We've already discussed the most memorable moments of the past year so you know it's gotta be time to talk about the seasons not so memorable moments. With so many poor plays, stupid penalties and dumb turnovers to choose from, I had a difficult time narrowing it down. Below is my list of the more forgettable moments from the 2008 Saints season that alcohol just won't seem to erase from my memory. I'm sure you've got your own to add.
Short Yardage Suckage
Perhaps the most frustrating moments of the season came when the Saints only needed to pick up a single yard. Two of the following short yardage situations below came late in the game and could have completely changed the outcome of the games had they been converted. Allow yourself to take a walk down memory lane with these three less than memorable plays.
- Third and 1 in Washington - The Saints are up by two points against the Redskins and have the ball. They need only to run out four and half minutes of clock to leave with a victory. Pierre Thomas gains no yards on a run off right tackle and have to give the Skins the ball back. Jason Campbell throws the game-winning touchdown on the very next play.
Third and 1 in Denver - Down by two with just over two minutes remaining and no timeouts for the Broncos, the Saints need just one yard for a first down to kill more clock and give them a shorter field goal try at the least. Pierre Thomas attempts the right side but gets stuffed for a loss of 1. The Saints are forced to kick a field but miss. The game is lost.
- 4th and 1 against Tampa Bay - On their first possession of the game the Saints get cute and run Devery Henderson around the right side. He has nowhere to go and losses three yards.
Another injury? Are you serious?
By the middle of the season it was becoming laughable the amount of injuies the Saints were dealing with. The IR list grew longer and longer as every day brought a new surprise and much roster shuffling was needed. In all honesty, the amount of injury the Saints were forced to endure this year might have destroyed other teams but the Saints finished 8-8; pretty respectable considering. Still, any team with a weak pass defense can't afford to lose it's two starting cornerbacks. The Saints had such a promising 2008 in front of them by the end of last summer. We should have known it would all fall to pieces.
Roman Harper's penalty against Chicago
It's week 15 and the Saints playoff hopes are still alive when they battle it out against their most recent rival - Chicago. With two seconds remaining in the game Sedrick Ellis stupidly sacked Kyle Orton, allowing the Bears to tie the game up with a field goal and force overtime. The Saints lost the coin toss but held the Bears to third and 7 on their 47-yard line. Devin Hester takes off and burns the Saints secondary on the play. Roman Harper makes contact and gets flagged for a 38-yard pass interference penalty and the Bears need nothing more than a quick field goal to win the game. The loss officially marked the end of the Saints 2008 playoff chances.
Martin Gramatica appeared to be the solution to the Saints kicking woes in 2007 after Olindo Mare turned out to be a bust but this season found Gramatica to be the problem - not the solution. He missed key field goals in Denver and against Minnesota that could very well have turned those Saints losses into wins. After putting Martin on IR (instead of cutting him) Payton went to Plan B: He brought back 2008 draft pick Taylor Mehlhaff. After a few games it was obvious Mehlhaff didn't have the nerves and was also sent packing, a valuable draft pick now wasted. But alas, there is a happy ending to this sad, sad story. The Saints finally hit the jackpot when they signed Garrett Hartley. He hasn't missed yet while wearing the black and gold. We can only hope Hartley doesn't start the cycle all over again in 2009.
Drew's pass falls short
While the Saints playoff hopes diminished earlier than we all would have liked, Drew Brees still gave Saints fans something to cheer for as he attempted to break Dan Marino's single-season passing record. So it especially sucked when fate stepped in to give Drew one more chance to break the record only to have the ball - and his attempt at the record - fall short. Following a game-winning field goal by the Panthers only one second remained in the Saints season and the clock would surely expire on the ensuing kickoff. But by some stroke of luck John Kasay's kick sailed out of bounds, giving Drew one last throw to win the game and/or gain the 15 yards he needed to break the record. The pass to the right - intended for Lance Moore - hit the turf on what seemed to be a miscommunication. Sadly, Marino's record still stands but watch out Dan...there's always next year.
Misery against Minnesota
This October 7th game had it all and though it was arguably the most exciting match-up of the season it was also the most heartbreaking and gutwrenching as well. A blocked Gramatica field goal that was returned for a touchdown started it all. Then Hochuli's officiating crew missed a Vikings pass interference call followed by a Viking facemask that led to a turnover. Even though Reggie did his best trying to keep the Saints in the game it just wasn't enough. With a little over two minutes left Gramatica missed a clutch go-ahead field goal. The Vikings finished it off by kicking the game winning field goal with 16 seconds left.
So what was your most forgettable moment of the 2008 season?