Monday, October 13, 2008

Perspective is a Beautiful Thing

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 9:17 PM

click to enlarge gumbo TD

Photos by Jonathan Bachman

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Yesterday was a lot of fun wasn't it? When was the last time that Saints fans saw such a convincing, dominant win? It's been ages, right? Years even. It's a good thing, too. Cause yesterday proved that the Saints are an unstoppable scoring machine that can shut teams down at will.

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Well, not really.

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click to enlarge okland facemask tackle

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Yesterday proved a few things: that the Saints can dominate a team in turmoil that just fired its head coach; it proved that the Saints can recover from a devastating home loss on a short week; it showed us all that Drew Brees could be the best quarterback in the league right now; and, lastly, the Saints may not have found an answer at kicker with Taylor Melhaff. Let's go through these points line-by-line.

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  • The Oakland Raiders fall into the category of teams that Saints should, and need to, beat if they want to be a playoff team. By making it look so easy, the Saints showed they can beat a team they're supposed to on paper. The Saints lowest statistical ranking is rushing offense, where they're 24th in the league (and which is made up for by the fact that they lead the league in passing offense). Meanwhile, aside from having the 4th-best rushing offense, the Raiders are in the bottom half of the league in every other major offensive or defensive category.
  • The Saints needed to bounce back in the best way. The loss to Minnesota on Monday resonated through the Superdome in the first quarter after Oakland scored first and then Taylor Melhaff missed his first field goal try (we'll get to that in a bit). The Saints ability to not only put losses behind them, but also missed opportunities, was on display when they scored those 34 points to finish the game.

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click to enlarge brees name

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  • Drew Brees is the best quarterback in the NFL right now. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He leads the league in total passing yards, yards per game, completions, and in plays over 20+ and 40+ yards. He's second in the league in quarterback rating, completion percentage and yards per completion. And he's doing it all without his No. 1 target (Marques Colston) and No. 1 tight-end (Jeremy Shockey).
  • The kicker was neither the problem nor the solution. Taylor Melhaff missed his first attempt (a 32-yard chip shot) and also sent a kickoff out of bounds. I've said it before and I've said it again, teams that believe they can solve their problems by changing their kicker have much bigger problems to deal with. Being Grammatica free does not ensure anything other than less Spanish being spoken in the locker room.

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click to enlarge saints d players

-So what does all this mean? Well, it could be easy to say that the Saints defense is back on the map and that this team now cast aside their early-season demons that plagued them in close games, but in all reality, the Saints don't get to play the Raiders every week. In fact, the schedule only gets tougher.

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The Saints must travel to Carolina this week and then to London to face the Chargers the next week. After that they face Atlanta (twice), Green Bay, travel to Tampa Bay and Chicago and finish the season with the Panthers at home in a game that could determine who goes to the playoffs. In that stretch, the Saints have the pleasure of playing the Chiefs and the Lions, but there are no gimme games.

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click to enlarge saints fans

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In other words, enjoy the victory, Saints fans, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

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