The 2004 New Orleans Saints were coming off a bye week going into a Week 9 road game against the San Diego Chargers. The Saints were having a pedestrian season up to that point, with a 3-4 record. There was an opportunity to get the season back on track though, as they were playing the second game of a four consecutive game stretch against AFC West opponents, having come off a five point win at Oakland two weeks earlier.
The Chargers entered the game with a 5-3 record and were fresh off a 42-14 throttling of Oakland themselves. The game would be a huge test for the Saints and a great barometer of where they stood against the better teams in the league that season. Aaron Brooks particularly needed to bring his absolute best against one of the better, and more underrated quarterbacks in San Diego. The Saints would have to match the league's top scoring offense, and Brooks failed horribly.
It only took until 9:34 in the first quarter for Brooks and the Saints to implode and give Who Dat Nation another all-time head-scratching moment. Here it is, in case you purged it from your memory:
If only to add insult to injury, in this video you can see the Chargers immediately take the ball and gain 48 yards in one play. How about that hustle by the San Diego quarterback, Drew Brees, the Saints sure needed a guy like that. I'd have kept my eye out for him. But alas, Aaron Brooks and the Saints would go on to lose the game 43-17 and end the season at 8-8. Aaron Brooks would never truly live this play down.
I'll start the conversation:
I remember watching this game live at home and being genuinely excited for it. In 2004 it was pretty rare to get a televised Saints game in the Southern California market. So when they played San Diego I knew it would air locally. Well, instead of getting to see the Saints battle the Chargers for four quarters, I got to witness that atrocious display, capped off early with one of the dumbest displays I've ever witnessed from a quarterback. I distinctly remember yelling a far less abbreviated version of "WTF!" at the TV screen when the backwards pass happened.
The only person more dumbfounded by the play than me was lineman/unintentional receiver Wayne Gandy. Brooks proved in one play, that under pressure, when you prove what you're worth, he just couldn't be depended on. The grinning, the poor body language, and the worse decision-making were all on display in this one. How about poor Deuce McAllister trying to keep the play from becoming an even more spectacular disaster, almost got himself dog piled by the entire Charger defense. If not for Deuce, the play would also be known for costing the Saints a touchdown as well. Unbelievable.
So tell us your stories, memories, and impressions from this dreadful moment in Saints history. Where were you, Who Dat Nation?