They say every dog has it’s day. For Gumbo, the lovable St. Bernard who serves as the New Orleans Saints’ mascot, it came last night on a national stage against a quarterback he’s probably had a “bone” to pick with for years. Michael Vick got sacked 7 times by the Saints’ last ranked defense and he threw an interception that led to the Saints first score of the game. As far as Gumbo’s concerned, Vick had it coming.
It’s hard to know whether the outcome of the Eagles game proves how good the Saints’ defense can be or how bad the Eagles’ offensive line really is. Given the number of yards the Eagles were able to rack up on the ground, I’m leaning toward the latter. But it was promising to see our defenders not just graze, not just swipe at but actually throw a quarterback to the ground. We had one of the fastest QBS in the league literally running for his life all night. When he wasn’t on the run, he was practically throwing himself to the ground and yelling “uncle” so that the defenders would just let him be. But before we all get carried away, keep in mind that the Eagles were able to rush for more than 200 yards and they easily marched up and down the field and into the red zone 5 times. The defense deserves kudos for keeping those red zone trips from turning into touchdowns but it still gives me heartburn to see teams eat up chunks of yards like that so easily.
Speaking of running games…we had one! I didn’t realize how much I missed Chris Ivory until he gave me a reason to believe the Saints could have a balanced offense. Ivory,
Alabama cheerleader Mark Ingram, and Pierre Thomas combined for 140 yards. Their success changed the entire tempo of the game. It opened up opportunities for play action passes, it helped the Saints better control the clock and it reminded me what this offense is capable of when it is multi-dimensional.
What we witnessed last night was one of the first complete games for the Saints all season long. But while there was a lot to celebrate, there were plenty of troubling aspects as well. Garrett Hartley’s missed field goal made my toe cramp. Thomas Morstead basically giving up on tackling a kickoff returner when he had a clear shot on him made my nose bleed. Cam Jordan celebrating a sack when he should have been trying to recover a fumble made my spleen throb. And the missed tackles…oh the missed tackles. Let’s just say I’d rather let Stevie Wonder do my next bikini wax than watch that happen again.
This was a confidence building win for the Saints and just what they needed going into a tough divisional matchup against the Dirty Turds. We’re at the midway point in the season. We’re on life support but we’ve still got a shot at the postseason. It seems only fitting that we’d right the ship against the man who made life so “ruff” for Gumbo’s kin folk.