Brees passes Favre with 3 TDs, Saints crush Bengals 51-14
By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Drew Brees and the Saints rocked Paul Brown Stadium from the opening drive, scoring every time they got the ball except for the last one.
Then they cranked up the music in the locker room until the cinderblock walls were vibrating, too.
For New Orleans, it was as much fun as it gets in the NFL.
Brees threw three touchdown passes in a blistering first half, moving ahead of Brett Favre for second place on the career list, and New Orleans rolled to its eighth straight victory Sunday, 51-14 over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Then they blasted the music.
“It’s a good time,” said Brees, who was 22 of 25 for 265 yards and a near-perfect passer rating of 150.4. “We know how to have fun when it’s time to have fun.”
Brees led the Saints to touchdowns on all five first-half possessions with a nearly perfect performance — only two incompletions. His 17-yard TD to Michael Thomas with 2 seconds left in the half gave him 509 career touchdown passes, one more than Favre.
Up next: Peyton Manning’s record 539.
“If you play long enough, I guess those things happen,” Brees said. “I consider myself very grateful, very blessed.
“Just take ’em one at a time, keep plugging along, and hopefully there’s more to go”
Brees had his way with the Bengals’ historically bad defense , even diving over the pile to score a 1-yard touchdown. Cincinnati (5-4) became the first team in the Super Bowl era to give up 500 yards in three consecutive games; New Orleans finished with 509.
The Bengals matched the most lopsided defeat in franchise history and gave up the second-most points in club history. In the first half alone, the Saints piled up 311 yards and had 21 first downs on 40 plays. Brees was 18 of 20 for 214 yards with three touchdowns in the opening half.
“I’m kind of in shock after a loss like that,” linebacker Jordan Evans said.
In the last four games, the Bengals have given up 481, 551, 576 and 509 yards. They’re on pace to give up the most yards in NFL history.
“Obviously, your confidence gets shaken,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “I just addressed that with them. They have to focus and get determined. It’s their job to do it right.”
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara recognized Dez Bryant by crossing their arms after scoring touchdowns. The former Cowboys receiver signed with the Saints on Wednesday but tore an Achilles tendon in his second practice.
“Two days is not a lot of time, and yet there’s a lot of respect,” coach Sean Payton said.
The Saints sent the Rams to their first loss last week, 45-35, and kept the momentum with their highest-scoring game of the season. Ingram had 13 rushes for 104 yards, and Kamara scored twice as New Orleans picked up 244 yards on the ground.
“Look, this was a good game, but it wasn’t a perfect game,” Payton said.
Pretty close. The only time New Orleans failed to score was when it took a knee at the Bengals 31-yard line to end matters.
What’s it like playing in an offense like that?
“It’s heaven,” Kamara said.
Another encouraging sign for the Saints: Their struggling defense held in check a Bengals offense missing A.J. Green, out indefinitely with an injured toe on his right foot. Andy Dalton went 12 of 20 for 153 yards with two interceptions, including one that Marcus Williams returned 78 yards to set up Brees’ third touchdown throw.
“We all had a hand in it,” Dalton said.
It’s the fourth time the Bengals have lost a game by 37 points in their history. The club record for points allowed was 52 against Carolina in 2002. The 28 points allowed in the second quarter matched the club record.
New Orleans had allowed touchdowns on 20 of opponents’ 28 drives inside the 20-yard line, which ranked 28th out of 32 teams in red zone efficiency. The Bengals managed to get inside the 20-yard line only once, on their opening touchdown drive.
Brees has an 89 percent completion percentage when targeting Michael Thomas this season. Thomas finished with eight catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns, including a diving 7-yard catch in the end zone.
Thomas has 274 catches in 40 career games, surpassing Odell Beckham Jr., who held the mark for most receptions in NFL history through 40 outings.
Saints: LT Terron Armstead suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
Bengals: CB Dre Kirkpatrick suffered a concussion in the second quarter and didn’t return.
Saints: host the Eagles next Sunday.
Bengals: play at Baltimore next Sunday. The beat the Ravens earlier this year.
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