So. Maybe you’re wondering, “why don’t he write?” I’m sorry, I haven’t been Himself lately. Not surprisingly, I’m kinda burned out. Of course, that was the nub of Roger’s nefarious plan: simply outlast the fuckers. Once the season starts, depression will overtake anger, and we’re home free! [*soulless cackle*]
Well, problem with that, Rog. See, there’s this thing called “hope” that keeps breaking out, like psoriasis only more heartbreaking. We can’t help it: it’s our heritage. Don’t try it yourself, you’ll only get hurt. But if you want an inkling of what it’s like to be a Saints fan, just dig out the films from back around 1972. Watch the whole season. Watch it about forty times, until your eyes begin to bleed, and you realize that high-pitched keening sound that seems to come from everywhere at once is actually coming from inside your head. Then go out and buy an Aaron Brooks jersey. That’s what it’s like to be a Saints fan, Rog, but with this added fact: we’ve got a Lombardi. Or, as the French say: “Va t’faire enculer.”
And we’ve got a bad case of the hopes now, too; because all of a sudden, the Saints are starting to look familiar. Where have we seen this before? An unstoppable offensive juggernaut joined in unholy matrimony to a defense that hemorrhages yardage, but will scratch your eyes out if you come near its red zone, and has an annoying habit of stealing. Hmmm…
Maybe you really can go home again. Home being 2009.
Let’s look at the facts. Now this didn’t used to be the first resort of a Saints fan, but indulge me. First of all, these aren’t the kind of facts you’re probably used to dealing with, like “percentage of rushes on 3rd or 4th down with 2 or fewer yards to go that achieved a first down or TD” (real stat). No, I’m talking more along the lines of: it’s a fact that Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper are a pair of no-catching motherfuckers who hadn’t pulled down an interception since 2010…and yet they’ve already got three, including a pick six. Or: since starting out 0-4, the Saints have compiled a .833 win percentage against teams with a combined .533. For comparison purposes, in 2009 we went .812 against opponents who posted a combined .427. These Saints—right now, anyway—are putting up a better win percentage against stiffer competition.
Is that a reach? Yeah, I guess. So how about this:
The defense also continued to show off its uncanny ability to hold tight inside the 1-yard line Sunday, holding the Raiders scoreless after they had a first-and-goal from the 1 in the second quarter. The Saints have now held their opponents without a touchdown on 10 different occasions this season when they had either a first or second down inside the 5-yard line.
In other words: the Saints are leading the league in the ever-important testicle-gauge metric. Other teams might pile up gaudy numbers in between red zones; but once they get down close, and it’s a mano-a-mano staredown for real points, the other guys suddenly remember they have appointments with their hairdressers.
If you only read the stat lines on Monday, you probably believe the Saints are dead in the water. And hey, you might be right…it’s a long season, and suckitude is part of our heritage. But if you watch the games—and in particular, if you have a sense of history, and can therefore make sense of what you’re seeing—you have to kinda wonder if this isn’t deja vu all over again, except in reverse. Instead of inexplicably throttling down to end the season, we’ll throttle up. Has any team ever won a Super Bowl after winning their last nine games? Yes? Well, there you are.
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just hope. I have some triamcinolone diacetate…maybe that’ll work. But then, just when it’s clearing up, there’ll be another goal-line stand…