Saints Moving On … Again

The Saints are trying to adjust to life on the road – for the entire season.

Now that they have their "home" opener out of their system, the Saints would do well to focus on the remainder of the season.

The Saints will go into Sunday's matchup with the Minnesota Vikings with a huge chip on their shoulder following Monday night's 27-10 loss to the New York Giants in Giants Stadium.

While they tried to put on a brave face when the NFL office moved the home game from the hurricane-ravaged Superdome to the Meadowlands, the Saints were still angry the day after falling to the Giants.

But in the words of Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who used the phrase many times when he was at LSU, "it's time to move on."

No one, however, had to tell coach Jim Haslett that. He and his team know they have to put it behind them quickly because of the short week even though the Vikings are winless after two games.

While their next opponent is 0-2, the Saints remember the beating they took from the Vikings last October in a nationally televised game in the Superdome. Minnesota rolled up 605 total yards, a single-game record total against a New Orleans defense in the then-38-year history of the franchise, and claimed a 38-31 win.

The Saints were coming off an emotional 23-20 season-opening victory at Carolina and a week of trying to settle more permanently into San Antonio while preparing to play the Giants.

"This was a hard week from the standpoint that we moved into our fourth complex and guys were out trying to find homes this week, guys were trying to get their cars this week and get their families in here this week," Haslett said. "It was a long week and that with the buildup of the game and what it meant just made it a hard week.

"Hopefully we are over that now and we can move on. It was a great learning experience for this team. We just didn't play well on the field and didn't handle the situation very well. We didn't take care of the opportunities we had yesterday also, and the Giants played well. Give them credit, they played a great game."

The biggest problem against the Giants was turnovers, but penalties were a close second. Six turnovers led to 17 points for the Giants and 13 penalties for 92 yards also stung the Saints, who gave away numerous scoring chances - including having a 29-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright.

Haslett said all that couldn't be blamed on the circumstances, extraordinary as they were. And he knows he has to get his team ready for 14 more games - including 11 away from their temporary headquarters in San Antonio. The rugged slate includes Sunday's game in the Metrodome.

"This team kind of lives day-to-day right now," Haslett said. "We practice day-to-day, we work day-to-day, then we get on a plane and fly to the next place. That is kind of what we do.

"I don't think anybody has ever traveled to 13 games. Hopefully we will handle it a little better than (Monday) because we didn't handle it very well."

SAINTS NOTES

  • As if a 27-10 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night wasn't bad enough, the Saints took a major hit when wide receiver Michael Lewis was lost for the season after injuring his left knee on a kickoff return.

    Lewis, an All-Pro in 2002 when he set an NFL record with 2,432 combined kick return yards tore the medial collateral (MCL) and posterior collateral (PCL) ligaments and will have surgery next week. Lewis' foot got caught in the turf at Giants Stadium and the knee buckled with no one touching him.

    "He has the all-time record for total return yards in a season, so it is a shame it happened to him," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "It was unfortunate, but we have guys who can pick up the slack and we won't miss a beat. But it is a shame because I feel sorry for Michael."

    With Lewis out, wide receiver Donte Stallworth becomes the primary punt returner with Az-Zahir Hakim maybe getting a shot when he gets over a hamstring injury. Running back Aaron Stecker will return kickoffs.

  • Four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn reached a personal milestone in the contest with the Giants, and he did it in style. His fourth catch of the night, a 21-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter, gave him 500 receptions for his 10-year NFL career.

    Horn had nine receptions in the game and now has 505 for his career, with 452 of them coming since joining the Saints as an unrestricted free agent in 2000.

  • Shortly after Horn recorded his 500th career reception, second-year wide receiver Devery Henderson caught his first NFL pass — a 13-yarder from Aaron Brooks.

    Henderson, a second-round draft pick in 2004, was active for only two games and played in one last season. He added two more catches in the second half and finished the game with three receptions for 42 yards.

  • Horn caught nine passes for 143 yards against the Giants and Donte Stallworth added eight receptions for a career-high 141 yards — giving the Saints dual 100-yard receivers for only the fourth time in club history.

    The last time it happened was on Dec. 3, 2000 when Horn had 170 yards and Robert Wilson added 122 yards against the Denver Broncos in the Superdome.

    Horn now has 25 100-yard receiving games in five-plus seasons with the Saints.

  • The Saints had six turnovers on three fumbles and three interceptions in Monday night's 27-10 loss to the Giants, which ended their five-game winning streak dating to last season.

    In a four-game winning streak to end the 2004 season that helped them finish 8-8, the Saints had a total of five turnovers (four interceptions and one fumble).

  • Since they were officially the home team in Monday night's game with the Giants, the Saints now have an 18-23 record at "home" since Jim Haslett took over as coach in 2000. They are 25-16 on the road.

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