Refs Win, Saints Lose, And Why We’re Still Super Bowl Contenders

Where to begin? The Saints fall to the Rams. Yeah let’s start there. Hard to find happier photos with a loss like this. So enjoy the 2 I found. The referees. The refs. THE REFS!?!? But NFL incompetence aside, the Saints did little to help themselves on Sunday afternoon. Brees of course got injured. Kirkwood was injured in warmups before the game even started (Now on IR). Smith goes down with an ankle injury (TBD). LOTS of dropped passes. O line played like garbage, so the running game sucked as well. And the penalties. The penalties!

For you younger Saints pups, I’m sure by now you’ve heard stories of the “A’ints” of the past. In our old division (with the Rams no less), we were at one point, the whipping boy of the division. And that’s putting it mildly. This game last Sunday reminded me a lot of the “Old Saints”. So if anyone needed a window into the past, that was it. The rest of us did not need that reminder. But even with the old division rival Rams, we had our hay day with them in the 90’s, and we had their number too at one point at that time. I believe we won 7 straight meetings in that period. We did not last Sunday do anything like that.

Now in separate groups, but still NFC combatants, we have found a renewed rivalry in the L.A. Rams. They stole our chance at Super Bowl glory last year, and they hurt Drew Brees in our early meet up this year, soiling our chances at the title glory once again. First thought: Fuck the Rams. OK, enough pussyfooting, put on your hazmat suits and get in the irradiated stagnant pond. It’s gonna get messy, Who Dats, just warning ya.

The Recap:

Drew Brees got his throwing hand hit in a 1,000,000 to 1 sweet spot unfortunately by that talented bastard Aaron Donald. (Oh and here’s some food for thought, had Jared Cook secured the ball and not had it popped out and intercepted when he got clocked, Drew Brees wouldn’t be injured right now. Alternate universe. Different series of events. This is the importance of ball security, Jared…)

By all accounts, it could have been worse, and he’ll be back in 6 weeks or less likely, with 6 weeks being realistic. That puts him back after the bye basically. So Teddy Bridgewater stepped in, and did a good job all things considered (don’t yell at me through your screen yet, keep reading!), if it weren’t for penalties. He completed 17-30 passes for 165 yards. No that’s not great, but stepping into a game against the Rams, completing over 50% of your passes and no interceptions, is not bad given the situation. And again, unfortunately, the ball was not falling in our favor. The gameplan was falling apart. You could tell that Payton was reserving Kamara for the second half before the Brees injury. You could tell he was reluctant to throw in Taysom Hill on plays despite being down 2 receivers. But with Brees out (and eventually down two receivers as well), he was trying anything. Somehow, Michael Thomas still had 89 yards receiving in what looked like the worst game of his career.

Surprisingly, the D stepped up huge in Week 2…the first half. But last season, it took them up to week 4 to get their shit together. Progress? But this is what happens when you have a monumental foe on week 2 of the schedule. They did their part through 2 1/2 quarters, and just ran out of gas by the middle of the 3rd. We’ll never know now, but you have to wonder how much of a difference that Cam Jordan touchdown would’ve made. That would have given the Saints the lead 10-3. Would it have been enough to juice the offense and score on their last possession before the half? Would the defense have come back out in a frenzy? But instead, the 3rd quarter is when the dam burst. The offense couldn’t catch a break, whether it were dropped passes, stuffed runs, or penalties. And the defense’s gas tank had been on E since the halftime. Even though all of the touchdowns came late, the score reflected a defeated and beaten up Saints team. 9-27.

The Recline:

The kicker here is that variable for the Saints, for all of their effort, all of their hard work, is the one thing that they can’t shake: The Refs. I’m the last person to stick with the tired Refs’ bullshit from last season. I hate blaming things on the officiating, especially in a loss. But even trying to be the objective fan, even trying to be realistic, it’s beyond absurd now. Where is the accountability?!?!?

The referees screwed up for the, what, 3rd time in a row if we include the end of last season? Last week, they botched a run off on the clock that cost us 15 seconds before halftime. Lutz could’ve kicked muched closer, even within 40 yards. This week, they incorrectly blew a whistle that negated a Cam Jordan touchdown at a point where the win was still within reach. That would’ve been a huge momentum swing. Then there was the blatant face mask to Tre’quan Smith where his helmet was also ripped off of his head via the facemask…no call. Where does it end?? I think there are prop bets out now on the referees during Saints games.

The officiating is the one thing a team can never win against. You either do it to yourself or they wrong you. No one wants games decided by lopsided calls, incorrect calls, missed calls, etc. We just want fair judement calls, evenly called games, and a crew that knows the GOD DAMNED RULES IN THE GOD DAMNED RULEBOOK!!! I digress.

I don’t like people hating on Teddy after the game. There’s a lot that goes into a week of planning before a game. Do you know what’s not in the weekly plans? A separate playbook for your backup QB. So before anyone wants to hate on him (remember when y’all loved him, you fickle bastards?), let’s give Teddy a couple of games to judge him after Sean Payton has planned around Teddy’s strengths. After that, if he’s mediocre or terrible, kick him to the curb and start Taysom Hill. But for being the most expensive backup QB in the league, and that Sean Payton saw something he liked in Teddy Bridgewater, and that we all belive that Sean Payton is possibly the best offensive mind in the game, let’s see what he’s got when he’s given an honest chance. It might take a minute for everyone to adjust, but right now he’s our best shot. Support the man, don’t hate on him…yet. I’m calling it right now: Saints make it into playoffs, and Sean Payton wins Coach of the Year. Splat.

The Precline:

The Seattle Seahawks. At Seattle! Sean and Teddy got their work cut out for them Or Sean and Taysom? But what are these Seahawks now? They’re not the team from 2012-2013. That defense is all but dead. Russell Wilson is great, but shut him down, what do they have? They are 2-0, but they beat the Bengals and the Steelers without Big Ben for a whole game. And they barely won that. Pete Carroll is an overrated douche that escaped USC without punishment, but how does that help us win? The last note does not help us win, but it does remind everyone that he’s a douche and Reggie Bush and USC got fined and Bush’s heisman taken away while Carroll got nothing and started his NFL career. Just saying.

It’s always difficult to win in Seattle. It is one of the loudest venues in the NFL. Teddy has never played in Seattle. He has also never beaten Seattle. Both of those latter facts are 4 years old. There’s also no good tape on Teddy recently. Last game? Nope. Preseason? Nope. So I think there’s a sneaky advantage there, because Payton knows Seattle very well.

Legion of Boom is no more. They are a top 20 defense at best. Dan Quinn is long gone, and they’ve been steadily deteriorating. Their secondary is weak right now with backups and inexperienced players in place of injuries. Ziggy Ansah could see the field for the first time, so that would be a boost to their D line. The Saints will be bringing the Seahawks a much harder running game than they’ve encountered yet, as long as our O line plays like it should.

Russell Wilson is the hardest challenge. His quick release and ability to extend plays makes him one of the most difficult quarterbacks to defend in today’s NFL. Stop him, and you stop Seattle. Sean Payton was coyly brilliant about who will start. That is Sean Payton cloak and dagger BS to a T. He will go balls to the wall. Teddy will be the featured back, and Taysom Hill will see the field more. But this will be Teddy Bridgewater’s coming out party. It will be shaky at first, but it will improve as the game moves on. Unfortunately, it will not be his glove removal party. Look for the Saints to surprise Seattle and the NFL.

Saints 25 – Seahawks 24

**Like my blog? Hate my blog? Got questions? Hit me up with your questions and comments on Twitter @saintsrecline or email me at saintsrecline@gmail.com**

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