Never in my million years as a Saints fan did I ever imagine I’d tear up watching my team win a regular season game. But last night, as the clock ticked down to zero and the Saints’ defense surprisingly came through against the Chargers, I could feel something strange happening. I was actually getting misty eyed off of a week 5 win. That’s just how much getting off the snide meant to this fan. It felt so damn good.
Sure it helped that earlier that night, Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas’ half-century old record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Sure it helped that for the first time in forever, I got to see my Coach Sean Payton willing his team to victory. But what really made me more moved than ever to be a member of the Black and Gold nation was the spirit of my fellow Who Dats. It was a shared excitement. After playing witness to so many successful seasons, we have once again been transported back to that magical place where nothing is taken for granted. Not even a stupid week 5 win against an inconsistent team.
While I’m still totally convinced that our defense would let my mom and her knitting club run up about 25 points on them, I must give them props for being much more aggressive against the Chargers than we’ve seen all season. Phillip Rivers actually touched turf a few times. We actually caught an interception instead of “almost” catching one. Our defensive backs actually stripped the ball a few times. It was almost unsettling to see them do their jobs. But then, there were those…less than delightful moments. I’m talking about the moments that likely had us all yelling from our seats or at the TV, “What the *bleep* are you guys doing? What the *bleep* is this coverage scheme? How the *bleep* does Robert Meachem get that open…twice?!” Needless to say, our defense still sucks. But if they can suck a little bit less every week, then maybe, just maybe we’ll have a shot at something other than jockeying for high draft picks.
On offense, I saw a man with the ball run past people. I think he’s called a “running back.” For a moment in time, it appeared we had a…oh what’s it called again? Ah yes, a “running game.” 46 yards is nothing to write home about, but it’s something, and it helped! Pierre Thomas seemed “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and lit a spark that played a major role in last night’s victory.
The Saints have a long way to go to be a playoff contender. But we have a bye week coming up, which presents the players with an opportunity to heal and reflect. They fought for every inch of that win and that’s just what they’ll have to do every week from now until the end of the season. Soon we’ll have Joe Vitt back and if we can remain unbeaten until then, I believe the Saints will have even more than a shot in hell to make it to the postseason. Sure, I may be a dreamer. But last night renewed my faith in the fact that maybe, just maybe, the nightmare of this season is over.