of the first half. After having success on the opening drive running the ball, the Cardinals went to the air. Palmer didn't have the protection for Bruce Arians' downfield attack.
4) Converting third downs again were a struggle for the Cardinals. After starting the game three of four on third down they went two of nine. Failure to gain yards on first down was a big reason for those woes.
5) The Saints' running game still is an issue. They had just four rushing attempts in the first half for negative yardage. Undrafted running back Khiry Robinson had some strong runs late, but we won't overreact yet to garbage-time carries.
6) Mathieu struggled some against Graham and Co., but made a spectacular interception in the end zone on the opening drive of the second half. He certainly has NFL ball skills.