I had composed a long rant on the Saints’ loss to the Falcons; but after spending a couple days in reflection, I hadn’t the heart to post it. Sure, there was a lot to rant about: interceptions, dropped passes, whiffed blocks, whiffed tackles, bad clock management, and in general a complete lack of that “sense of urgency” that Drew spoke about so feelingly, so convincingly before actually, you know, taking the field. As a fan, I was hurt, incensed, affronted.
Still: that’s no reason for snark like “This game was brought to you by the letter L and the number 5. Was it?
I mean, why do we love the Saints? In actual fact, they’re just a bunch of guys working for—let’s face it—a pretty soul-less corporation, and getting paid beaucoup bucks even when they fail. Even when they fail epically. Why cheer for that? And why not let ‘em have it when they let us down?
Because they’re family, that’s why. Even if only by adoption, they’re still part of that strange entity that’s part blood, part habit, and part self-delusion, but which makes our lives larger and richer than they could have been by themselves. It’s fine for us to call Uncle Edgar a worthless souse and no gentleman, but no outsider had better let those words escape his lips in our company, or there will be consequences. Because Uncle Edgar…well, he is a worthless drunk, but he’s Uncle Edgar. So back off, pindick.
It’s the same with the Saints. I can say that Drew’s brain was farting like a Trabant running on coal oil, but then someone in a Rodney White jersey might overhear. It would give him occasion to snigger and just in general have a better day, and we wouldn’t want that.
No, decorum calls for a more somber approach, because in fact this is the end of the season, the funeral of our Lombardi hopes and our dreams of revenge against Darth Perfidious. Yeah, sure, maybe they’ll go
11-5 10-6 9-7 and still make the playoffs. Go ahead and believe that, if it makes the nights shorter for you. And maybe your parran left you his secret undermattress stash of Hubigs pies and vintage porn. Wanna bet?
Personally, I’m over it now. These things happen. All things must pass, and all that. Besides, there’s always next season. And besides, still, I refuse to believe until I see it happen (and I won’t, because it won’t) that the Falcons are a Super Bowl team. Because know what? To quote the estimable Rodney White:
“It wasn’t nothin they did.”
That Rodney, what an orator. But though he was wrong when he said it (we kicked your asses, Rodney), his words are applicable, in reverse, to this latest game. Because despite five interceptions from the highest-paid player in the entire NF of L, we still outplayed those lucky poseurs from the City Too Dumb To Be Ashamed. The Falcons’ defense didn’t force Jimmy Graham to throw a pointless block a second too soon. They didn’t force a wide-open Lance Moore to drop a sure scoring strike. They didn’t force Drew Brees to check the ball down in the middle of the field instead of throwing it away. And though they pretty much earned their turnovers and their sacks, all those plays still wouldn’t have been enough if the Saints—the real Saints—had actually showed up.
And they know it.
The Saints outplayed the Falcons all night after the opening drive. More yards, more first downs, better average gain, better 3rd down conversion rate. We even blew Atlanta out of the dome in time of possession, for pizza’s sake. All for naught, because at critical moments—and I’m not including any of the interceptions in this—the Saints failed to make the plays that the Falcons couldn’t stop them from making.
So, no. The Atlanta Falcons aren’t going anywhere in February. They’ll win the division and the first seed. They’ll get a bye, and then likely they’ll draw the Giants or the Bears in their first playoff game, and lose 56-3. Because that’s who they are. And Saints fans will mourn their stillborn season, and then get busy humping up a new one for next year and having a fine time doing so, because that’s who we are.
In the meantime, the bar’s open, and drinks are on the house. We’re all family here. What’ll ya have? Hey, no humping on the tables.