Saints 2014|13

Nov 30, 2014 by

Saints LogoMomma says if you can’t say anything nice about a team then don’t say anything at all. Be a short post if I adhered to that.

It’s the ninth stop at 4-7 for the Saints. Jim Haslett’s 2004 team went 8-8; Mora took the 1994 and 1995 teams to 7-9; Ditka went 6-10 in 1997. In 14-game seasons the other 4-7 teams finished thrice at at 5-9 and once at 4-10. The odds are now against us.

It’s been three straight games –make that three straight home games– without a rushing TD! Point the finger squarely at the O-line which has been protecting Drew Brees rather well, but can’t seem to open a hole for the running backs who continue to plow blindly into the enmeshed pile of bodies at the line of scrimmage. While that’s bad enough, the entire offense is fraught with indecision. From Drew Brees’ inexplicable start-stop-start-stop-tackled on the opening drive of the Baltimore game to any number of offensive plays where a Saint gets the ball then does some long division in his head trying to decide where he wants to be tackled. And invariably it’s where he’s standing! More often than not this results in 2- to 3-yard plays. Three of those in a row result in a punt. Go figure. Even I know that moving forward an extra two-three yards will get you closer to the goal!

Meanwhile, our fully capable receiving corps is now inexplicably bolstered by former Jets WR Jalen Saunders. I guess there’s no confidence in the health of any of our wideouts. Against Baltimore, Joe Morgan took a reverse sweep for 62 yards before being horse-collared at the two he and caught his only target for another 67 yards. Despite this, Brees and Sean Payton ignored him for the rest of the game. Incontheiveable!

And here come the Pittsburgh Steelers with the series tied at seven apiece and against Payton one each. The Saints lead in the Louisiana Superdome 5-4 while the Steelers lead 3-2 when hosting. New Orleans hasn’t topped the Steelers in the Burgh since Mora in 1987. I’m 1-1 when attending in the Dome: A 9-6 Steeler victory in a defensive slugfest known as the Battle of the Anderso/ens in 1990 and the 20-10 Saints win on Halloween in 2010. Mom did invite me up to the Burgh for the game this week, though when I asked her how she got tickets she said, “What tickets? We’ll watch it on TV!” Hurm…

The Steelers might have been one of the Saints oldest rivalries had the NFL not been such a fan of musical chairs in the late-sixties. In 1967 The Saints joined the league as its sixteenth team allowing the NFL to realign into a 4/4/2 scheme of teams/divisions/conferences. New Orleans joined the Eastern Conference Capital Division with Dallas, Philly and Washington. In 1968 the Saints traded spots with the Giants, moving into the Century Division with Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the St Louis Cardinals but swapped back in 1969. Then in 1970 the Saints were moved into the all-too-familiar and not-missed-at-all NFC West along with San Fran, Atlanta and the LA Rams.

Both Saints and Steelers managed the early part of the 2014 season badly; losing games they should have won and trouncing opponents they should have fallen to. Both teams stayed on a similar roller coaster but Pittsburgh has managed to put seven ticks in their W column–the opposite of the Saints. Yet even with the Saints troubles I had this game marked down as a victory for them; now… not so much. In fact, I don’t see them even competing in this one as Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu return from injuries. Granted, Taylor will more than likely give the Saints at least one massive pass interference call on third-and-crucial –possibly two– but Polamalu will terrorize Brees on every play. It’s not going to be pretty. It will be interesting, though, to see how the Steelers utilize Lance Moore in this game and if the Saints will put Keenan Lewis on him.

The Machine says Stillers win, 25-21. Sure, why not! Except the minute I pick one team the other will bring a trouncing. Especially the Saints who are back to predictable form being waylaid by chumps and embarrassing contenders. If I were you, I’d bet against me!

Saints: 17
Steelers: 30

Meanwhile, here’s the hot and fresh frippery from our table to yours!

Drew Brees (138-t-14th) will tie Will Smith’s (139-13th) service total today! Brees (310-51st) passed Rod McNeill (296), Billy Kilmer (299), Wilmont Perry (302) and John Fourcade (302) in rushing yards. Brees (7261-4th) also moved past John Elway (7250-5th) in career passing attempts.

Pierre Thomas (314-6th) passed Danny Abramowicz (309) in receptions.

Mark Ingram (2107-11th) passed Reggie Bush (2090) in rushing yards.

Marques Colston (65-1st) caught his 65th TD pass! Colston (8955-1st) is 45 yards from being the first Saint with a career 9000 receiving yards!

Kenny Stills (1170-38th) passed Mike A Jones (1045), Chuck Muncie (1086), Ricky Williams (1092), Wesley Walls (1100), Boo Wiliams (1143) and Cam Cleeland (1147) on the receiving yards list!

Joe Morgan played his 17th game in three years! Morgan (68-104th) moved up from 196th in rushing yards with a single 67-yard run! Additionally, Morgan (448-78th) moved 12 spots past 14 players on his one catch for 62 yards! Morgan (12-152nd) also moved his receptions/game up to 0.71!

Nick Toon got in his 11th game in two years catching three balls for 42 yards!

Jimmy Graham (300-9th) scored his 300th career point as a Saint breaking his tie with Eric Martin and is one score away from Joe Horn (306). Graham (50-t-4th) also untied Martin and Quinn Early (48) and tied Horn (50) in total and receiving TDs.

Shayne Graham (94-39th) passed John Tice and Wes Chandler (both 90) on the points list. Graham (40-10th) also passed Garo Yepremian (39) on the XP list.

S Pierre Warren, LB Moise Fokou and WR Jalen Saunders became the 855th, 856th and 857th players to wear the Black and Gold. Warren (5-226th) became the 312th Saint to make a tackle.

The grabass game was filled by WR Terrence Frederick (one game) and OT Nick Becton (two games), both new additions who have yet to take the field. Becton won in three straight sets: 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

-M Styborski

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