Even though the Saints have been mathematically removed from the playoffs, they have shown Who Dat Nation that they will not lay down.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the Saints needed to prove to fans across the land that they still cared. They needed to prove that they still had a little bit of pride. Well, I would say that they are answering that call.
In Week 15, the Saints throttled the Bucs, beating them 41-0. The defense forced five turnovers and got two sacks while Drew Brees threw for 307 yards and 4 touchdowns. Looking at every statistic from that game, you can tell that it was a good, old-fashioned beat down.
Week 16, however, was a different story. In a momentum-shifting game for the ages, the Saints came out on top in overtime in Jerry's World. On a wacky play, Marques Colston fumbled the ball forward 20 yards down field, where it was eventually recovered by Jimmy Graham inside Dallas' 5-yard line. Garrett Hartley then iced the game with a field goal. Even though the defense didn't follow up with another superior performance, allowing 446 total offensive yards, they were patient and made a stop in OT when they needed it. The offense helped out again in this game by gaining a whopping 562 yards and holding onto the ball for almost three-fourths of the game.
Going into the last three games of the season, the Saints pretty much knew that they were going to be missing out on the big dance this year. Just the fact that they've strung together two wins (possibly a third at home against Carolina) when they really don't matter anymore shows that they still have heart.
Take the Tennessee Titans for example. Knowing that there season was over, the Titans just completely flopped against the Packers. There seemed to be no fight at all in that team, and if I were their fan, I would be embarrassed.
The only thing I'm concerned about is that it took just a wee bit too long for this team to find this motivation. One more win over the course of the season would have the Saints still in playoff contention, and two would have them controlling their own destiny. After weighing those scenarios, it's pretty disappointing. But you can't really expect much when you start the season 0-4.
Nevertheless, I'm very happy that the Saints are finishing the season strong. A divisional win at home against a streaking Carolina would make things all the better. And hopefully this motivation will be a driving force in carrying this team to the postseason next year.