No, this is not a roundtable discussion about women led by Frank Sinatra. Sorry if you were misled.
But Sunday’s win at Seattle cured a broad spectrum of ills….more ills than penicillin…..than ampicillin…than Cipro….than Jim Beam. And we were hurting all over, with visions of closing windows dancing in our heads.
First, we knew this was a good Saints team – the same guys but maybe better than the team that should have been in the Super Bowl last year. The last three games involved two f-jobs and a near f-job, and then Drew Brees is out…. It’s not that doubt really crept in, but it was definitely a c’mon man situation. (As with MRSA, older Saints fans, with John Mecom-induced PTSD, are particularly susceptible.) And that Rams loss, with the Brees injury, was a gut punch. But a huge road win fixes that.
Second, for the Sean Payton-era Saints, Seattle looms like the worst nemesis, so kicking their ass in their own house was just so goddamn satisfying. Actually, the Payton Saints are 4-3 against Seattle, and 3-3 against Pete Carroll, even though 5 of the 7 games were in Seattle. But the two road playoff losses, both tough, bitterly-pitched battles, and the interim regular season drubbing in 2011-2014 made it seem like they owned us. Not any more.
Third, this was the first game of the Land Without Brees, and we came through with flying colors in a complete team effort – not perfect, but sure as shit better than what Seattle provided (other than empty yards). Payton de-pantsed Carroll in the coaching department, and Teddy Bridgewater played Professional Quarterback for 60 minutes, with 3 TD drives (one short) against no critical mistakes or turnovers in 60 minutes of nasty-ass drizzle. So maybe we’re gonna be OK.
Now, for some real perspective: this game is by itself, even if Brees had played, one of the top five significant road wins of the Payton era. I leave you to rank them:
2006 @ Dallas, 42-17: national coming-out party for the Payton era on national TV.
2009 @ Philadelphia, 48-22: in his then-10 years in Philly, even when they were rebuilding, HC Andy Reid only lost 10 games at home by 10+ points. His teams were always ready to play. Of those 10 teams that beat them, only two didn’t go at least to a conference championship, and four won the Super Bowl. We knew already in week 2 that 2009 was going to be special (ARRRRGGHHH if only I had archived the old posts….).
2013 @ Philadelphia, 26-24: first road playoff win in 47 years of franchise history. QED.
2018 @ Baltimore, 24-23: after a crushing playoff loss at Minnesota ended the previous season, a road win against a team chronically as physical as any in the league was a springboard for a run of dominance against a tough schedule, and I don’t need to repeat the ending.
2019 @ Seattle, 33-27: Up 27-7 with 12 minutes to go, it was never that close. Or even in doubt. The most comparable game to the 2009 Philly win that was a springboard to the Lombardi trophy.
I challenge you guys to improve that list.
More on the Seattle win:
Pete Carroll took over Seattle in 2010 and they got really rolling in 2012. Since the start of the 2012 season, they are a wild 45-12 at home. More amazing: in those 57 home games, they have lost exactly ONE GAME by more than one score, when the Rams jumped them 42-7 in 2017. ONE GAME in seven years that they were not in with less than a minute to go.
So many advantages, great stadium, great crowd, shit weather, strong defenses, good teams, great QB play, very good head coach (even if he is the annual winner of “the NFL head coach you would most like to punch in the dick” contest; they really should retire this one). I get it.
But ONE GAME out of 57?
I mean, Andy Reid’s track record for getting guys ready to play was good, but that’s ridiculous.
And we went in there, without being able to go home after a tough, draining, but pre-ordained road loss, back-to-back west coast road games (coaches hate the loss of control, unless they can embrace the situation like Payton), all-World quarterback replaced by that poor crippled child that Roger Goodell hid behind to announce the Saints pick in the 2013 dra….ummm, a guy who hadn’t started a real game in four years, and just punked them.
That game was never in doubt. We made a playoff team from last year, with the best home-field advantage in the league, look like every 7-9 Saints team of the Payton era: far superior QB play, a lot more yards than the other team, didn’t lose by much, and by midway through the second quarter, never really in the fucking game, with no idea where it all really got away. (You know, reading that, I just threw up in my mouth a little.)
Got-DAMN, that felt good. And all of a sudden there’s not a Saints fan alive who isn’t already ganked up and planning their drinking regimen for Sunday night’s game against Dallas.
Broad spectrum cure, indeed.
On The Spot: DC Dennis Allen. There’s a lot of young talent on this defense, and some truly great players, and potentially great players, and even the knuckleheads (ah’m lookin’ at you, PJ) play with a certain elan and make plays.
He’s already shown great creativity with Marcus Davenport (who has responded with heart and head), not just making him a bull-rusher, but putting him in a sort of Lawrence Taylor/Willie Lanier (look it up, kidz) hybrid LB position where you can’t tell if he’ll edge-rush, bull-rush a guard, or cover a back out of the backfield.
With great power, comes great responsibility. If this defense doesn’t produce big-time over the next two years, he’s either going to be an NFL career positon coach or the head coach for three brutal years at a perennial Power 5 loser before going into a career in sales. If we get it done, there’s at least one Lombardi and he’s the next golden HC candidate. No pressure, kid.
Time to go. We’re on top of the division, 2-1 against three teams that are 6-0 when they’re not playing us, 3/4 of the way through a brutal opening month the NFL league office desperately hoped would bring us down….and we’re on to Dallas.