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New Orleans Saints 37 - 32 San Diego Chargers

by Eircom (U10768721) 27 October 2008
Date:
26 October 2008
Venue:
Wembley
Attendance:
82,226
Player of the match:
Drew Brees
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The second game played out of North America was an affair to remember after last year's disappointing game. The pre-game entertainment featured a British flavor with a performance by rock band Stereophonics. American R&B singer Ne-Yo sang the national anthem, with British soul diva Joss Stone performing "God Save the Queen."

Drew Brees went 30-for-41 for 339 yards and three touchdown passes against his former team to lead the Saints to a 37-32 win over the Chargers, putting New Orleans back at .500 and dropping San Diego to 3-5.

The Saints (4-4) held off a late comeback by the Chargers, who came from 37-20 down early in the fourth quarter and were driving for the tying touchdown when linebacker Jonathan Vilma picked off a pass by Philip Rivers with just over a minute to go. Brees took a safety in the final seconds to complete the scoring.

The game turned into a shootout between Brees and Rivers, his former backup in San Diego, as both teams had more than 400 yards of offense.

Brees, who played his first five seasons for the Chargers before signing as a free agent with New Orleans before the 2006 season, faced his former teammates for the first time.

"This game was not about me proving a point or proving anybody wrong or saying they shouldn't have let me go," Brees said. "We beat a very good team today that needed a victory as badly as we did."

The Saints bounced back from last week's loss to the Panthers and coped just fine without star back Reggie Bush, who underwent surgery on his injured left knee earlier this week.

"It was an important win," coach Sean Payton said. "I thought our players did a good job of handling some of the distractions, and some of the things that come up after a tough loss, and certainly the injuries. We were able to put that aside and still play a good team and get a win today, and that's encouraging."

San Diego's defense never found a way to contain Brees.

Coming into the game leading the NFL with 2,224 yards passing, Brees exploited the Chargers' vulnerable secondary.

"We really just opened up the playbook today and called all the things we feel good about," he said.

"The whole experience was a lot of fun, except the outcome of the game," Rivers said. "It's a tough one to swallow, and 3-5 with a 13-hour flight ahead of us doesn't make it any better."

The Chargers also got a big game from LaDainian Tomlinson, who shrugged off a recent toe injury to rush for 105 yards on 19 carries and catch a touchdown pass. It was only his second 100-yard effort in 12 games, and the 47th of his career.

But it was Brees' performance that Tomlinson wanted to talk about.

"I was sitting on the sideline watching him working his magic, and I kept on just thinking 'When is he going to miss one?"' Tomlinson said.

The Chargers, who trail Denver (4-3) in the AFC West, go home for a bye week.

"I think mentally and physically that will help us," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "We have an eight-game season coming up. We'll get back and get ready for that."

The Chargers hurt themselves with penalties, getting flagged 14 times for 134 yards. They also had a touchdown called back by a penalty and what looked like a 73-yard touchdown pass went through the hands of Vincent Jackson on their opening drive of the second half.

The Saints were the "home" team and the London crowd responded by giving them loud support and waving black New Orleans pennants.

After last year's muddy mess, there were fears that London's notorious wet weather could ruin things again. There was a steady rain Sunday morning and early afternoon, but the showers ended by game time.

"I thought it was what the fans here wanted to see," Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo said. "I thought they wanted a high-scoring game. I thought they wanted to see the ball being thrown. I thought they wanted to see amazing athletes making amazing plays, and that's what they got."

After the teams traded field goals in the first quarter, they scored 34 points in the second quarter. Brees threw TD passes to Devery Henderson (12 yards) and Lance Moore (30 yards), while Rivers responded with 12-yard scoring throws to Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. McAllister had a 1-yard TD run as the Saints led 23-17 at the half.

The Saints went up 30-17 in the third quarter on Brees' 1-yard pass to Mark Campbell. Rivers had a 5-yard TD pass to Brandon Manumaleuna negated when guard Kris Dielman was flagged for holding. The Chargers settled for a 24-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding, making it 30-20.

Mike Carney went over from 1 yard to make it 37-20. After a 31-yard field goal by Kaeding, the Chargers recovered an onside kick and Rivers threw a 14-yard TD pass to Jackson with 7:29 to play to get within a touchdown.

On the next drive, Brees appeared to be intercepted by Eric Weddle, who stepped in front of Billy Miller. After a review, however, it was ruled that Weddle did not have control of the ball.

Latest 10 comments

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comment by CS (U13260344)

posted Oct 28, 2008

Jolshop a fair and reasoned arguement and when this happens the out come is normally mutual respect. Well DOne.

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posted Oct 28, 2008

Jolshop a fair and reasoned arguement and when this happens the out come is normally mutual respect. Well DOne.

----------------------------

nice to see your not at all patronising either!

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comment by CS (U13260344)

posted Oct 28, 2008

sorry, wasn't meant to sound like that.

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posted Oct 28, 2008

"...there is somehting horribly whinny and arrogant about the american national anthem and the respect it gets."

The American anthem is not arrogant or warmongering. It tells of a highly emotional moment in US history when the war with the British was being fought and of one man's relief in seeing the US flag still flying after a vicious bombardment.

Later, when the US and Britain became friends, we took out the lines about the blood of the British washing away their "foul footprints". But in our defense we recognized you were "hirelings and slaves" to your Masters -your kings and queens and Lords. We're friends now. The British Empire is dead. You've learned from your former subjects and have democracy and freed your dominions -- India, etc. Welcome to the free world. Some of us are proud of it. Whether or not you are, I'm sure you are enjoying it.

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posted Oct 28, 2008

The British Empire is dead. You've learned from your former subjects and have democracy and freed your dominions -- India, etc. Welcome to the free world. Some of us are proud of it. Whether or not you are, I'm sure you are enjoying it.

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being an american, I doubt you can appreciate the hilarious irony of your comments.

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comment by CS (U13260344)

posted Oct 28, 2008

Look i love the free world, and as such i should be allowed to say that i hate the american national anthem.

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posted Oct 28, 2008

Hmmm...seems the BBC moderator didn't let me respond to you yet. I change my mind about you living in the free world. You get your news from a quasi-governmental corporation that must not have liked my friendly zingers. I'm too lazy to retype and try again. It would take a lot of time to help you get your mind right anyway. You may want to seek help in your local community for your need for detachment. Meanwhile I'll keep loving the USA, best little country on Planet America.

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comment by CS (U13260344)

posted Oct 28, 2008

So im weird for not giving up my entire life for a nation that was an accident of birth. No chance mate. I like Welsh rugby and welsh football and Wales however im willing to call myself Welsh but not to be all weird american patriotic about it.

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posted Oct 28, 2008

I'm not saying you are weird. I'm "kidding" mostly. It's what we do instead of irony. Look I'm not driving a pickup with a bazooka hanging on my back window with a confederate flag hanging above my American flag. Your original post didn't say anything about weird American patriotism. I'm not cool with jingoism, nationalism, racism, etc either. But a blanket statment that our anthem about surviving a BRITISH ATTACK was arrogant needed a response. People (not saying you) just don't understand that song. They think of rockets being the 4th of July. They were British Congreve Rockets designed to kill people. "We" survived the bombardment and were happy about it and someone wrote a song. Its not an arrogant war song. I guess being afraid to die or be conquered is kind of whiny if you want to look at it that way. I love Welshland. That's near Loch Ness right. The place with all the Leprechauns? cool...

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