There are plenty of ways to look at any game. One can take the long view — “one game at a time,” they like to say. Or, with the advent of DVR technology, a cottage industry has been built where non-football personnel (a.k.a. sportswriters) break down every single play of game — you’ve seen it, the still photos with all of those snazzy arrows pointing this way and that. Heck, even the “hot take” — social media’s true love — is a universal phenomenon at this point. I guess they all have their use. The past few years I have just employed the mellow (say this like a hippy), “Take your time, man,” method. It’s helpful, especially after watching the Saints lack of time management blow the season-opener against the Raiders.
Yes, I know the referees screwed the Saints over. In case you were caught inside a gallon of the ever-so-tasty Hypnotic Chill daiquiri, Saints backup linebacker Craig Robertson was called for pass interference on a 4th down pass play that would have effectively ended the game. Instead, two plays later, it was Raiders quarterback David Carr hitting Seth Roberts (not the coolest football name) for a 10-yard touchdown, and then lobbing a successful two-point conversion to Michael Crabtree to put the Raiders up 35-34.
But the Saints still had Drew Brees.
Brees, in a Tecmo Bowl-like performance, floated near perfection all day long. So much so, that, as reported by Nola.com’s Jeff Duncan, he’s the only quarterback to throw for over 400 yards, for four touchdowns, zero picks and have a QB rating (football science, don’t ask me how it works) north of 131 — and lose the game. Ever.
So what did Brees do? He got the ball and drove his team immediately across field into enemy territory. Brees looked at the clock, saw that he had two more shots because the team had a timeout lef…oh, right. They didn’t have any time outs left. And, yes, you could argue that the referees caused an earlier timeout by pulling another yet all too common Keystone Cops routine earlier in the fourth quarter. It went unnoticed because the Saints would score the next play. At least by me that is, but I was in the boisterous Prytania Bar talking to some new Cuban friends. They were a lively bunch and Pete — who runs the bar — was giving out free shots for Saints touchdowns. So…yeah.
Back to time — and at this point of the day, some of it was slipping by me. However, I was yelling at the TV a few minutes earlier as the Saints were standing around, wondering what to do on fourth down with an easy chip shot 20-yard field goal at their fingertips. Or would it be tippy-toes? Unfortunately, instead of bringing the field goal unit out, they waited, and waited, and then they wanted to think about it and burnt a timeout.
And after the timeout they kicked a field goal.
Maybe I’m old school or maybe I’m still New Jack swing, but I am of the mentality that if you call a timeout on fourth down at the three yard line — YOU ALWAYS GO FOR IT. You’ve made the investment (a timeout), and now you’ve got to let it ride. Call your best play and rely on your pros to make you look good.
Still, looking back in time, it was a really great time Sunday. Sure — the defense collapsed after Delvin Breaux’s injury and now one of the starting cornerbacks next week will only have one more game of NFL starting experience than yours truly; and sure the Saints have a multi-million dollar “healthy scratch” in C.J. Spiller (four years, $18 million) standing on the sideline and another high-priced free agent, Coby Fleener (five years, $36 million) who is catching more questions than balls this week – but hey – did you see Drew Brees? It’s going to be a wild ride this year, folks. Buckle up.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Radium City Brewing’s “Passing Time” IPA
Playlist Recommendation: Styx – “Too Much Time On My Hands”
*Sidenote: You should really click the link above. It’s not just Styx – but it’s Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd recreating this classic early 80’s video. Bowl cuts, perms and mustaches included.
Around The Way
You have got to take the long view when watching the Tulane Green Wave football program. I know, I know it’s really tempting to load up the hype train and let coach Willie Fritz take us on a fantastic voyage but let’s just chill for a bit. Or, actually, until Saturday when Tulane DESTROYS NAVY. Yes! I’m on the train!
But, before the imminent destruction of the Naval Academy, it was fun to see Tulane actually play like a big dog last Saturday against Southern — a team that could do some damage in the SWAC this year. The 66-21 annihilation is interesting just in that it felt new and unexpected. The days of Tulane struggling with teams they’re supposed to beat could be behind them. And if you can’t stop the run? Good heavens. Fritz is going to haunt you.
The Green Wave only attempted six passes. Opting instead to crush the Jaguars by way of 57 rushing attempts for 447 yards. If that wasn’t enough Parry Nickerson scored on a 96-yard interception return and Sherman Badie took a kick off 86 yards for a touchdown as well.
So, take notice, New Orleans. I assure you Navy did. The Midshipmen, with their own take on the option offense, come to Yulman Stadium to get demolished this Saturday by the Angry Wave at 6 p.m. Roll Wave.
Speaking of time, I was shocked and elated all at once when Kelly Massicot, my web editor, texted me that Sept. 15 marks Full Sport Press’ one-year anniversary. And like any good quarterback knows, you can’t do it without, “the guys up front.” So, thank you to everyone for coming along for this slightly addled trip through the New Orleans sports scene and I hope we get to do this for many years to come.