The Struggle is Real
My initial title for this paragraph was "The Road Struggle is Real." But really, since 2014, the Saints have struggled, period. In the last two seasons and six games, the Saints are 8-11 on the road, and 8-11 at home. Four games under .500 at home! Gone are the days when New Orleans would go 8-0 or at worst 6-2 at home and thus needed to win only two to three games on the road to reach double digit wins. The Saints are rebuilding, but they’ve seemingly been rebuilding for a little over two years now. The question is: how long will the powers that be on Airline Drive be okay with this lengthy run of mediocrity? How about the fanbase? Because when we stop demanding excellence from our team, that’s when the slow descent into "Cleveland Browns" territory begins.
Sloppy Teams Lose and Losing Teams are Sloppy
If while you were watching the game yesterday it felt as though the Saints’ defense played better than usual, you weren’t dreaming. New Orleans allowed a season-low 326 total net yards. On the other side of the ball, Saints had 463 total net offensive yards, they recorded 71 offensive plays vs. 52 for the Chiefs. New Orleans won the time of possession by over five minutes (32:38 vs. 27:22) and converted a greater third down percentage (9-14, 64% vs. 3-9, 33% for the Chiefs). So how in the world did they lose do you ask? Simple: a pick-six on a Brees’ tipped pass, a fumble while driving deep in Kansas City’s territory and worst of all, nine penalties for 75 yards, the most crushing coming on a blatant and completely senseless personal foul on Nick Fairley late in the game. The Saints aren’t talented enough to make mistakes and still win games, yet sadly, it’s often the less talented teams that commit a lot of dumb penalties. What this mean is, brace yourself, this is likely going to be a long season.
Patchwork Offensive Line Doing Work
The Saints’ offensive line was the most scrutinized unit coming into this season: how would they hold without a guard? Oh my God, we need a guard!!! This season the Saints have shuffled their line early and often, with injuries to crucial players like Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat. Well, despite the attrition, all the Saints O-line has done is allow Brees to drop back and throw the ball 273 times so far this year (third in the NFL behind Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck), while completing 187 of those passes (second in the NFL) for 2101 yards and a 104.4 passer rating (both second in the NFL). On Sunday in Kansas City, the Saints attempted 48 passes and Brees was only sacked once. On the season, Brees has been sacked only nine times, which positively ranks near the bottom of the NFL. A little cherry on top, New Orleans also rushed for 104 yards on 22 attempts at Kansas City. It’s not often that the Saints rush for 100 yards, so let’s be thankful for the little things.
The Slow, Steady March to 7-9
Each of the past two seasons, the Saints have been 2-4 after six games. Sounds familiar? But interestingly, in both 2014 and 2015, they then proceeded to win the next two games to reach 4-4 and lure us into a sense of false hope. It would go downhill from there and a 3-5 finish led to 7-9 each year. So if history is any indication, the Saints will beat Seattle at home next Sunday, then win at San Francisco. But then from there, it won’t be pretty. So enjoy the next two weeks, because after that you’ll likely need counseling, or a lot of alcohol. Maybe both.
Rewriting the Record Book
What else is left to say about Drew Brees? On Sunday, the Saints’ quarterback became the first man in NFL history to have 100 games with at least 300 yards passing. Yesterday, Brees threw for 367 yards against a very good Chiefs defense, with three touchdowns and one interception. He now has 17 touchdowns against five picks on the season and some of his best years are absolutely being wasted by Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton and the incompetent Saints front office that has failed to give him a decent defense for nearly his whole tenure in New Orleans. But despite the losing team he is on, despite the fact that the biased pundits often fail to mention how great he is, we won’t fail to recognize Brees’ greatness, has he is and remains one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL, even at age 37.