It wasn't Drew Brees' best day at the office, but the new and improved New Orleans Saints defense was up to the challenge against the Atlanta Falcons on opening day.
NEW ORLEANS - Call it your basic Saints vs. Falcons game. What else would you expect? Close game, Saints win, as they always seem to do under Sean Payton against Atlanta.
What you had to love was that the defense won it. While the offense did some good things, 23 points is often not enough to beat the Falcons.
The defense forced two turnovers, including the game-clinching interception by Roman Harper on a tip by Kenny Vaccaro. Of course, you must also credit the outstanding pressure by Curtis Lofton, who was pulling on Matt Ryan as he was releasing the football.
Of course, the defense set the bar high early, getting a stop on the first Falcons' possession but the Saints offense could do nothing. The defensive front, barring severe injuries, has a chance to be good, if not better. Vaccaro and Lewis help in the secondary.
Drew Brees was good, not great. Mark Ingram was far less. The offensive line has some work to do. Marques Colston is back, along with Lance Moore. Jimmy Graham is, well, Jimmy Graham. Darren Sproles is still the mighty mite. Kenny Stills can play.
This was a huge win by the Saints against a legitimate Super Bowl contender. An Atlanta loss will not hurt them much.