Browns 30, Saints 17.
That loud sound heard around 4 PM on Sunday wasn't a sonic boom, or even Jackson State University's marching band (aka "The Sonic Boom of the South"). It was the New Orleans Saints football franchise crashing down from their Super Bowl high back to reality.
So much for escaping the dreaded Super Bowl hangover.
So much for Drew Brees escaping the Madden Curse.
And so much for the dreaded Black Pants Conspiracy.
What 70,000+ stunned fans saw that day was a basic NFL truth proven once again: You still have to play the game. Cleveland was ready to play...the Saints, clearly, were not.
Maybe trading Scott Fujita wasn't such a good idea after all...especially considering that he probably knew and seemed to understand more about the Saints offense than even half the Saints players themselves.
But the biggest shocker is the obvious downfall of what used to be the Savior, Drew Brees. Since when did he transform himself into Brett Farve (albeit without the gimpy knees) and start throwing out of his backside to the wrong color jerseys??
This isn't to say that the season is lost, however. Atlanta still lost too, and Green Bay and Minnesota and Dallas are still struggling to get their mojo going, and they still have Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas coming back from injury.
But...I suggest that some changes need to be made, and pretty soon, before this team slides further into the "overrated mediocrity" level.
What do I propose?? Follow the jump.
1) When PT and Bush return, take the pressure off of Brees and go SMASHMOUTH for a while.. "Tusk" Ivory is a potential beast if he can only learn to hosl on to the ball, and the PT Cruiser is a capable change of pace. Keep Heath Evans in as a fullback and just play keepaway until Breesus gets his head screwed on right.
2) Use Reggie Bush as a change-of-pace TB and occasional WR/SB for the big play on open space, and in the red zone. You all do notice how the offense fizzles out inside the opponent's 20, right? Maybe that's because there's no big-play threat to beat the D before we get TO the 20?? And speaking of big plays, that brings me to...
3) Get a speed demon WR or two and go vertical more. Oh, wait...wasn't that what Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem were for?? Maybe we should try Courtney Roby or Adrian Arrington out there, or trade for a wideout that can actually beat people deep, then?? Oh, and memo to my former homeboy Devery: STOP DROPPING PASSES!!
4) Light some fires under our alleged All-Pro offensive line...cause right now, they are making the opposing defenses look like All-Pros. That means especially YOU, Carl "Mr. Lock me into a super contract" Nicks.
Defensively, on the other hand....I actually think that they are not that bad...once Sharper returns healthy and Greer and Porter get over their nicks, they could be pretty darn good. A healthy pass rush from their front four/three, though, and not letting tight ends get open (see Gonzalez, Tony) would be nice.
Either way, it's not as if we are going back to the "Aints years...it's just that all this talk of dynasty will just have to wait another year until this team gets over this slump. And, at least, we have Sean Payton and not Mike Ditka or Dick Nolan or -- heaven forbid -- Bum Phillips on the saddle.
Things will get better, WhoDat Nation peeps...it'll just take a bit longer than expectations. And..being ticked off about a 4-3 team isn't a bad thing either. It sure beats 1-6.