Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Orleans Scuttlebutt 12-8-09

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 11:32 PM

By Clay A. Smith

It was all over, and all Saints' fans could do was watch helplessly, as the 3-8 Washington Redskins lined up to boot away their team's pursuit of perfection with just under two minutes left to play. By all accounts New Orleans' unbelievable march towards 16-0 should have been stalled on Fed Ex field Sunday. After a dominating Monday night performance against New England, the 11-0 Saints ascended upon our nations' capital intent on legislating their twelfth win of the season.


As anticipated, the Redskins were prepared to lobby against it. No one outside of  Washington's locker room could've predicted the fight that awaited the "Black and Gold," but not even the hapless Skins could have foreseen the serendipitous finale that helped preserve what with every passing week, is evolving into a storybook season for a New Orleans squad that many regard as a team of  destiny.


Despite a short week and a secondary playing without three of its starters (Jabri Greer, Tracy Porter, and Randall Gay), the Saints were heavily favored against a Washington squad whose season has become more about pride and less about playoffs. But an early 10-0 Washington lead on a soggy home field had the Skins' chances of an upset looking more and more substantial. The Saints were held scoreless in the first quarter by the NFL's ninth ranked defense, and the Jason Campbell lead Washington offense, threatened to make former Skin's defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' homecoming a disastrous one.


That is until Saints' receiver Robert Meachem (8 catches 148 yds and 2 TD's) pulled off one of the most spectacularly bizarre plays of the season. On third and a mile (26), on the Redskins' forty-six, down 17-10, with forty-three seconds remaining before intermission, Saints' quarterback Drew Brees (419 yds 2 TDs) dropped back to pass. With his protection breaking down, Brees' desperation heave to tight end Jeremy Shocky fell into the arms of  Washington safety Kareem Moore at the Redskins' thirty. Moore's interception return ended at  the Skins' forty-four, where not only did Meachem rip the ball out of Moore's hands, but he returned it for a game tieing touchdown.


But Meachem's timely score wasn't the only fortuitous bounce that went the way of the Saints. On the same drive, Saints' punter Thomas Morstead shanked a twenty-nine yard punt that landed on the back of unsuspecting Redskins' corner Kevin Barnes. And Washington kicker Shaun Suisham missed a chip shot from twenty-three yards out that would have put his team back up by ten points. Instead, Brees found Meachem on a fifty-three yard score to knot it up 30-30 and send the game into overtime.


The Saints' luck would carry over to the extra period, when after a lengthy review of Chris McAlister's forced fumble (recovered by N.O.) following a reception by Washington fullback Mike Sellers (originally ruled down by contact) was awarded to New Orleans. The subsequent drive led to an eighteen yard game winning field goal by place kicker Garrett Hartley to catapult the Saints to 12-0.


Sunday,the Saints cashed in on years of Karmic debt, amassed from decades of head scratching follies and lamentable let downs-leaving the door open for critics to speculate about the legitimacy of their undefeated run. Saints' detractors would argue that Sundays' near brush with defeat puts an Astrix on the Saints' season, adding, should they do the improbable and remain undefeated. Saints' fans on the other hand would argue that a win is a win , adding , you can get your Astrix out of here.



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