NEW ORLEANS // Fans sitting in the upper deck of the Superdome turned their backs to the field, where the New Orleans Saints were setting franchise records, and saluted Sean Payton, the head coach, who was sitting high above in a booth with his broken left leg propped up.
He might as well have had both feet up by the middle of the third quarter.
Drew Brees completed 31 of 35 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns, and the Saints set a franchise record for points and victory margin in a 62-7 demolition of the hapless Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.
"I was real proud of how we played tonight, how we handled the week of practice," said Payton, standing on crutches after the game. "We spent a lot of time during the week just talking about us beginning to play our best football, because we really felt while we were 4-2, we hadn't done that."
Payton had called offensive plays from the sidelines since he took his first head coaching job with New Orleans in 2006, but that changed after he was caught up in a tackle along the sideline during a loss at Tampa Bay last week and was injured. Payton had surgery last Monday and did not attend a practice until Thursday.
Sitting high up in the Superdome for the game against the Colts, he had to like what he saw down below, where Pete Carmichael Jr, the offensive coordinator, called plays for the first time.
"We had a great game plan. We played with a lot of confidence. Pete did a phenomenal job," Brees, the quarterback, said. "It was just our night, one of those games that doesn't come along too often."
The Saints' point total tied the most in a game by any team since the AFL merged with the NFL in 1970.
The Saints previous franchise high for points in a game was 51 on three occasions and their largest previous victory margin was 42 over Denver in 1988.
When the large video board in the Superdome showed Payton peering out from the booth, the crowd erupted.
The winless Colts (0-7) are guaranteed to have fewer than 10 victories in a season for the first time in nine years, and at this rate they might not win many games at all.
"That team played better than we did in every area and we just got whooped across the board," Jim Caldwell, the Colts coach, said. "It's one of those things that once you don't do the little things right, there is a lot of bad things that happen to you."
* Associated Press