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What we learned from Saints' win over Redskins

*You might have heard. Drew Brees made a little bit of history Monday night, as the future Hall of Famer led the New Orleans Saints (4-1) to a dominant 43-19 victory over the Washington Redskins (2-2) to stay atop the NFC South. Here's what we learned: *

  1. Get this: The Saints put up a season-high in points (43) against the league's top scoring and yardage defense in Washington, in a game in which Alvin Kamara racked up a season-low 39 total yards. That's what New Orleans is capable of with Mark Ingram in tow. In his return from suspension, Ingram touched the ball on 60 percent of the Saints' first-quarter plays, playing a pivotal role from the get-go as not only New Orleans' bell-cow back, but a screen threat as well. The threat of Ingram (73 total yards, 2 TDs) and Kamara opened up opportunities for a Saints receiving corps that was missing Ted Ginn and has been scrutinized for its supposed lack of depth. But Tre'Quan Smith (111 yards, 2 TDs) and Cameron Meredith (71 yards) answered the bell, complementing the always dominant Michael Thomas (74 yards). The Saints were so unstoppable on offense that they did not attempt a single punt in their nine drives, the fourth time that has happened in the Brees era.
  1. Offensive balance is all well and good, but come on. Monday night's festivities were all about Brees' pursuit of Peyton Manning's passing yards record. The Saints signal-caller broke Manning's mark in dramatic fashion, heaving a 62-yard bomb down the right sideline to the rookie Smith, who was left wide open thanks to blown coverage by some combination of Josh Norman, Fabian Moreau and/or Montae Nicholson. The strike sent Brees into the history books and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome into hysterics. The game was stopped for around five minutes, as Brees celebrated with his family and delivered the touchdown ball to Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker, clad in white gloves. Brees closed the night with 72,103 career passing yards and just one touchdown pass away from 500 all-time.
  1. Is this your NFC East leader? This?! Coming off of a win over Aaron Rodgers' Packers and a bye week, the division-leading Redskins were out of their depth against the NFC South-pacing Saints. Greg Manusky's defense entered Monday as league leaders in total defense (278) and passing defense (187.3), but Brees and the Saints eclipsed those totals in the first half, splicing and confusing Washington's secondary with everything from play-action screens to simple seams. The Redskins' defense extended early Saints drives with avoidable third-down penalties. Alex Smith was indecisive late on throws all evening and the ones he eventually unfurled often landed off target. Adrian Peterson followed his first 100-yard game of the season with an absolute dud. Nothing went well for the 'Skins, who were run out of the building by halftime.
  1. Adding injury to insult, Washington saw a few of its playmakers exit with injuries. Paul Richardson's knee was on ice by the end of the third quarter, injury-prone tailback Chris Thompson exited in the fourth with a rib issue and Vernon Davis suffered a hamstring injury. That's bad news for an offense already devoid of go-to receiving threats. Amazingly, thanks to a winless week in the division, the 'Skins depart this debacle still atop the NFC East by half a game, but with more questions than answers.
  1. New Orleans' secondary took a hit when Marshon Lattimore exited with a concussion early in the first quarter. The 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year never returned but was filled in for nicely by Justin Hardee. The second-year cornerback tallied two passes defensed and returned a red-zone interception 77 yards the other way in the third quarter. Despite Lattimore's absence, the Saints' secondary had no problem corralling the Redskins' receiving corps, which was down Josh Doctson.

This was also partially due to an impressive night from the Saints' front seven against one of the league's stouter offensive lines, particularly from Marcus Davenport. The rookie defensive end was in Smith's grill all evening, tallying a pass defensed at the line and strip-sacking the Redskins QB to kill a scoring opportunity for his second career sack. Sheldon Rankins and Cameron Jordan also tallied sacks of Smith.

  1. Taysom Hill is who the Ravens wish Lamar Jackson could be. A full-time special teamer and part-time quarterback, Hill played at least 13 offensive snaps for the second consecutive week and nearly eclipsed Kamara in rushing with 23 yards of his own. The Saints' Swiss Army man scored the first touchdown of his career, too, on a third quarter direct-snap sweep. Hill has thrilling versatility as a passing, rushing and returning threat, and if Sean Payton's playcalling is any indication, we're going to see a lot more of him going forward.
  1. After weathering another rocky start to the season, the Saints are rounding into form right as they head into the bye week. When they return, the Saints march into a buzzsaw of playoff contenders, as they are set to play the Ravens, Vikings, Rams and Bengals -- combined record of 14-5-1 -- over four weeks, with three games on the road.
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