As I sit here watching the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, I find myself wondering what could be more painful: Watching the Saints lose the way they just did to the Broncos or getting my foot caught in a bear trap before landing eyeball first into the pointy end of an Emmy statue. I’m still deciding.
The thing is, when the Saints went down 21-3, I didn’t panic. I calmly asked the waiter at Dave and Busters for another round of the “Walk the Plank” (which I assumed on an empty stomach would be the equivalent of a horse tranquilizer.) Just before the drink arrived, I turned to the fellow Who Dat next to me and said, “Reggie will rebound and help us win this game.” Never before has “almost” being right hurt so much.
This was a statement game for our entire team. Not the cliched “must-win” but a statement game. By the end of the game, the Saints had in fact made several statements.
1. Our offense wasn’t dead in those first 9 quarters of the season. It was just on hiatus. So beware bitches, cuz when we’re hot, we’re scary good.
2. Our defense is still suspect but capable of making just as many big plays as they give up. We need to get healthy, stat.
3. We gambled by keeping Martin Gramatica and cutting Taylor Mehlhaff. We gambled and lost.
4. On 3rd and one with the game on the line, we’ve got 1 trick in our bag…and it ain’t that tricky.
Those first two bullet points account for the Saints heroic comeback from an 18 point deficit. The last two pretty much sum up how we tossed this game in the shitter. While I respect the Broncos for their goal line stance against the Saints in the first half, I have to think a defense only deserves so much kudos for responding to the exact same play run four times in a row with not even the threat of play action. Reggie Bush, the man who was living up to my prophecy by out running and shaking the hell out of the Broncos defense, was on the sidelines…for ALL four downs. So was Deuce. And it’s not that I thought Reggie could have run it up the gut any more than Pierre Thomas or Mike Karney. It’s that having him on the field would have scared the bee-jeezus out of the Broncos just enough to set up a nice play action run or a pass to the back of the end zone. I mean, it was worth a shot on at least one of the downs, right?
And what about that crucial 3rd and 1 at the end of the fourth quarter? Did anyone sense deja vu…all over again? Hey, I’m one of Pierre’s biggest fans, but when the defense stacks the box on an obvious running play, there’s about a 50/50 shot he’ll pick up the yard on 3rd and 1.
I can’t help but ask myself, “wouldn’t it be great if we had another running back to help set up the play action on these crucial 3rd downs?” Oh wait we do, don’t we? So why the hell were #25 (Bush) and #26 (Deuce) yet again on the sidelines? Why, after putting on an exhilarating offensive showing, did we decide to put our balls back in our purse when it counted? I’m not saying a reverse to Devery Henderson should have been the call. I just want some good, ole fashioned, throwing the defense off balance. Is that really too much to ask? I mean, really?
Shall I even address our little “Curly Sue” kicker? (What’s that you say Devil on my shoulder? Rip him to shreds? Oh if you insist!) You know I only winced mildly when we decided to keep Gramatica over the rookie Taylor Mehlhaff. But I trusted the coaching staff on this call and I wanted the best for you Martin, because I love an underdog story. Well underdog, it’s time we put you down. With our defense being so unpredictable and injury prone, there’s no telling how many times we’re going to call on our kicker to be Mr. Clutch. Leaving 6 points on the field in a game like this one is not just unacceptable, it’s cut-worthy. Yeah I said it…cut-worthy! I refuse to have a repeat of the Olindo Mare era. I won’t go back to that dark place.
It’s much too early in the season to start vomiting blood over the kicks to the gut we’ve experienced in back-to-back Sundays. I mean 1-2 ain’t pretty, but things could be worse. We could have been clobbered and left wondering if our offense would ever show up.
I firmly believe that once the blinding rage dissipates and the nausea subsides, we, much like the team, will walk away from this more hopeful than dissappointed. Still, it sucks to waste a good buzz and suffer through another bad hangover on a Saints loss. I ordered the “Walk the Plank”, but I shoulda had a V-8.