2011 New Orleans Saints season
OwnerTom Benson
General managerMickey Loomis
Head coachSean Payton
Home fieldMercedes-Benz Superdome
Division place1st NFC South
Playoff finishWon Wild Card Playoffs
(vs. Lions) 45–28
Lost Divisional Playoffs
(at 49ers) 32–36
Pro BowlersQB Drew Brees
TE Jimmy Graham
T Jermon Bushrod
G Jahri Evans
G Carl Nicks
AP All-ProsG Carl Nicks (1st team)
G Jahri Evans (1st team)
QB Drew Brees (2nd team)
TE Jimmy Graham (2nd team)

The 2011 season was the New Orleans Saints' 45th in the National Football League (NFL), their 36th playing home games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and their sixth under head coach Sean Payton. In Week 16, Drew Brees broke the single-season passing record previously held 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]


2011 draft

Main article: 2011 NFL Draft

Round Selection Player Position College
1 24 Cameron Jordan DE California
28 [a] Mark Ingram II 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.



Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 August 12 San Francisco 49ers W 24–3 1–0 Louisiana Superdome Recap
2 August 20 at Houston Texans L 14–27 1–1 Reliant Stadium Recap
3 August 28 at Oakland Raiders W 40–20 2–1 O.co Coliseum Recap
4 September 1 Tennessee Titans L 9–32 2–2 Louisiana Superdome Recap

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 8 at Green Bay Packers L 34–42 0–1 Lambeau Field Recap
2 September 18 Chicago Bears W 30–13 1–1 Louisiana Superdome Recap
3 September 25 Houston Texans W 40–33 2–1 Louisiana Superdome Recap
4 October 2 at Jacksonville Jaguars W 23–10 3–1 EverBank Field Recap
5 October 9 at Carolina Panthers W 30–27 4–1 Bank of America Stadium Recap
6 October 16 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 20–26 4–2 Raymond James Stadium Recap
7 October 23 Indianapolis Colts W 62–7 5–2 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap
8 October 30 at St. Louis Rams L 21–31 5–3 Edward Jones Dome Recap
9 November 6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 27–16 6–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap
10 November 13 at Atlanta Falcons W 26–23 (OT) 7–3 Georgia Dome Recap
11 Bye
12 November 28 New York Giants W 49–24 8–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap
13 December 4 Detroit Lions W 31–17 9–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap
14 December 11 at Tennessee Titans W 22–17 10–3 LP Field Recap
15 December 18 at Minnesota Vikings W 42–20 11–3 Mall of America Field Recap
16 December 26 Atlanta Falcons W 45–16 12–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap
17 January 1 Carolina Panthers W 45–17 13–3 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap

Game summaries

Week 1: at Green Bay Packers

Week 1: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 7 10 10734
Packers 21 7 7742

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Game information

The Saints 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

Week 2: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bears 7 3 3013
Saints 3 13 7730

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. In this rematch of the NFC Championship Game 5 seasons earlier, 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

Week 3: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Texans 10 6 31433
Saints 0 10 72340

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

With the win the Saints improved to 2–1.

Week 4: at Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 4: New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 7 7 6323
Jaguars 0 10 0010

at EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

Game information

With the win the Saints improved to 3–1.

Week 5: at Carolina Panthers

Week 5: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 10 10 3730
Panthers 6 7 7727

at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Date: October 9
  • Game time: 1:00 pm. EDT/12:00 pm. CDT
  • Game weather: 68 °F or 20 °C (Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 72,679
  • Referee: John Parry
  • TV announcers (Fox): Dick Stockton and John Lynch
  • Recap
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

Week 6: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 7 3 3720
Buccaneers 3 17 3326

at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

  • Date: October 16
  • Game time: 4:15 pm. EDT/3:15 pm. CDT
  • Game weather: 84 °F or 28.9 °C (Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 56,590
  • Referee: Jerome Boger
  • TV announcers (Fox): Ron Pitts and Jim Mora
  • Recap
Game information

The Saints lose to the Buccaneers following an injury Sean Payton sustained during a sideline collision.

Week 7: vs. Indianapolis Colts

Week 7: Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Colts 0 7 007
Saints 21 13 141462

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Date: October 23
  • Game time: 7:20 pm. CDT
  • Game weather: None (indoor stadium)
  • Game attendance: 73,012
  • Referee: Scott Green
  • TV announcers (NBC): Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya
  • Gamebook
Game information

The Saints hosted the Colts in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIV. 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 the 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

Week 8: New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 0 0 71421
Rams 0 17 7731

at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

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 biggest upsets in this NFL season, as their defense kept the Saints scoreless during the first half, and then the Rams sealed the deal with a 27-yard interception return for. With this defeat 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

Week 9: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Buccaneers 0 3 31016
Saints 7 10 7327

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Date: November 6
  • Game time: 12:00 pm. CST
  • Game weather: None (indoor stadium)
  • Game attendance: 73,043
  • Referee: Carl Cheffers
  • TV announcers (Fox): Dick Stockton and John Lynch
Game information

Week 10: at Atlanta Falcons

Week 10: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
Period 1 2 34OTTotal
Saints 3 7 76326
Falcons 3 3 710023

at Georgia Dome, Atlanta

Game information

Week 12: vs. New York Giants

Week 12: New York Giants at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Giants 0 3 71424
Saints 0 21 141449

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

Week 13: vs. Detroit Lions

Week 13: Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Lions 0 7 10017
Saints 3 21 0731

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

Week 14: at Tennessee Titans

Week 14: New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 3 3 31322
Titans 0 3 7717

at LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee

Game information

Week 15: at Minnesota Vikings

Week 15: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 7 14 14742
Vikings 3 10 0720

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

  • Date: December 18
  • Game time: 12:00 pm. CST
  • Game weather: None (indoor 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

Week 16: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Falcons 10 0 3316
Saints 7 14 101445

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

Week 17: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Panthers 7 10 0017
Saints 14 10 14745

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information


NFC South
(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


Main article: 2011–12 NFL playoffs


Playoff round Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Game site NFL.com
Wild Card January 7 Detroit Lions (6) W 45–28 1–0 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap
Divisional January 14 at San Francisco 49ers (2) L 32–36 1–1 Candlestick Park Recap

Game summaries

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

NFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Lions 7 7 7728
Saints 0 10 142145

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

NFC Divisional Playoff Game: New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 0 14 01832
49ers 14 3 31636

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

Game information


New Orleans Saints 2011 staff
Front office
  • Owner/president – Tom Benson
  • Owner/executive vice president – Rita Benson LeBlanc
  • Executive vice president/general manager – Mickey Loomis
  • Director of football administration – Khai Harley
  • Director of pro scouting – Ryan Pace
  • Director of college scouting – Rick Reiprish
  • Assistant director of college scouting – Brian Adams

Head coaches

Offensive coaches


Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Head strength and conditioning – Dan Dalrymple
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Charles Byrd
  • Weight room assistant – Robert Wenning

Final roster

2011 New Orleans Saints final roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
53 active, 7 inactive, 8 practice squad





Drew Brees

Darren Sproles

Notes and references

  1. ^ NFL.com: Drew Brees
  2. ^ Mayer, Larry (January 16, 2013). "Bears hire Kromer as offensive coordinator, line coach". Chicago Bears. Archived from the original on September 22, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "2011 New Orleans Saints Statistics & Players".
  4. ^ http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/11/21/lions-saints-on-nbc-week-13/ Lions-Saints on NBC Week 13
  5. ^ "Fapigame.AwayTeam.FullName at fapigame.HomeTeam.FullName fapigame.Season fapigame.SeasonType fapigame.Week - Game Center".
  6. ^ as of completion of 2011 season
  7. ^ "NFL Pass Completion % Single-Season Leaders".
  8. ^ "Player Game Finder".