It was just a couple of years ago that I found myself doing the unthinkable: relaxing during the 4th quarter of a Saints game. I knew it was risky, that I was playing with fire, but something told me “This Saints team is special. This Saints team finds ways to win. This Saints team has what it takes to go all the way.” Given what the Saints have been able to accomplish over the past few weeks, it’s safe to say that funny feeling of peace and certainty is creeping right back.
When the Saints faced the Lions on Sunday, they proved their demolition of the Giants just the week before was no fluke. As predicted, Brees-bot made another prime time appearance, shredding the Lions’ defense to pieces. His performance wasn’t just awesome, it was record setting. He became the first player to pass more than 4,000 yards in the first 12 games of the season. He also joined Brett Favre in an exclusive club. No, not the “teeny weeny wee wee flashers” club. He and Favre are now the only two quarterbacks to complete 30 or more touchdown passes in four consecutive seasons.
But we all know Drew isn’t all about the records. He said so himself in a post game interview. Drew wants to win and he wants to win it all. He’s determined to get this team back to a Super Bowl, even if it means going through Green Bay and shocking the world to do it. I believe in Drew and I believe that if it were totally up to him, I could quite comfortably start plotting out my Super Bowl game day outfit and drinking regimen.
But it’s not all up to Drew. Sadly, it’s just not. We need our defense to step up and that’s the source of any residual anxiety. Had the Lions not played like the undisciplined, idiotic team we’ve come to know them as, that game would have been a lot tighter. Oh we still would have won and put up 30+ points. But maybe, just maybe I would have needed to breathe into a brown paper bag to survive the 4th quarter.
Matt Stafford seemed to pretty effortlessly move his offense down the field. Blitzing him didn’t seem to really slow him down, nor did double teaming Calvin Johnson nor did a soft zone. What helped our defense out most against the Lions were the Lions players themselves. They are a terribly immature team…and God love ’em for it!
Looking ahead to the Titans, the Saints can prove they’re not just warriors at home but on the road. The Titans won’t be a pushover team. They’re in the hunt for a playoff spot and they’ve got some talent. Titans RB Chris Johnson isn’t exactly having a Pro Bowl year but I’ve seen our defense turn mediocre backs into Barry Sanders. Who knows what Johnson might be able to pull off!
If Drew Brees and the men who keep him upright and give him time in the pocket bring their “A” game, we know what the Saints’ offense will bring to the table. But to truly get back to 2009 form, we’ll need the defense to show consistency and to rack up takeaways. Then and only then will I consider it safe enough to order my sequined Super Bowl tutu.