Oct 8, 2012, 8:08 PM EDT
Saints outlast Chargers, 31-24
By Michele Tafoya
We all know the main story lines from Sunday night’s Saints win over San Diego:
Drew Brees broke one of the most remarkable records in football as his suspended coach, Sean Payton, was allowed to attend the game.
Brees set the new record against the Chargers –the team that originally drafted him and then let him go.
The Saints ended their losing streak to avoid going 0-5.
But every great quarterback usually has one or two pretty good receivers. On Sunday night, two of them were on display.
Sunday was Robert Meachem’s first time back in New Orleans since he left the Saints to join the San Diego Chargers. I spoke with Meachem by phone late last week before he traveled to Louisiana for the game.
The former Tennessee Volunteer told me me leaving the Saints was the hardest thing he ever had to do. He said, “I became a professional there. I grew up there over the course of five years.”
After being drafted 27th overall in the 2007 draft and scoring 24 touchdowns for New Orleans, the wide receiver left for greener pastures in Southern California.
Ironically, Meachem now occupies the same locker in San Diego that once belonged to Darren Sproles, who’s now one of the Saints biggest weapons.
But things began slowly for Meachem and his new quarterback, Phillip Rivers. The wideout entered Sunday night’s game having logged just 6 receptions for 92 yards on the season. Prior to Sunday night Meachem had started once in four games. In two of the four contests he didn’t catch a single pass.
“I can’t rush it,” the Tulsa native told me. “I’m human. I want (success) to happen right now. I’m getting more comfortable each and every day. I have to be patient.”
Meachem is trying to find his place among Rivers’ bevy of targets.
For starters, Rivers has a perennial pro bowl TE in Antonio Gates with whom he’s connected for 49 touchdowns — an NFL record for a QB-TE combo.
Then there’s Malcolm Floyd, who’s in his seventh season with San Diego. The 6-5, 225 receivera has a three-inch, ten-pound advantage over Meachem.
“Rivers has been with Gates and Floyd for years,” Meachem acknowledged. “If I’m a quarterback under pressure, I’d throw to those two.”
Still, Meachem said he goes to practice every day looking to earn Rivers’ trust.
On Sunday night, Meachem got his second start of the season against his old team. He showed he had earned it by scoring two touchdowns on three receptions for 67 yards. One of his catches was good for 44 yards, which tied a career high.
It was a bittersweet homecoming, however. The Saints won, and Brees broke Unitas’ record. Meachem told me before the game Brees getting the record “Would be a blessing, but then again a double-whammy. You don’t want it to happen against your team.”
Before Sunday night Devery Henderson hadn’t caught a touchdown pass in the young 2012 season.
But Sunday against San Diego he caught a ball that could wind up in Canton. Henderson was the man who caught the touchdown pass from Brees that broke Unitas’ record.
But the difference-maker for the Saints Sunday night was number 12, Marques Colston.
A week ago in the loss at Green Bay Colston caught the TD pass that tied Brees with Unitas.
I spoke with the former Hofstra standout after Friday’s practice and he told me he wasn’t even aware of the Unitas record until he watched highlights after the game.
In fact, Colston told me his first thought after scoring that history-making touchdown was, “I was hoping there was no flag.”
It was one of 22 touchdown passes Colston had caught en route to Brees tying the record.
And while Colston didn’t catch the record-breaking TD pass Sunday night, he did catch the remaining three. His final tally: Nine receptions for 131 yards and 3 TDs.
Considering Lance Moore was inactive because of a hamstring injury and TE Jimmy Graham was limited after rolling his ankle on his first catch of the game, number 12 could have been blanketed all night.
Instead, Colston proved why he remains one of Brees’ favorite targets.
Sunday Night Football TwitterView all »
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Seahawks sign RB Christine Michael http://t.co/Y6ajMuFrbi
LeSean McCoy leaves Eagles OTA with knee discomfort http://t.co/93H1zlH5Pz
Pro Bowl remains in trouble, supposedly http://t.co/8ERYqMeRGJ
McGahee absent, Moreno sidelined at Broncos' OTAs http://t.co/6tWTBETTEm
Steelers sign sixth-round pick Vince Williams http://t.co/KVFtRJNqK4
Biggest change in the offseason would be moving the start of free agency from after the Combine to before it http://t.co/EaIXwhelsX
Offseason overhaul close to happening http://t.co/EaIXwhelsX
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Chargers shielding Manti Te'o from local media until mid-June http://t.co/oDjK4p3vrH
Reshad Jones absent from start of Dolphins OTAs http://t.co/PlpaPEDbUg
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Ex-Jaguars RB Montell Owens visiting Bills http://t.co/CqDmADZBLf
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Sunday Night Football Headlines
- 2014 draft would start May 15
- Chiefs give Alex Smith some work in the pistol
- Rob Gronkowski out of surgery, infection has cleared
- Titans visit with Winston Justice, Antoine Caldwell
- PFT on NBC Sports Network: Marcus Lattimore, AFC West burning questions
- Jaguars reach deal with seventh-rounder Jeremy Harris
- Brian Cushing “pretty sure” he’ll be ready to start camp
- Mario Williams says texts to ex were blown out of proportion
- Mt. Rushmore nomination process runs the 65 Toss Power Trap
- Brandon Spikes elects to work out on his own
- Pro Bowl
- Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
- Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
- Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
- San Fransisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
- San Fransisco 49ers at New England Patriots
- Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
- Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
- Green Bay Packers at New York Giants
- New England Patriots at New York Jets
- Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
- Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons
- New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
- Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans
- San Diego Chargers as New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
- New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
- Detroit Lions at San Fransisco 49ers
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
- Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
- Super Bowl