The Bad and The Good
Saints choke. Tulane wins.
It was a back and forth weekend for the home teams — that is if you’re a fan of the New Orleans Saints and Tulane Green Wave. On Saturday, a big win was bought home by Tulane with the 30-13 victory over Southern Mississippi. Unfortunately, on Sunday, it was a completely sub-par performance by the New Orleans Saints offense that would end their season.
New Orleans Saints
It’s hard to figure out who to be most disappointed in for this Wild Card collapse. Was it just Drew Brees? Was it the offensive line? Was it Sean Payton?
Whoever’s fault it was might be irrelevant because the team was borderline comatose for 80 percent of the game. There was absolutely no pulse in any Brees-led drive in the first half. Thankfully Taysom Hill got behind center and chucked a pass for a 50-yard gain that would eventually lead to an Alvin Kamara touchdown (his only highlight of the game) that saved the Saints in the first half.
Aside from that wonderful play by Hill, and a recovered fumble on the first drive, the first half was an absolute bust on the offensive side of the ball. Brees did nothing. Alvin Kamara did nothing. Once again, the Saints barely gave Latavius Murray the ball and the offense did a lot of nothing. In the end, the Saints were lucky to be trailing only by the three points at the half.
The second half would get no better as the offense remained tepid. The Saints would punt three times in the second half and only once sustain a drive that had some heat on it. In a crucial drive, Brees actually started connecting with receivers, hitting Jared Cooks multiple times before finding Taysom Hill for a 20-yard touchdown pass
for the only time the Saints offense felt like it could win the game.
Wil Lutz, after missing an easy kick in the first half that would come back to haunt, would eventually tie the game up at 20-20 but the writing was on the wall from the get-go. The Saints were outplayed all day. In overtime, against a Saints defense that had spent way too much time on the field, the Vikings stuck the dagger in New Orleans heart. The Vikings, once again, knocked the Saints out the playoffs.
And if you’re the sort of type that wants to chirp about the offensive pass interference that won the game in overtime, well, technically you’re right but the referees haven’t called that all year long so you shouldn’t expect for them to call it now.
The defense gave up 20 points in regulation. That’s a game a team of this caliber should win easily. There’s only one entity to accuse of losing this game and that’s the Saints offense. Now get ready for a lot of “window closing” talk. Awful loss by the home team.
Tulane Green Wave
On the flip side, it was an amazing win by the home team as the Tulane Green Wave beat the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 30-13 in the Armed Forced Forces Bowl.
After a slow start that saw the Wave fall behind 13-0 to Southern Miss, the Green Wave would rule the second half (and also knock out the Golden Eagles’ starting quarterback) and never look back in a giant victory for the program and record their first back-to-back bowl victories for the first time ever.
Tulane recorded its seventh victory of the season and has now posted two consecutive winning seasons under Coach Willie Fritz. The team will see a lot of starters (especially on offense) move on due to graduation but Fritz has continually brought great recruits in to join the Wave and the future remains bright for the boys that play in Uptown. Roll Wave.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: The saddest beer you know.
Playlist Recommendation: The saddest song you know.
Around the Way
Check this out New Orleans Saints fans. You still have something that you can do and I’m sure you’re going to love it. The Tulane Green Wave men’s basketball team play in a tiny dome — OK it’s not a dome — and might be the real deal Holyfield playing for first year coach Ron Hunter. The Green Wave (9-5) took the #9 Memphis Tigers to the wire last week in a loss and then beat the Cincinnati Bearcats 76-71 in Devlin Fieldhouse. This team is legit and, more importantly, can put balls in the bucket. Get thee to Devlin, y’all.
Tulane travels to UConn and Temple next week before returning home Jan. 14 to host UCF. Be there. A new day of Tulane basketball is here.