NEW ORLEANS — On their own 12-yard line with 1:09 left in the first half, there was no way Drew Brees and the Saints were simply going to run out the clock.
That’s not how their offense works, and the New York Giants weren’t putting up much resistance anyway.
Only 34 seconds elapsed before a third touchdown drive of 80-plus yards gave the Saints a 21-3 halftime lead, and they were well on their way to a third-straight win, 49-24 over the slumping Giants.
“What it comes down to is we have a lot of confidence and we play very aggressive,” Brees said. “Is there risk involved? Yes. When you do it as much as we do with the mentality we do, you make it part of the way you operate.”
Brees operated with surgical precision through most of Monday night’s matchup with New York, finishing with 363 yards and four touchdowns passing to go with one TD rushing.
Tight end Jimmy Graham had five catches for 84 yards, including touchdowns of 5 and 29 yards. Brees’ two other TDs went to Lance Moore, who had five catches for 54 yards.
“Things were just clicking tonight and seemed like anything we tried, it seemed to work,” Graham said. “Tonight was definitely a fun night.”
New York was desperate to win after losing its previous two to San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Instead, the Giants (6-5) dropped a game behind first-place Dallas in the NFC East and face the possibility of a four-game losing streak when they host the unbeaten Green Bay Packers next weekend.
The Saints (8-3), meanwhile, maintained a one-game lead over Atlanta in the NFC South.
They also padded their rushing stats with 205 yards on the ground, including touchdown runs of 12 yards by Pierre Thomas and 35 yards by rookie Mark Ingram.
“We didn’t stop them. How much further explanation do you want?” said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, whose defense was unable to sack Brees. “We prepared well, but when we got in the game we didn’t cover well. When we don’t get to the passer, we have trouble.”
The Giants took a beating on the scoreboard and on the field. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora went out with a sprained ankle and receiver Hakeem Nicks was rocked on a vicious hit by Saints rookie safety Isa Abdul-Quddus.
Nicks stayed in the game despite bruised ribs.