But instead, Kyle Shanahan sent our defense back to 2015. I mean, where do we start?? That was our game. We played everything right…offensively. Both defenses were destroyed to rubble. It was like a Rocky match: two guys beating the shit out of each other with no defense. Apparently playing with backup linebackers in this Saints defense is much like building an arch without a keystone, because San Francisco attacked that spot ALL DAY and the entire defense collapsed. And even so, we owned their NUMBER ONE DEFENSE regardless. Drew Brees put in a performance, and it was squandered…yet again.
But a vicious hit on Jared Cook’s second touchdown (that player should’ve been ejected), a couple of missed 2 pt conversations, and some poor officiating (yet again) led us to the final score. I was at the game, screaming my lungs out, and it was almost an amazing win. Instead we all had to drown our sorrows in a puddle of our tears. Let’s get ho hum for a minute and then find the light at the end of the tunnel, Who Dats. C’mon, let’s go!!
This game aggravated my PTSD from the shitty defense years. A month shy of turning 41, Drew Brees looked magnificent. He was 29-40, 349 yards passing, and 5 total touchdowns. And Michael Thomas? Just 11 receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers alone should’ve had us talking all week about how Drew’s still got it, and what an amazing victory it was. Instead, it was our defense that got torn to shreds and San Francisco couldn’t be stopped either. And here we are.
It was a slugfest right out of the gate. What was readily clear very early was that our offense was methodical, taking every piece of yardage that San Fran gave us, and being smart with the football. What was also abundantly clear from the start was that the Niners were scoring at will with little resistance. Uh oh.
The first two New Orleans strikes were to Jared Cook, the second touchdown ending with a vicious hit by CB Ahkello Witherspoon that took Cook out of the game with a concussion. Cook had 2 catches and 2 TDs, and not only did that have a big effect on our passing game, but it had me feeling for Pierre Thomas all over again. I forgot how much I really dislike the Niners. And their first touchdown was a BLATANT offensive pass interference that should’ve been called on Emmanuel Sanders. I still hate the refs.
That helmet to helmet hit was flagged since it was so egregious, fans would’ve stormed the field if they didn’t call it. The new rule in this situation gives you the option to enforce the penalty on the extra point or on the kickoff. Since the kickoff would be a sure touchback, Payton opted to gamble on a 2 point conversion from their 1 yard line. The gamble did not pay off, and that would eventually play into our downfall.
By halftime, both teams had scored 4 touchdowns each, and so it was already 28-27 San Francisco. In the second half, things got uglier but the score was just going back and forth. The keys that contributed to the loss in the second half were more substantial than the missed 2 point conversion. We got an interception, but ultimately only got a field goal out of it. We then forced them to punt, only to have Kamara fumble at our 20 yard line, and the 49ers turned it into an easy touchdown. We got them to punt again, only to have us fail to convert a 4th down attempt on a fake punt because the refs don’t believe in defensive holding against the Saints, and pass interference can’t be called on a fake punt apparently, as I can now guarantee you that the entire Saints nation is aware of now…Jesus.
At the end of the game, the Saints scored a touchdown with a Brees strike to Smith, making the score 46-45 Saints. So now they HAD to go for two. Conversion failed. And with a timeout, 53 seconds, and George Kittle, they were able to do just enough (the Marcus Williams facemask penalty on Kittle helped tremendously) to get in field goal range and win. 48-46.
This game was so close in so many ways. This is what a lot of analysts call a “50/50” game. Payton talks about this sometimes. If these teams were to play each other 10 times, we’d probably win about 5. What if that OPI had been called on them in the beginning of the game? What if Cook hadn’t been taken out of the game? What if Kiko and AJ had been in at linebacker? What if the refs had called defensive holding on the fake punt call? What if Marcus had just pushed Kittle out of bounds instead of grabbing his facemask with the GI Joe kung fu grip? If even one of these moments had gone the other way, we could be talking about a Saints victory.
One of the big head scratchers of late wasn’t just in this game. Latavius Murray only ran the ball 7 times…for 69 yards!! Alvin Kamara carried the ball 13 times for 25 yards AND a fumble!! This is the third or fourth game that something similar has happened. Something is going on with Kamara, and Murray’s hot hand is getting wasted. Murray could’ve been another game changer, especially against a top 5 defense. Murray, present!!
What is much more eye opening is what the Saints did to the 49ers “number one” defense. Payton and Brees were in vintage form. They didn’t have injury excuses going into the game. San Francisco’s defense just got straight beat. Drew Brees finished the game with a QB rating of 138.4, tying his best of the season. Oh and side note: He also broke Brett Favre’s record of most completed passes in a career (6,300). But there were some other positives besides Brees and the offense. Deonte Harris was back to looking good, averaging 18.5 yards per punt return, and 51 yards per kickoff return. And somehow the defense got 6 sacks and an interception!
The biggest bummer about losing this game though is it puts the pressure back on the team and they lost control of their destiny. If the Packers and Niners lose in the next 3 weeks, the Saints will be back in first in the NFC, as long as New Orleans wins out. Let’s hope this team does it’s finest work under pressure, because nothing is guaranteed from here out.
What better way to get over a Saints loss’ hangover, than to have a Monday Night showdown in the Dome versus a weakened opponent. I’m saying “weakened” because the injury bug has hit them much harder than us, and their playoff hopes are gone. It shouldn’t take much to rattle them, even if our defense is still recovering from multiple injuries. The Saints have something to prove, and this game is where it starts.
The big difference to me is our surging #5 ranked offense (believe it or not) vs their middle of the pack defense. Our defense will be out on a mission after getting violated by Kyle Shanahan.
SAINTS 27 – COLTS 20
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