Would you have believed me in August if I had told you that halfway through the season the Saints would have a top three defense?
You don't really have to answer that question because I can tell you with absolutely certainty I never would have made such an outrageous claim. I definitely expected them to be improved over last year, just not that improved. And I certainly didn't expect that the Saints would need to rely on them so heavily this season. Yet the most amazing aspect of the entire situation is that this defense is doing this all while missing very key players.
So we can start getting excited about the future. This game was pivotal and the Steelers are a great team. I'm not trying to be dramatic but this win saved the season. The difference between 5-3 and 4-4 in the standings right now is huge. It was also a statement game. Once again the Saints have shown that they can be a great team by beating a great team. That the Saints who lost to Cleveland and Arizona were not the real Saints. But with the schedule getting softer in the coming weeks, the Saints need to carry over this confidence and momentum and use it to trample weaker opponents as they should, not play down to their level as we've seen.
Hopefully you weren't upset that you didn't get your "View from" fix yesterday morning. My internet mysteriously stopped working Sunday afternoon so I had no possible way of typing up this post after returning home from the game that night. So now I feel like I'm late to a party, bringing up topics that have already been discussed at length. Fortunately the Saints won and there were a lot of positives so everyone won't mind re-covering a few topics.
Make the jump for my opinion-laden bullet points.
- There were waaaaay too many Steelers fans and Terrible Towels being waved in the dome. I was appalled. To there credit, however, all of the Steelers fans were very respectful and well behaved.
- Sedrick Ellis lead the Who Dat chant, which has now been moved to immediately follow the National Anthem. Maybe the new time slot is better luck.
- Dr. John was honored as the People's Health Champion. He is the coolest honoree they've ever had, hands down.
- Sean Payton deserves to be mentioned and given credit for this win just as much as any of the players on the field. How many of you thought his challenge of the Steelers touchdown was pointless because you were expecting the Steelers to punch it in anyway? It's okay, you can admit it. Fortunately Payton trusts his defense more than you and it wound up saving the Saints four points. Instead of scoring a touchdown, Pittsburgh had to settle for a field goal after the Saints defense put together a beautiful goal line stand and got a huge momentum boost. You could even make the argument that it was the early turning point of the game, possibly the season if the Saints continue to win. And after being out-tricked last week by Eric Mangini, I was happy to see Payton show a little more of that play calling bravado we've come to love, even if they were poorly executed if even at all (fake end around pass, fake field goal).
- I believe you can catch a glimpse of me cheering in the stands when there is 4:04 remaining on the game clock in the first quarter.
- Not surprised at all by the paltry rushing numbers and the non-existence of a running game. Everyone and their mother knew the Saints would have to win this game through the air.
- Colston got off to a slow start when he dropped two easy passes that should have been caught; it looked like he heard footsteps and was more worried about taking a big hit than catching the ball. He's the teams most consistent receiver so of course he bounced back, finishing the night with six catches for 75 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He also couldn't execute the fake end around pass when he bobbled the ball in the backfield.
- Another cornerback got bitten by the injury bug. Patrick Robinson left the game and walked slowly into the locker room during the game. He came back out but never re-entered the game. It doesn't sound serious but the cornerback situation is becoming laughable.
- I am so glad the Saints have Darren Sharper back in the lineup. Even if he doesn't actually create the turnover, he always seems to be in the right position. Turnovers just seem to find him. I also think his presence gives Gregg Williams the confidence to be a bit more aggressive with his play calling. The timing of Sharper's return couldn't be more perfect either, giving the Saints the freedom to move Malcolm Jenkins back to cornerback thus providing more depth at a severely injury depleted position.
- This was probably the loudest the Superdome has been so far this season. Even louder than the MNF league-opener against the Vikings. Not only did the Saints come out on Sunday night and make a statement on the field, so did the fans. The Dome had been pretty timid up to this week so let's all stay loud as we head into the home stretch. Our team needs us.
- For years we've been waiting for the Saints to finally call a passing play to Zach Strief and I don't think I'm the only one. After so many times hearing his number called before a play as an eligible receiver, Drew finally pulled the trigger on a goal line pass to Strief. The only problem is that the ball was thrown a little too high and Strief didn't seem to realize he's allowed to actually leave his feet to make a pass, falling backwards and missing the catch. Obviously it sucked because the Saints never got the seven points but I'm sure it sucks even more for Strief, who let a memorable career moment slip through his fingers. I'm sure that one kept him awake Sunday night.
- Not sure what it looked like on TV but fans were upset at multiple bad calls by the refs.
- Roethlisberger and the Steelers kept cornerback Malcolm Jenkins busy all night. Fortunately, Jenkins was up to the challenge and covered a lot of field. He made some key plays, finishing the night with five total tackles and three passes defensed. Not sure if the one that hit him in the back counts as "defensed." He's not perfect - weak tackling and stone hands - but it's great to see him continue to develop and become a great player for this team. But when the hell is he actually go to pick one off!?!?
- Congratulations to Leigh Torrence for nabbing his first career interception. Now can he show Jenkins how to do that?
- Garrett Hartley was perfect! High five!
- I am proud to say that I was a member of the largest Halloween gathering in the world with my "Costume" t-shirt. I think the final number was 17,700 fans in costume. How the heck did they arrive at that number? They cannot be counting every single person.
- Maybe now we can put the curse of the black pants to bed?