The “Fat Lady” may not be singing but that was only because she never took the stage. She was upstaged by the opening act, that being New York Giants rookie running back David Wilson who became the NFL’s first player to have 200 yards in kickoff returns and 100 yards rushing in a game. Wilson finished the day with 327 all-purpose yards.
New York’s 52 points were the most by the team since putting up 55 points against Green Bay way back in 1986.
The loss doesn’t mathematically eliminate the Saints from the playoffs but at (5-8) and only three games remaining in the season, one would need a magical abacus to figure out a way New Orleans would play post season football. That’s if they even deserve to be in the playoffs.
“We were at 500. We had crawled all the way to 5-5 after the 0-4 start and really felt like we were catching our stride,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said following the game. “We knew we had a really tough stretch ahead of us but we knew we controlled our own destiny at that point. I think that’s been the most disappointing thing is losing the way that we have, doing some uncharacteristic things, doing all the things that get you beat. That’s the disappointing thing because we know better.”
Brees finished the game 26 of 43 for 354 yards to go with a touchdown and two interceptions. Runningback Mark Ingram rushed for 68 yards on 13 carries to lead a Saints ground game that rushed for 142 yards.
It was the third straight loss for the Saints and the defeats have shown that New Orleans hasn’t been better than the three division teams they have beaten them. San Francisco won 31-21, Atlanta 23-13 and New York 52-27. The Saints entered the 49ers game having won three straight games and appeared to playing its best football of the season. The team also knew the competition was about to get tougher and they needed to match that level of play. New Orleans simply isn’t on the level of the NFC West, East and South division leaders. A combined score of 106 to 61 in those combined losses is proof.
“At some point in time the coaches on the sideline are trying to put their finger in the dyke to stop the bleeding,” Vitt said. “It’s got to be put on some of the players at some point in time to make sure that we’re doing the right things at the right time to win a football game.”
Things started out well as Saints defensive back Elbert Mack intercepted an Eli Manning pass and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown to give the Saints a 7-0 lead. The good times lasted all but the time it took for the game to pause for the television timeout. Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown tying the game at 7-7. It took three plays for the Saints to show this indeed is the holiday season as they handed New York another gift, a Marques Colston fumble.
“All of a sudden you look up and you’re down 14-7 to start this game,” said Vitt of the team continuing to make mental mistakes. “If we just stop shooting ourselves in the foot and play smart football we’re going to have a chance to win. Well, we decided to return a ball that’s eight yards deep in the endzone that we talked about not doing. We give our offense bad field position, the ball is off of a receiver’s hands there’s a turnover and here we go.”
The Saints will host Tampa Bay Sunday at noon before wrapping up the 2012 season with a game at Dallas and in the dome against Carolina.
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