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Beignets and Café au Lait: Saints Injuries Proving Too Much to Overcome

And even Sean Payton looks out of answers

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Hi Y’all!

We are back! The 2021-22 NFL season is underway, with the ecstasy of victory and the agony of untimely interceptions. So, let’s take a look at what happened in the Saints’ game yesterday. But before that...

As always, for our novice or non-New Orleanians readers, welcome!

Let’s start with some definitions:

Beignets (English: /bɛnˈjeɪ/; French: [bɛɲɛ], ben-YAY literally bump) are distinctly New Orleans, a delicacy intimately connected to the city’s rich French heritage. Best enjoyed heavily powdered with sugar.

Café au lait (/ˌkæfeɪ oʊ ˈleɪ, kæˌfeɪ, kə-/; French: [kafe olɛ]; French for “coffee with milk”) is a delicious New Orleans way to start your day.

This is your “After-Saints-Game” brunch, where we talk about the state of the Black and Gold, we debate the goings-on with the team and talk about what’s next at this point of the season. So, sit back, take a bite and a sip while your brain slowly wakes up, and let’s catch up on some football.


What Just Happened?

The New Orleans Saints had their backs against the proverbial wall: fail to win Thursday night and you find yourself with a 5-7 record, loser of five straight games. Well, they lost, 27-17 to the Dallas Cowboys and as it has now been repeated ad nauseam, the five-game losing streak is the first for the Saints since Sean Payton became the head coach in 2006.

That the Saints lost is no big surprise: the team is injured beyond belief, and even new starting quarterback Taysom Hill injured his throwing hand during the game. There is no curse, no football gods. There are just the odds, randomly stacking up against the 2021 Saints, just like they did the 2020 San Francisco 49ers or the 2020 Dallas Cowboys when Dak Prescott broke his ankle, or countless other teams before. New Orleans now occupies the cellar of the NFC South alongside the Carolina Panthers, one year after winning the division for the fourth consecutive time. The big difference? Drew Brees is not in the building anymore. Simple as that. The NFL is a quarterback league, and that has never been truer than in this pass-happy era of football. Unfortunately for New Orleans, they currently do not have a quarterback on their roster that is capable of taking this team where it has been trying to go since it won the Super Bowl 12 seasons ago: back to the Big Game. This offseason, Sean Payton will have to make what figures to be the biggest decision of his Saints’ coaching career, and one that will define the rest of his Saints’ tenure: that will be deciding who will lead this team from next season forward. That quarterback is not on his roster yet.


Beignets and Café au Lait Awards

Hot Beignets and Hot Café au Lait: Taysom Hill.

Hill had a Jekyll and Hyde night yesterday in the Caesars Superdome: he rushed 11 times for 101 yards and led the Saints in that department. That is an incredible accomplishment when considering that the injury that has kept him out the past few games is believed to be plantar fasciitis, an incredibly painful foot injury. Hill thrilled the crowd with some jaw-dropping runs, hurdling defenders and looking unstoppable at times. He played most of the game with an injured throwing hand and did not bat an eye, throwing the ball up 41 times in the game and getting back up despite being harassed by the Cowboys’ defensive line all night long. For this heroic performance, Hill gets the nod here.

*

Stale Beignets and Cold Café au Lait: Taysom Hill.

Wait, what? Yes. As brave and gritty as he was during this game, Hill also showed just why he is...well, an amazing football player that can do many things except throwing the ball with accuracy and anticipation. The Saints’ quarterback showed why being a great NFL quarterback is so difficult: he waited for his wide receivers to be truly open to throw the ball, resulting in passes that were either broken up, or that were intercepted. Four interceptions, to be precise. He finished 19-of-41 for 264 yards, four INTs and a 44.2 quarterback rating. Not good, not good at all.


What’s Next?

With only five games left in the regular season, the Saints’ playoffs odds are dwindling fast. Next up are the New York Jets (3-8) on Sunday December 12 at 12 PM CT in New York. If the Saints are to have the slightest of chance to make it to the postseason, they need to win at least four of their five remaining games, and hope that the NFC continues to cannibalize itself. At 9-8, there would be a chance, albeit a slim one. The Jets face the Philadelphia Eagles this coming Sunday and the team to root for here is New York, as the Wild Card is now the only path to the postseason for New Orleans. It ain’t over till it’s over, they say.

Poll

Do you actually want the Saints to make the playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Yes! Once in the tournament, everything is possible!
    (56 votes)
  • 11%
    No, they will just lose in the first round.
    (31 votes)
  • 26%
    Yes, you play to win the game!
    (72 votes)
  • 36%
    No, tank and get a high draft pick!
    (99 votes)
  • 5%
    I always want a burger, or two, or three.
    (14 votes)
272 votes total Vote Now

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