Sometimes, you drink yourself under the table and lose entire weeks (well, some of us do this, anyway). Other times, you accomplish the same effect through ordinary life. It’s been weeks since I posted anything? Really? Where was I?
That’s not rhetorical. Where was I? Anyone know? Did I miss much?
Not that it would have mattered, because living as I do in Panthers territory, getting Saints games is an iffy proposition. Getting them in the midst (or toward the end) of a lost season only serves to make it less likely. But this season, though it was lost, wasn’t lost by all that much. I could probably point to ten plays that, had they happened differently, would have turned any late-season Saints game into a must-watch. What the hell, I think I will…
1. No-covering motherfuckers whiff on Pierre Garcon. In Week One, the Redskins are backed up to their own 12. In the first one-play scoring drive of the 2012 campaign, the Saints allow Garcon to slice across the entire defense for an 88-yard touchdown. Little did we know that this would set the tone for the entire season.
2. Roman Harper converts on 4th down. Later in that same game, with the Saints trailing by 6 in the third quarter (although they might have been ahead by 1 at that point), Harper commits pass interference on a fourth-down incompletion. So they say. The drive ends in a Washington touchdown.
3. Drew Brees throws TD pass to Charles Godfrey. In Charlotte, following a first-possession touchdown and a defensive stop, Brees hits Godfrey in stride for the score. One caveat: Godfrey plays for the Panthers. The score opens a window of opportunity for the Panthers.
4. and 5. No-covering motherfuckers ignore Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell. Second quarter, Saints ahead 13-7. Panthers face 3rd and 15 at their own 33. Can the Saints hold them? It is to laugh: Steve Smith for 35 yards. The drive culminates in a touchdown. Later in the same quarter, Saints trailing 14-13, the Panthers face a 3rd and 10 at the same spot. Can the Saints hold them? It is to laugh: Brandon LaFell for 19 yards. The drive culminates in a touchdown.
5. No-tackling motherfuckers whiff on Jamaal Charles. Late in the third, ahead 24-3, the Saints defense allows Charles to stroll 91 yards for a touchdown, and the whole game unravels.
6. Dave Thomas nullifies a field goal. Behind 28-27 at Lambeau Field, the Saints drive to the Packer 25, where Garrett Hartley kicks the winning field goal. Except, ahem, “holding, number 85, offense.” The next kick sails wide left, and the Packers run out the clock.
7. Drew Brees throws TD pass to Ahmad Brooks. Thirty-one seconds left in the half. Brees hits Jimmy Graham across the middle at the fifty…but it ain’t Graham, and fifty yards later a Saints lead evaporates against San Francisco. That’s only a 7-point swing in a game we lost by 10…but I believe the second half would have unfolded differently if the 49ers hadn’t tied it up at the end of the first. And, what the hell, we might actually have scored ourselves.
8. The Block. Against Atlanta, just before the half, Brees completes a short pass to Darren Sproles, who saunters into the end zone to cut the Falcons’ lead to three. But Jimmy Graham threw a block a moment too soon, and the score is called back for offensive interference. The Saints would not score at all.
9. The Drop. Brees hits a wide-open Lance Moore in the end zone. Lance drops it. The Saints kick a field goal. They lose four points on the play—which, combined with Graham’s penalty, deprives the Saints of 11 points in a 10-point loss. It wasn’t Drew’s five interceptions which doomed the Saints in this game, but those two plays.
Sorry, I’m a play short…which only makes it worse. Nothing, but nothing, would have helped against the Broncos or the Giants. Just pour yourself an extra drink (or three) to target the rogue brain cells that still contain the memories of those two games. But still, if those nine plays above had turned out differently, the Saints would be at 13-2 right now, a game ahead of Atlanta with all the tie-breakers. We’re talking sitting the starters against Carolina. Remember how it turned out the last time we did that?
That’s how close we actually came this year. Nine plays.
Instead, here I am in Asheville, not watching the Saints destroy the Bucs and eke out a win against Dallas, because by Week 15 the Saints were irrelevant. That Cowboys game, by the way, should have clinched it all for the Saints; instead, that was the week they were eliminated.
Luckily, everyday life intervenes. We get so busy being caught up in reality that sometimes we find little time for the important things, like Saints football. And then something like Christmas comes along and sucks the life out of everything. Actually, I’m not complaining. I had a great Christmas. So did Herself. And she came back from a trip to visit her parents with some fond memories of the Tampa Bay game, and a frameable, unused block of Saints season tickets from 1985 (see above photo), which will soon occupy a spot on my wall. Where, seeing as how they went 5-11 that year, it will serve to remind me that all glory is fleeting.
Blogs are fleeting, too. I’m going to shut this one down for awhile. Nothing interesting is likely to happen, anyway…and frankly, I’m dog tired. And I have so many other things to do. So does Herself. But y’all feel free to pop by from time to time; and if anyone can think of a conversation that needs to be had, just suggest it, and I’ll make it a post.