NEW ORLEANS - Playing at home in primetime seems to bring out the best in the New Orleans Saints under sixth-year coach Sean Payton.
The Saints ran their home record on national television under Payton to 10-4 with a convincing 49-24 win against the slumping New York Giants on Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
That 71.4 percent winning percentage includes a franchise scoring-record 62-7 victory against the winless Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 last month.
It bodes well for the NFC South-leading Saints (8-3), who play twice more at home in primetime this season - against the Detroit Lions at 7:20 p.m. Sunday (NBC) and the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 26 (ESPN).
Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for 363 yards against the Giants, marking the 52nd time he’s had at least 300 yards in a game.
Brees snapped a tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, who had 51 300-yard games in his career, and is now tied with Kurt Warner for fourth place on the NFL’s all-time list.
Only Peyton Manning and Dan Marino (63 each) and Brett Favre (62) have more 300-yard outings than Brees and Warner.
Evans rolls on
All-Pro right guard Jahri Evans started his 91st straight regular-season game Monday night, tying the club record for consecutive starts to begin a career with the Saints.
Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson set the Saints’ record with 91 starts in a row, a streak that ran from 1981 to 1987.
Vilma out again
Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee earlier this month, missed his third straight game.
Vilma was able to return to practice on a limited basis this week but was held out of Friday’s workout. At the time, he was listed as questionable for the game by coach Payton and Monday night was listed as one of the team’s seven inactives about 90 minutes before kickoff.
Besides Vilma, the Saints other inactives were defensive end Turk McBride (ankle), running back Chris Ivory, cornerback Johnny Patrick, wide receiver Adrian Arrington, tackle William Robinson and tight end Michael Higgins.
Inactives of note for the Giants were four starters - running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring), tackle Will Beatty (eye/back) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee).
Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return, while wide receiver Hakeem Nicks returned after suffering a rib contusion in the third quarter.
The Giants have three players on their roster with ties to Louisiana.
Quarterback Eli Manning, of course, is a native of New Orleans who was playing for the second time in his hometown as a pro.
He was joined in the starting lineup by running back Brandon Jacobs, a native of Napoleonville, and cornerback Corey Webster, a Vacherie native who played at LSU and won a BCS title with the Tigers in the Superdome in 2003.
Jones on sideline
Former LSU two-sport star Chad Jones, a third-round draft pick of the Giants in 2010, helped lead the team out of the tunnel and onto the field before the game.
Jones badly injured his left leg in a one-car accident in New Orleans two months after being drafted and continues the long rehab process with the hope of going to training camp with the Giants next summer.
Ten prominent members of the local sports media and public relations field were recognized with their names etched into small plaques that were affixed to a glass partition on the third row of the press box.
The honorees were Peter “Champ” Clark, Bill Curl, Buddy Diliberto, Peter Finney, Hap Glaudi, Wayne Mack, Bruce Miller, Bob Roesler, Jerry Romig and Frank Wilson, a longtime Saints correspondent in the 1970s and ‘80s for The Advocate and the old State-Times.
With the win, the Saints are 3-3 in their first game after an open date since Payton took over in 2006. It was their third win in a row following a week off. ? The Saints are now 8-2 on Monday Night Football under Payton, winning their last six. ? Brees now has at least one touchdown pass in 38 straight games - leaving him just nine shy of Johnny Unitas’ NFL record of 47 consecutive games.
Sheldon Mickles and Brian Allee-Walsh contributed to this report.