In danger of falling three full games behind the unbeaten Buccaneers, who were on their way to a win over the Lions, the Saints came out of their game feeling much better about themselves thanks to a 19-7 victory.
The road-weary Saints, who had 10 giveaways and 27 penalties in their previous two games, found themselves on offense and defense as they made their San Antonio debut in the Alamodome.
Coach Jim Haslett's team picked up some much-needed confidence for this week's game with the 0-4 Packers in Lambeau Field as the Saints finally found a comfort zone following four straight road games.
The Saints didn't turn the ball over and were penalized only four times for 26 yards in rolling the Bills. The defense also came up big, holding Buffalo to 134 total yards after giving up 74 on the Bills' march to a touchdown on their first possession of the game.
"We played like we wanted to play," Haslett said. "We would like to do it every game, but we don't do it every game. That's how we played against Carolina (in a season-opening win), but that's not how we played the last two weeks. Our guys played football like they're supposed to do."
Left tackle Wayne Gandy said playing a "home" game made all the difference in the world.
"It was less of a circus this week," Gandy said. "We didn't have to travel, and that was huge because we've been to Carolina and New York for a Monday night game, and Minnesota. This was almost a normal week."
Big win over Bills
The Saints weren't spectacular Sunday, but doing just enough on offense and playing their best game of the season on defense was the story of their 19-7 win over the Bills.
While both the offense and defense got off to slow starts, the Saints took control of the game after the Bills drove 75 yards to a touchdown on their first possession.
Following Willis McGahee's 1-yard TD run with 9:40 left in the opening quarter, it was all Saints. The New Orleans offense piled up 333 total yards while the defense held the Bills to 134 yards in pitching a shutout over the final 54 minutes.
Aaron Brooks' 4-yard TD dash in the second quarter and four John Carney field goals were enough to support the play of the defense, which came up huge after giving up 60 total points the previous two weeks.
-- WR Joe Horn was inactive for Sunday's game with the Bills because of the left hamstring injury he sustained in the Week 3 loss to the Vikings.
-- WR Devery Henderson replaced Horn in the starting lineup against the Bills. It was the first pro start for Henderson, a second-year player who was inactive for 15 of his first 19 NFL games.
-- WR Az-Zahir Hakim returned against Buffalo after missing two games with a hamstring injury. Hakim was the third wideout even though he was on the field with Donte' Stallworth quite a bit.
-- RG Jermane Mayberry missed his second straight game with a right shoulder injury that he suffered in practice on Sept. 22.
-- RG Montrae Holland took Jermane Mayberry's place in the starting lineup for Sunday's game with the Bills.
-- SLB James Allen left the Buffalo game in the first half with an injury to his left hamstring. He will be day-to-day this week.
-- FS Mel Mitchell injured his left hamstring on the final play of the first half against the Bills and did not return to the game.
-- WLB T.J. Slaughter suffered an injury to his right groin in the first half against the Bills and did not play in the second half.
-- SS Steve Gleason injured his right thumb in the first half against the Bills but returned to the game when X-rays were negative.
-- SS Jay Bellamy was placed on injured reserve on Friday after suffering a rotator cuff injury against the Vikings. He is scheduled to have surgery this week in New York.
-- FS Josh Bullocks, the Saints' second-round draft pick this spring, made his first NFL start on Sunday against the Bills. Bullocks took the starting spot of Dwight Smith, who moved over to strong safety to replace Jay Bellamy.
-- CB Fred Booker, a first-year player from LSU, was signed from the practice squad to take Jay Bellamy's spot on the roster.
-- RCB Fakhir Brown was inactive for the third game in a row because of a bone bruise on his knee.
-- RB/KR Aaron Stecker was inactive Sunday because of a high left ankle sprain that he sustained on the opening kickoff against the Vikings.
-- TE Shad Meier, who underwent surgery on his left knee in early August, was inactive for the fourth straight game.
-- LB Alfred Fincher, who broke his right hand in the third exhibition game, was inactive for the fourth consecutive week.
-- DT Rodney Leisle was inactive for the fourth straight game.