The time was right. The Saints absolutely needed a play. Jared Goff, the L.A. Rams quarterback, dropped back and Trey Hendrickson stormed around the left end. Hendrickson batted the ball out of Goff’s hand and the Saints All-World defensive end Cam Jordan gobbled up the ball on a perfect bounce and took off down the sideline, seemingly led by the entire defense for one of those now classic Saints’ defensive touchdowns. It was beautiful. It was money. It was a game changer.
It was called back by the referees, once again screwing over the New Orleans Saints.
And sadly, that play had absolutely no effect on the outcome of the game.
The New Orleans Saints lost to the Los Angeles Rams because they have no plan for a backup quarterback. That should chill you to the bone. Why? Well one, the immediate future is a rough road with the next two games being against the playoff-contending Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. Let me be even more blunt about it: If Drew Brees doesn’t play next week the Saints will lose to the Seahawks in Seattle. If he’s out two weeks, the Saints will probably be 1-3 but I don’t want to go that far because the Superdome contains magic that most fields don’t have. Whatever the outcome — however the first quarter of the season ends up — the Saints have no backup plan at quarterback and that could burn them.
It’s weird to look at the header and think we’re talking about the Saints but here we are, right? The Saints can’t win without Drew Brees. This is a fact. They could probably win without some other stars but this game drilled the message home — No Brees, not many wins, no playoffs.
I’m not here to hate on Terry Bridgewater. He seems to be a decent quarterback who had success in a very different type of offense with the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints thought he was good, so who am I to say he’s not? New Orleans even went so far to give a third round draft pick for him and now pay the guy a fat $7 million to backup Brees. Yet, after the Rams game, I can’t say the Saints are getting their money’s worth.
Bridgewater has been with the team long enough to know the system and know how to make plays but those good plays are way too few and far between. The offense simply does not operate like the Saints’ offense when Bridgewater is out there. Passes downfield don’t exist when Bridgewater is in the game. He just doesn’t see the openings that are farther than 10 yards away. It’s all dink and dunk which allows a defense to start crowding the line and bottling up Alvin Kamara and the run game. It’s amazingly frustrating to watch.
Worse than his lack of vision downfield, on this Sunday, was his demeanor on the field. Unbelievably, in the moment he should’ve been barking at his teammates and energizing the club, shot after shot by the NFL cameras revealed Bridgewater shaking his head in dismay and looking very woe as me. And that was all in his first and second drives with the offense.
So, as many around me asked, where was Taysom Hill? I totally understand the team handing the ball to Bridgewater and seeing if he could lead them but when the team was down multiple touchdowns with six minutes to go it would seem to me to be a prime opportunity to see what the other quarterback has to offer. I don’t necessarily think that Hill is a better quarterback than Bridgewater but I can say that when Hill is running the offense the Saints offense feels like a Saints offense (say that three times fast). For a coach that is supposedly aggressive, Sean Payton should’ve made the call to see what Hill could do. At that point, it would not have won the game but could have answered some all of a sudden very pressing questions.
But yeah…the Refs
The hell with the referees and the NFL. I was at a big party and everyone was obviously freaking out when the game came back from commercial and the Saints didn’t have a touchdown but were way back on their side of the field. It was yet another awful joke, and I couldn’t really here the announcers talking, but I’m pretty sure one of them queried just how could the Saints keep getting screwed over by the NFL. He didn’t say it like that of course but the implication was there.
And…why does this keep happening? I’m the furthest thing away from a conspiracy guy but, at this point, that question transforms from fans just being angry to a darker truth. Does the NFL have something against the Saints?
Everyone knows the history because, unfortunately, there is a history there, but even without talking about the league’s egregious move to suspend Sean Payton in 2012 (OK fine, I just talked about it) one only has to look at the very recent history, AKA two of the last three Saints games, to see a trend and get worried.
To put it another way, in the last nine quarters that the New Orleans Saints have played, the league has stolen a defensive touchdown and an NFC Championship from them. Sandwiched between those errors was a joke of a roughing the kicker call against the Houston Texans that almost lost the first game of the season for the Saints.
So yeah, I think there’s a real problem between the NFL and the New Orleans Saints and, unfortunately, it’s one that a team usually doesn’t win.
But that’s for the playoffs. Let’s just get #9 back on the field.