If there is one thing that stands out about this team, it’s that they are having FUN. Whether it’s Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara doing joint interviews with Deion Sanders, Sean Payton crashing said interview cheesing for the camera, or guys posing for a team picture after a turnover - The 2017 New Orleans Saints are enjoying themselves to the fullest.
Close knit does not do enough to describe that locker room. Nothing encompasses the level of respect and accountability these Saints have for one another more than when the entire team huddled around Daniel Lasco after his injury against Buffalo.
There have been moments of mettle and resolve sprinkled throughout this campaign that has molded the personality of this team.
One of the questions my colleague John Hendrix asked even before the Rams loss was if they lose, how will the Saints respond to having their streak halted.
I thought for a second and said, “Same way they responded in the preseason after their first two losses and the first two losses to start the regular season”.
They’d get back on their horses and refocus on the next game. It’s something that’s been in their DNA and on display the entire season.
To go along with the simple fact that they are enjoying themselves, they also have a cold blooded assassin’s mentality that was put on display on the Alvin Kamara 4th Down TD. Not only did Sean Payton show aggressiveness going for it, but the way Kamara absorbed the hit only to still score encapsulated the Saints entire season to date.
In that moment, I saw a Nick Fairley diagnosis, I saw a missed Malcolm Butler trade, I saw a long snapper (Jon Dorenbos) lost to a heart condition, I saw Delvin Breaux injured before the season began, and I saw that none of that has stopped them from beating quality opponents on their way to their first winning season since 2013.
One Last Thing...
We’ve seen the Eagles discussed as the cream of the crop in the NFC, and I didn’t buy it even before their loss to Seattle.
The best team in the NFC will come from the best division in the NFC. That is currently the NFC South. They have a combined record of 28-20. No division has combined for more wins versus opposing teams. They’ve also been responsible for sending a Superbowl representative in back-to-back years - about to make it a third.
Who currently sits at the top of that division?
Exactly my point!
- Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was at the game and I saw Willie Snead do his 1st down celebration for the first time all year (despite this being his fourth 1st down reception). Could that be a sign he’s back in the groove?
- Saw someone say Ken Crawley does just enough to be a No. 2 corner. Undersell of the year, as he’s a legitimate No. 1 candidate on another team. He’s currently ranked by PFF as the 11th-highest rated CB in the league. I rag on him about his tackling, but his 4th down stop of Devin Funchess was ginormous.
- There’s a rumor that Cam Newton was crying at some point during their loss - Big Brother is Back!
- On another note on Crawley, the pass he broke up downfield that saved Vonn Bell’s bacon was a play that only Lattimore makes up to that point on defense. Kid’s understanding of the scheme is growing, and so is his confidence.
- Per ESPN, Alvin Kamara is ranked 21st in the League in Scoring with 66 points on the year. Only players above him are place kickers (PK).
- Just for kicks, Mark Ingram is ranked 30th on that same list.
- When’s the last time the Saints were talked about and Drew Brees wasn’t at the head of the conversation? He may not win League MVP this year, but a second Super Bowl MVP award and a win would look real good on his Canton resume.
In the words of Sean Payton, this was a significant win. Possibly even more special to me personally because it was my first Saints game. What I felt in the Dome was magical. There were times the crowd got to a deafening roar (110.0 decibels) with one resulting in a Panthers timeout. With command of the division and the Falcons on the rise, you get this win on Thursday and you can start talking about Home Field Advantage. We bring it home to the Dome and these Saints and Alvin Kamara are going to be extremely hard to beat for any team in the NFL. Who Dat!