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Carolina Panthers 20 @ New Orleans Saints 30: The View from Section 140

I hate writing these post-game intro paragraphs. The bullet points about my personal experience at the game I can handle, but finding something to say right here that will both sum up the events that just transpired while at the same time being inspirational and eye-opening is just plain difficult. Especially now that we're at the half-way point of the season and on the brink of something special. I leave that kind of stuff up to the talented Mr. Wang, who has a gift with words and eighties pop culture that I will never come close to attaining. A man can't breath, he can't fight. 

I mean, what the hell am I going to say right now that isn't obvious to all of you or already being written by the people that get paid to do so. I consider myself to be one of the biggest Saints fans in the world and my team is currently eight and freakin' zero so how the hell do you think I feel? The same way you do, I'm sure. Amazed, excited, hopeful and - especially right now after that game - exhausted. Cheering your ass off in the Dome during a close, come-from-behind win takes a lot out of a man. I'm also the slightest bit hesitant, just waiting for that other shoe to drop because this is, after all, the Saints and this has been just too damn good to be true. But none of that means I know how to express that to all of you in some way that makes me sound profound and brilliant.  

If I did have one cheerful or inspirational nugget from yesterday that I could drop on you it would have to be this: On a day meant to commemorate past players and members of the Saints organization and with many of them in attendance, the 2009 Saints continued their amazing campaign and went on to accomplish something that nobody in that building has ever seen in 43 years of history - the best start in franchise history by arguably the best team in franchise history. If that doesn't get you pumped about the second half of the 2009 season, I don't what would.

Can I get a freakin' Who Dat!?

Make the jump for all of my notes from the game and some pretty good pictures. 

  • My wife and I went to the Dome early and were forced to eat something there. I find it amazing that in the greatest culinary city in the world, the food at the Dome still sucks as bad as it does. Pathetic if you ask me.
  • I didn't see too many Panther fans at this one. The Jets and Giants fans are still the two groups that impressed me most with their turnout at the Dome. 
  • Before the game, a bunch of former Saints players were introduced as part of the alumni-inspired day. They included Jim Wilks, La'Roi Glover, Steve Gleason, Dalton Hilliard, Michael Lewis  and Rickey Jackson. Bobby and Hokie were also announced.
  • This is the third week in a row that the Saints have come out flat as if they aren't expecting their opponent to be that good. But just as they've been great at doing all season long, the team adjusted. Credit to the coaches there, particularly Gregg Williams. After quickly gashing the defense for two touchdowns early, Williams tightened up and the Panthers never scored another touchdown. That is just amazing. I don't care how many yards they give up a game or what they are ranked this defense just...Get's. It. Done. 
  • Unfortunately, the offense just couldn't take advantage until later in the game. Drew certainly did not start this game in top form and similarly, the offensive line didn't protect him early. 
  • Taking into account my previous two points, I think it's safe to say this was a game the Saints would have lost last year. Easily. But how long can they continue to come from behind like this?
  • Was this Robert Meachem's breakout game? The game everyone has been waiting for him to have? Sure looked like it to me. He made some great catches, a few of which were in tight coverage, and of course had the big touchdown catch. I don't think this necessarily means he'll start getting targeted more; just not the way the Saints offense works. But it's a good sign that Payton actually does trust him and that he can continue to trust him. Fans got some answers today. 
  • As soon as I noticed what a quiet and sub-par game Colston was having, he came up big with the long catch and run. The Saints wound up settling for a field goal on the drive. Colston came off the field and threw his helmet on the ground very violently. No more catches from Colston. 
  • I didn't notice DeMario Pressley, so I'm going to take that as a good sign. 
  • Will Smith was my player of the game. He's listed with two sacks but I could have sworn he had three. Regardless, I think that 4th down forced fumble was a game-changer and got everyone in the Dome, including team executives on the sidelines in their suites, fist-pumping and high-fiving.
  • Sure would be nice if the Saints could clean up some of the stupid penalties they seem to receive. 
  • It looked like the Saints were once again on the receiving end of some bad or missed calls by the referees. Unless the Saints lose, I wouldn't complain.  
  • The Saints set the tone for the second half when they came out of the locker room and scored immediately with a long pass to Devery Henderson followed by a run by Pierre Thomas
  • Talk about bending but not breaking. It seemed like the defense just could not get off the field on third down during that 3rd quarter drive by the Panthers. I'm actually surprised the Panthers only completed 50% on third down for the game because it felt much higher than that. Fortunately, they eventually forced the Kasay field goal on that drive. 
  • I'm pretty sure Zach Strief never sits down on the bench during a game. 
  • I think the fact that Reggie is being slowly phased out of this offense has gotten him motivated and running better. I certainly won't heap tons of praise on him but his running style has certainly appeared more aggressive and he seems less fearful of contact. Also, did you freakin' see that one-handed catch. Play of the day. His other hand was never once used to secure the ball. Sick. 
  • Heath Evans' favorite restaurant in the city is New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co. A surprising choice but I do love that garlic butter they put on the fries. 
  • How long will it be until fans realize that the "Find the Keys under the Cup" shell game they play on the video screen is fixed and that the keys are never under the cup they are supposed to be. The point of the game is to make you question your judgement before driving intoxicated. Figure it out. 
  • Jabari Greer was getting looked at on the sideline after injuring himself on a long incompletion. Appeared to be his lower body. Keep your fingers crossed that it's not serious because the thought of Randall Gay starting at cornerback does not sit well with me at all.
  • Give props to Thomas Morstead and Malcolm Jenkins who combined forces on that final punt to give the Panthers awful field position on the 2-yard line. 
  • I couldn't be happier for Anthony Hargrove, who scored his first NFL touchdown with that fumble recovery. He deserves every accolade heaped upon him after how incredibly hard he's worked since day one of training camp. It was an inspirational story then and it's even more so now. Can he be nominated for comeback player of the year?
  • For just a regular season victory, this one was pretty special and the Dome had a slight twinge of emotion following the game. 
  • Keep your fingers crossed for everyone on the Gulf Coast having to deal with Hurricane Ida. 



Heath Evans and his attractive wife. 



I am thinking I just got me a Williams family portrait. 



Apparently, Morten Andersen puts smiley faces in his autograph. 



Jim Henderson (no relation to Devery) doing a little scouting before air time. 



Getting some fan footage. The camera loves this guy. 



Some of the former Saints players. 



I call this one, "Balls!"



Morten taking a spin around the stadium. 



Former Saintsations. 



Devery Henderson taking a breather. Literally. 



Taken after the Meachem touchdown. 



The tradition lives on. 



Hargrove walked over and took this from a fan in my section after the game. The other side he's showing off says, "History Begins Today. 8-0."



Mike Bell stopping by after the game. 



Action shot! Mike Bell slapping a fan five.


Here is the open thread roll call. I think we had some confusion regarding the second half overflow thread and had two separate conversations going. I plan on making second half threads a regular occurrence so start expecting the switch every week. Don't want anyone to miss anything. 


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