Not since Hakim dropped the ball has a Saints-Rams match-up given me such severe heart palpitations. Sunday’s game in St. Louis was everything I feared it would be and it underscored what we already knew: the Saints have a bulls-eye on their backs. Every team, particularly those with nothing to lose, will play us with a higher level of intensity from here on out. They want to be the team that dethrones us. They yearn to be the SportsCenter highlight. Yet the Saints keep finding ways to win despite going up against their biggest opponent yet, themselves.
These Saints players are breaking their backs trying to balance what you have to imagine are swelling heads. After all, they are the darlings of the media, they’re undefeated and any of them would easily be a front runner in New Orleans upcoming mayoral race. To make matters worse, they’re in that dangerous “trap game” section of the schedule. It’s the 3-week stretch against teams with losing records before facing the powerful Patriots that we all knew would cause some trouble, or at least, we should have known. With the Bucs up next, you gotta hope that nearly being rammed by the Rams will serve as the ultimate wake up call. We can’t take anyone for granted.
Here’s another important lesson learned from the past four weeks of football: It ain’t always easy being Brees-y. In the opening drive against St. Louis on Sunday, Drew Brees threw a pick at midfield. It’s his 2nd first quarter turnover in as many weeks and his 5th first half turnover since week 7.
Who are you sir…and what have you done with my quarterback?
To give Drew credit, he’s just as likely to make up for his mistakes as he is to make them and there’s no other quarterback in the league right now I’d rather have playing the occasional sloppy football. Still, with key defensive players like Darren Sharper, Tracy Porter, Jabari Greer, and Sedrick Ellis all nursing injuries, it’s becoming even more important for our offense to start just as fast as they finish. Giving opponents good field position due to turnovers puts unnecessary pressure on an already thin secondary. I mean, c’mon Drew! We want you on that wall…we need you on that wall!
There was certainly one Saints player who arrived in the Gateway City with his head in the game. Reggie Bush played with the confidence of a former first round draft pick and ran with the intensity and speed of an elite running back in the National Football League. Who’d a thunk it? Bush not only scored twice but he broke one for 55 yards. Bless his little heart. (And this time, I don’t mean it in the way bitchy, old Southern women say it.)
We Saints fans will never forget what Az-Zahir Hakim did in the dome in that playoff game back in 2000. But this time around, it was the Saints who nearly dropped the ball and against an NFC weakling. While a win is a win, I’d prefer not to make watching the 4th quarter of games in the fetal position a regular thing…no matter how much it entertains those onlookers at the sports bar.
And now, to commemorate our 9-0 milestone, I give you this: