Saints 2014|14

Dec 7, 2014 by

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For the seventh time the Saints have landed at 5-7. Jim Mora’s 1990 team finished at 8-8 and that’s about it for “winning” records from this stage, but with Carolina, Chicago, Atlanta and Tampa Bay at the end of our schedule it’s possible we could finish above .500. The only thing standing in our way is consistency.

By now you’ve heard how the “vastly improved” offense and/or defense defeated the 7-4 Steelers. On the road. A game we were 100% destined to lose. Like I said last week, the minute I predict one outcome, the trap will spring and the egg will hit me square in the face. Admittedly, it’s nice to read some good things about the 2014 Saints, but I take issue with “vastly improved”. Again, I say: consistency. A string of similar games would deserve that description, but until I see them, last week remains a fluke. But a very nice fluke nonetheless.

It was our fourth straight game without a rushing TD but when the passing game is on fire, who the hell cares? Drew Brees, (who a week before threw 3 TDs in a 420 passing yard loss,) managed 5 TDs in just 257 yards! Of course turnovers helped. Despite Patrick Robinson’s refusal to catch three interceptions thrown directly to him, the Saints capitalized with TDs on INTs by Cam Jordan and Kenny Vaccaro. Vastly Improved? Well, better than the goose-eggs the secondary has been stating all year but at this point, still fluke.

And speaking of fluke, I still don’t see how the Saints won. 150 fewer total yards, half as many 1Ds, worse 3D conversion percentage, 30 fewer plays, twice the penalties for three times the yardage, and eight fewer minutes of possession! About the only stat we won were those two INTs compared to the Steelers’ 0. And, of course, Brees’ 140.0 passer rating versus Big Ben’s 76.4. Mind boggling.

So here come the Carolina Panthers who lead the series 20-19, but the Saints have the edge 8-7, SPE. Everything about this game screams trap. While the Saints have been a train wreck this year, the Panthers have been the train that deliberately switches full-speed onto the track that stops at a mountain that hasn’t had a tunnel dug yet and already has four wrecked trains ablaze in front of it and a big red sign with white letters in all caps that reads “YOU’RE GOING TO CRASH AND BURN!” Yeah, they’re essentially the Wile E. Coyote of the NFC South. Plus, the Saints are still something like 90% at home over the last four years and coming off a win nobody thought they’d get. The offense proved it can dominate and the defense proved it can stop a tough opponent. So…trap.

Still, how can I not pick the Saints? The Machine calls it a 24-23 Saints win and I should go with that; it’s the best average of all scenarios including blowouts either way. And while I can’t justify placing an over-abundance of Faith in this Saints team, neither can I give Carolina the benefit of the doubt that their team will even show up today! Besides, I’ve been drinking and it’s no fun rooting your team to a one-point victory, so…

Panthers: 20

Saints: 38

And I no longer care if I’m close to correct as the one consistent element to this team is its’ inconsistency! Meanwhile, back in the jungle, there’s fresh numerical frippery just hanging low from the trees!

Drew Brees (139-t-13th) tied Will Smith’s service record. Brees (5479-1st) is 21 attempts away from #5500. Brees last completion of the Steeler game was his #3700.

Mark Ingram (528-11th) passed Reggie Bush (524) in rushing attempts.

Marques Colston (8971-1st) is now just 29 yards from being the first Saint with a career 9000 receiving yards!

Jimmy Graham caught no passes and was not targeted at all. Wonder what he did to piss off Payton.

Eric Lorig and Nick Toon Became the 314th and 315th Saints to score points in a game. (278th and 279th to score TDs; 145th and 146th by pass.)

Cam Jordan (27.5-14th) trails Junior Galette (28.5) by one sack. For the season he trails 6-7. Jordan made the Saints only sack against the Steelers.

Last week’s grabass winner, Nick Becton, failed to engage Terrence Frederick into a rematch this week. No doubt Frederick is ashamed of his meager showing last week. The two did trade sullen looks most of the game with Becton again defeating Frederick in four sets; 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

-M Styborski

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