2011 New Orleans Saints season

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2011 New Orleans Saints season
Head coach Sean Payton
General manager Mickey Loomis
Owner Tom Benson
Home field Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Results
Record 13–3
Division place 1st NFC South
Playoff finish Won Wild Card Playoffs (Lions) 45–28
Lost Divisional Playoffs (49ers) 32–36
Pro Bowlers Drew Brees (QB)
Jimmy Graham (TE)
Jermon Bushrod (OT)
Jahri Evans (G)
Carl Nicks (G)
AP All-Pros Carl Nicks (1st team)
Jahri Evans (1st team)
Drew Brees (2nd team)
Jimmy Graham (2nd team)
Uniform
Saints uniforms12.png

The 2011 New Orleans Saints season was the franchise's 45th season in the National Football League, the 36th to host home at the Louisiana Superdome and the sixth under head coach Sean Payton. During Week 16, Drew Brees broke the single season passing record set by Dan Marino. Brees ended the season with 5,476 passing yards, an NFL record.[1] The team also broke the record for offensive yards from scrimmage with 7,474 and Darren Sproles broke the record for all purpose yards, with 2,696. The Saints also finished second in scoring for total points with 547, and finished second for points per game with 34.2 points and sacks with 24.[2][3]

The Saints improved on their 11–5 finish from a season earlier and won the NFC South Division with a 13–3 record, and went undefeated at home, so there was much talk of the Saints potentially winning a second Super Bowl in three seasons. Despite their impressive record, however, New Orleans failed to receive a first-round bye due to losing tiebreakers with the San Francisco 49ers for the #2 seed in the NFC behind the 15–1 Green Bay Packers. The Saints won their first playoff game against the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round but fell to the 49ers on a last-minute touchdown in the Divisional Playoffs. The Saints finished with a final record of 14–4.[3]

Offseason[edit]

2011 draft board[edit]

Main article: 2011 NFL Draft
Round Selection Player Position College
1 24 Cameron Jordan DE California
28 [a] Mark Ingram RB Alabama
3 72 [b] Martez Wilson LB Illinois
88 Johnny Patrick CB Louisville
7 226 Greg Romeus DE Pittsburgh
243 [e] Nate Bussey LB Illinois
^[a] The Saints acquired this first-round selection in exchange for its second-round selection (#56 overall) and a 2012 first-round selection.
^[b] The Saints acquired this third-round selection and a conditional 2012 sixth-round selection in a trade that sent OT Jammal Brown and a 2011 fifth-round selection (#155 overall) to the Washington Redskins.
^[c] The Saints traded its fourth-round selection (#121 overall) to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a 2010 fifth-round selection.
^[d] The Saints traded its sixth-round selection (#189 overall) to the New England Patriots in exchange for TE David Thomas.
^[e] Compensatory selection.

Preseason[edit]

Schedule[edit]

The Saints' preseason schedule was announced on April 12, 2011.

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 August 12 7:00 p.m. CDT San Francisco 49ers W 24–3 1–0 Louisiana Superdome Recap
2 August 20 7:00 p.m. CDT at Houston Texans L 14–27 1–1 Reliant Stadium Recap
3 August 28 7:00 p.m. CDT at Oakland Raiders W 40–20 2–1 O.co Coliseum NBC Recap
4 September 1 7:00 p.m. CDT Tennessee Titans L 9–32 2–2 Louisiana Superdome Recap

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
1 September 8 7:30 p.m. CDT at Green Bay Packers L 34–42 0–1 Lambeau Field NBC Recap
2 September 18 12:00 p.m. CDT Chicago Bears W 30–13 1–1 Louisiana Superdome Fox Recap
3 September 25 12:00 p.m. CDT Houston Texans W 40–33 2–1 Louisiana Superdome CBS Recap
4 October 2 12:00 p.m. CDT at Jacksonville Jaguars W 23–10 3–1 EverBank Field Fox Recap
5 October 9 12:00 p.m. CDT at Carolina Panthers W 30–27 4–1 Bank of America Stadium Fox Recap
6 October 16 3:15 p.m. CDT at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 20–26 4–2 Raymond James Stadium Fox Recap
7 October 23 7:20 p.m. CDT Indianapolis Colts W 62–7 5–2 Mercedes-Benz Superdome NBC Recap
8 October 30 12:00 p.m. CDT at St. Louis Rams L 21–31 5–3 Edward Jones Dome Fox Recap
9 November 6 12:00 p.m. CST Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 27–16 6–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Fox Recap
10 November 13 12:00 p.m. CST at Atlanta Falcons W 26–23 (OT) 7–3 Georgia Dome Fox Recap
11 Bye
12 November 28 7:30 p.m. CST New York Giants W 49–24 8–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome ESPN[a] Recap
13 December 4 7:20 p.m. CST[4] Detroit Lions W 31–17 9–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome NBC Recap
14 December 11 12:00 p.m. CST at Tennessee Titans W 22–17 10–3 LP Field Fox Recap
15 December 18 12:00 p.m. CST at Minnesota Vikings W 42–20 11–3 Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Fox Recap
16 December 26 7:30 p.m. CST Atlanta Falcons W 45–16 12–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome ESPN[a] Recap
17 January 1 12:00 p.m. CST Carolina Panthers W 45–17 13–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Fox Recap
LEGEND
Bold indicates division opponents.

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1: at Green Bay Packers[edit]

Week One: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 7 10 10 7 34
Packers 21 7 7 7 42

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Game information

The Saints (champions of Super Bowl XLIV) began their 2011 campaign at Lambeau Field, taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the annual NFL Kickoff Game. New Orleans trailed early in the first quarter as Packers QB Aaron Rodgers completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings. The Saints answered with quarterback Drew Brees finding wide receiver Robert Meachem on a 31-yard touchdown pass, but Green Bay struck back with Rodgers completing a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randall Cobb. New Orleans clawed their way back into the game in the second quarter with a 30-yard field goal from kicker John Kasay, followed by running back Darren Sproles returning a punt 72 yards for a touchdown. However, the Packers came right back with running back James Starks getting a 17-yard touchdown run.

The Saints led off the third quarter with Kasay's 38-yard field goal, but Green Bay replied with Cobb returning a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, New Orleans kept fighting as Brees connected with wide receiver Devery Henderson on a 29-yard touchdown pass. In the fourth quarter, the Packers replied with fullback John Kuhn getting a 1-yard touchdown run. New Orleans tried to rally as Brees found tight end Jimmy Graham on a 5-yard touchdown pass, but Green Bay's defense held stuffing a potentially game tying Ingram run on the 1-yard line on the last play of the game to preserve the win.

With the loss, the Saints began their season at 0–1.

Week 2: vs. Chicago Bears[edit]

Week Two: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 7 3 3 0 13
Saints 3 13 7 7 30

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans

Game information

Coming off a loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Saints hosted the Chicago Bears in week 2. Falling early, Drew Brees responded with a 79-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson. The Saints defense got six sacks on Jay Cutler and wore down the Bears defense to beat them 30–13. This was the first time in Drew Brees' career that he beat the Bears with the Saints. With the win, the Saints improved to 1–1.

Week 3: vs. Houston Texans[edit]

Week Three: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Texans 10 6 3 14 33
Saints 0 10 7 23 40

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

With the win the Saints improved to 2–1.

Week 4: at Jacksonville Jaguars[edit]

Week Four: New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 7 7 6 3 23
Jaguars 0 10 0 0 10

at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

Game information

With the win the Saints improved to 3–1.

Week 5: at Carolina Panthers[edit]

Week Five: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 10 10 3 7 30
Panthers 6 7 7 7 27

at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Game information

A NFC South rivalry rookie Cam Newton and Drew Brees go head to head for the first time. After an early lead Deangelo Williams starts a comeback with a 69-yard touchdown run. Former Carolina kicker John Kasay kicked two straight field goals, and then Cam Newton ran for a touchdown. Then, Cam Newton threw a touchdown pass to take the lead. Then, Drew Brees led the Saints down to the redzone and with less than a minute, threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Thomas to win the game.

Week 6: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

Week Six: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 7 3 3 7 20
Buccaneers 3 17 3 3 26

at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

  • Date: October 16
  • Game time: 4:15 p.m. EDT/3:15 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 84°F (Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 56,590
  • Referee: Jerome Boger
  • TV announcers (Fox): Ron Pitts and Jim Mora
  • Recap
Game information

Week 7: vs. Indianapolis Colts[edit]

Week Seven: Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Colts 0 7 0 0 7
Saints 21 13 14 14 62

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Date: October 23
  • Game time: 7:20 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: Played indoors (dome stadium)
  • Game attendance: 73,012
  • Referee: Scott Green
  • TV announcers (NBC): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya
  • Gamebook
Game information

With the win, The Saints improved to 5–2 In a game against the currently winless Indianapolis Colts (0–7), the Saints began the game with recovering a fumbled snap by Curtis Painter. The Saints would convert that turnover into a touchdown with a 14-yard pass from Drew Brees to Marques Colston. The Saints would continue again with a 4-yard TD pass from Drew Brees to Marques Colston. Then Delone Carter fumbled and the Saints recovered for their second fumble recovery of thee game, and their next TD of the night came with a 6-yard pass from Brees to Darren Sproles, as the Saints convert another turnover into points begin the game and end the first quarter 21–0. The Saints would continue with a Jed Collins 1-yard run and a field goal, but the Colts would score with a Delone Carter 2-yard run. The Saints would end the first half with another John Kasay field goal. The Saints would outscore the Colts 28–0 in the second half, with the Saints outscoring the Colts 14–0 in each of the second half quarters. Drew Brees would throw a 4-yard and a 2-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham. In the fourth quarter, Darren Sproles ran 16 yards for a TD, and with under 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Leigh Torrence intercepted a pass from Curtis Painter and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown as the Saints ousted the Colts 62–7 and wins the game with the most points in a single game in franchise history. Drew Brees finished the game 31/35 for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns with no interceptions. The Saints also rushed for 236 yards with 2 touchdowns, with Mark Ingram's 91 yards, Darren Sproles' 88 yards and Pierre Thomas' 57 yards. The New Orleans Saints offense gained 557 yards of total offense, and ran 73 plays, and gained 36 first downs and was also 6/8 in third-down efficiency.

Week 8: at St. Louis Rams[edit]

Week Eight: New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 0 0 7 14 21
Rams 0 17 7 7 31

at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

  • Date: October 30
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: Played indoors (dome stadium)
  • Game attendance: 57,179
  • Referee: Walt Anderson
  • TV announcers (Fox): Chris Myers and Tim Ryan
  • Recap
Game information

After a franchise record setting performance the Saints went to face another winless team, the St. Louis Rams. This time, however, the Rams pulled off one of the best upsets in the NFL season. A defense kept the Saints scoreless for the first half. The second the Rams sealed the deal with an interception return for 27 yards. With this the Saints fell to 5–3, however this would be the last time the Saints would lose in the regular season.

Week 9: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

Week Nine: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Buccaneers 0 3 3 10 16
Saints 7 10 7 3 27

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Date: November 6
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: Played indoors (dome stadium)
  • Game attendance: 73,043
  • Referee: Carl Cheffers
  • TV announcers (Fox): Dick Stockton and John Lynch
Game information

Week 10: at Atlanta Falcons[edit]

Week Ten: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
1 2 3 4 OT Total
Saints 3 7 7 6 3 26
Falcons 3 3 7 10 0 23

at Georgia Dome, Atlanta

Game information

Week 12: vs. New York Giants[edit]

Week Twelve: New York Giants at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Giants 0 3 7 14 24
Saints 0 21 14 14 49

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

Week 13: vs. Detroit Lions[edit]

Week Thirteen: Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 7 10 0 17
Saints 3 21 0 7 31

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

Week 14: at Tennessee Titans[edit]

Week Fourteen: New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 3 3 3 13 22
Titans 0 3 7 7 17

at LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee

Game information

Week 15: at Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Week Fifteen: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 7 14 14 7 42
Vikings 3 10 0 7 20

at Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Date: December 18
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: Played indoors (dome stadium)
  • Game attendance: 62,623
  • Referee: Walt Anderson
  • TV announcers (Fox): Dick Stockton, John Lynch and Jennifer Hale
  • Recap
Game information

Week 16: vs. Atlanta Falcons[edit]

Week Sixteen: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Falcons 10 0 3 3 16
Saints 7 14 10 14 45

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

During this game, Drew Brees set the record for most passing yards in a season, breaking the previous record set by Dan Marino.

Week 17: vs. Carolina Panthers[edit]

Week Seventeen: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Panthers 7 10 0 0 17
Saints 14 10 14 7 45

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

Standings[edit]

NFC South
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(3) New Orleans Saints 13 3 0 .813 5–1 9–3 547 339 W8
(5) Atlanta Falcons 10 6 0 .625 3–3 7–5 402 350 W1
Carolina Panthers 6 10 0 .375 2–4 3–9 406 427 L1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4 12 0 .250 2–4 3–9 307 494 L10

Postseason[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Playoff round Date Kickoff Opponent (seed) Results Game site TV NFL.com
recap
Final score Team record
Wild Card January 7, 2012 7:00 p.m. CST Detroit Lions (6) W 45–28 1–0 Mercedes-Benz Superdome NBC Recap
Divisional January 14, 2012 3:30 p.m. CST at San Francisco 49ers (2) L 32–36 1–1 Candlestick Park Fox Recap

Game summaries[edit]

NFC Wild Card Playoff Game: vs. #6 Detroit Lions[edit]

NFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 7 7 7 7 28
Saints 0 10 14 21 45

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

Entering the postseason as the NFC's #3 seed, the Saints began their playoff run at home in the NFC Wild Card Round against the #6 Detroit Lions, in a rematch of their Week 13 contest.

New Orleans trailed early in the first quarter with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completing a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Heller. The Saints answered with a 2-yard touchdown run from running back Darren Sproles, but Detroit replied with Stafford completing a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Calvin Johnson. New Orleans would close out the half with a 24-yard field goal from kicker John Kasay.

The Saints took the lead in the third quarter with quarterback Drew Brees finding wide receiver Devery Henderson and tight end Jimmy Graham on a 41-yard and a 3-yard touchdown pass, while the Lions tried to stay close as Stafford got a 1-yard touchdown run. Afterwards, New Orleans would pull away in the fourth quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run from Sproles, followed by Brees connecting with wide receiver Robert Meachem on a 56-yard touchdown pass. Detroit tried to rally with Stafford completing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Johnson, and following this, the Lions attempted an onside kick, but the Saints recovered the kick. The Saints were still able to drive down the field and closed out the game with a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Pierre Thomas.[5]

With the win, New Orleans improved its overall record to 14–3.

NFC Divisional Playoff Game: at San Francisco 49ers[edit]

NFC Divisional Playoff Game: New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 0 14 0 18 32
49ers 14 3 3 16 36

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

Game information

Staff[edit]

New Orleans Saints 2011 staff
Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

 

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

Strength and Conditioning

Coaching Assistants

Final roster[edit]

2011 New Orleans Saints final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 Active, 9 Inactive, 8 Practice squad

Awards[edit]

Records Set[edit]

Team Records Set or Tied[edit]

  • Most Yards Gained, Season, 7,474
  • Most Yards Gained, Passing, Season, 5,347
  • Most Passes Completed, Season, 472
  • Highest Completion Percentage, Season, 71.3
  • Most First Downs, Season, 416
  • Most First Downs, Passing, Season, 280
  • Most Points at Home, Season, 329
  • Most Points per Home Game, Season, 41.1
  • Most Points, Single Team, Game, Since AFL/NFL Merger, 62 (vs Indianapolis Colts) Oct. 23, 2011 (tied with four other teams)

Individual Records Set or Tied[edit]

Drew Brees[edit]

  • Most passing yards, season: 5,476
  • Most consecutive 300+ yards passing games: 7
  • Most consecutive 350+ yards passing games: 4
  • Most consecutive 400+ yards passing games: 2 (tied)
  • Most games, 250+ yards passing, season: 16
  • Most games, 350+ yards passing, season: 8
  • Most games, 300+ yards passing, season: 13
  • Most games, 30 or more pass attempts, season: 16 (tied)
  • Most pass completions, season: 468
  • Most consecutive games 20 completions: 36 (2009–present)[6]
  • Most games 20 completions, season: 16 (tied his own 2010 record)
  • Most games 30 completions, career: 29 (2005–present)
  • Most games 30 completions, season: 9
  • Most games 30 completions and no interceptions, career: 14 (2006–present)
  • Most games with 30 completions and no interceptions, season: 5 (tied)
  • Highest completion percentage, season: 71.2 (468 for 657)[7]
  • Most games with more than 80% pass completion rate, career (minimum 20 passes per game): 12 (2004–present)[8]
  • Most games with more than 80% pass completion rate, season (minimum 20 passes per game): 3
  • Most consecutive seasons 4000+ yards: 6 (2006–2011)
  • Most career seasons 5000+ yards: 2
  • Most games, 350+ yards passing, career: 29
  • Most Games 5+ TD Passes, Career 7, (2004–present)
  • Most Games 1+ TD Passes, Season 16 (tied)
  • Most Seasons, 45+ Touchdown Passes, 1 (tied)
  • Most Consecutive Playoff Games, 2+ Touchdown Passes 7 (tied) (2006–2011)
  • Most consecutive passes, None intercepted, post-season: 226 (January 21, 2007 – January 14, 2012)
  • Most games with 400 yards passing and no interceptions, career 4 (tied)
  • Most games with 5 touchdown passes and no interceptions, career 5 (2004–present)
  • Most games with 30 completions and no interceptions, career 14 (2006–2011)
  • Passing Yards in a single month 1,687 (October 2011)

Darren Sproles[edit]

  • Most yards gained, total, season: 2,696

Notes and references[edit]