Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So...Where Do We Begin?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 12:58 PM

click to enlarge 2921410102_9bd689d980.jpg_v_0

 

All photos by Jonathan Bachman

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"That was probably one of the weirdest games I’ve ever been involved in," Drew Brees said at the start of his press conference. "I’m trying to digest it all right now."

You can't blame him, or anyone really, for trying to decipher all the things that went down during yesterday's ultimately heart-breaking 27—30 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Do you focus on the five fumbles (two lost) and the interception in the red zone? Or are Saints fans supposed to curse the 11 penalties for 102 yards (42 of those coming right before Ryan Longwell's game-winning kick)? Here's an idea: blame Martin Grammatica for that blocked kick that got returned for a touchdown and that missed kick with two minutes remaining in the fourth!

click to enlarge VIkings TD

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How about, as Sean Payton did, chose all of the above?

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"There were a number of things that you could say we set out to do," he said. "And yet if you fumble the ball and you have the drops and you have all the penalties those will do you in."

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click to enlarge brees fumble

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Turnovers were the reason that the Saints trailed by 10 points at the half. The fact that they out-gained Minnesota 251—120 was rendered moot by the two lost fumbles and the blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown.

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click to enlarge false start

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Penalties were the reason the Saints were unable to put Minnesota away last night. A penalty was the reason that the Minnesota got a second chance on third down to start the second quarter and ended up scoring a touchdown. Another penalty on third down gave Minnesota the ball in field goal range with under two minutes to play.

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click to enlarge Bush TD

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You could argue that Reggie Bush had every reason to have a complete T.O.-type meltdown at the end of that game. He broke the Saints' record for most return yards in a game and was the first Saint to return two punt returns for a touchdown in a game — plays that almost single-handedly won the game — and yet he was on the losing end for the third time in four weeks. You could argue he had just cause to rail the refs for not calling an obvious face-mask penalty committed on him right before his first fumble. Bush did neither and both at the same time; he repeated his earlier coach's line from and recognized everyone did their part in the loss.

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"We lost this game today collectively from top to bottom, form the players to the coaching staff," he said. Then, talking about his first fumble, "It was a face mask [penalty], we didn’t get the call. But I still gotta hold onto the ball."

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And while Bush's great accomplishments were for naught, so were the Saints' defensive accomplishments. Adrian Peterson — who only last season broke the single-game rushing record in his rookie year — was covered in Black and Gold all night. He gained just 32 yards on 21 carries, the third-lowest rushing total of his brief but meteoric career. And yet this team was incapable of keeping Gus Frerote from making big throws down the field.

click to enlarge peterson stuff

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"We just beat ourselves," Scott Fujita said. " You were proud of everyone for fighting back, but you can't win games like that. We will never win a game again if we have those kinds of miscues."

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Chances are, the Saints will win another game again. And, with everything players, coaches and fans have have to digest about yesterday's loss, the only thing that really matters right now is that this team is 2—3 and last in its division. And the only way that's going to change is if the Saints find a way to beat other teams — and learn to keep from beating themselves.

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