this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. -- Mostly in private and occasionally in public, the New Orleans Saints have tossed around the word "special" to describe the remarkable start to the 2009 season.Even before the first kickoff, Drew Brees commissioned T-shirts with the ...
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|10-26-2009, 03:57 PM||#1|
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MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. -- Mostly in private and occasionally in public, the New Orleans Saints have tossed around the word "special" to describe the remarkable start to the 2009 season.Even before the first kickoff, Drew Brees commissioned T-shirts with the word in big block letters across the back -- SPECIAL -- and distributed them around the locker room to teammates.
Now we know why.
If any doubts remained that the Saints are in the midst of one of the truly special seasons in club history they melted in the sultry South Florida heat and white-hot fury of their stunning come-from-behind victory against the Dolphins on Sunday.
Even the most cynical Who Dats must have converted to devout believers after watching the Saints outscore the shocked Dolphins 43-10 in the head-spinning final 30:02 of their 46-34 victory at Land Shark Stadium.
It was their sixth consecutive win by double digits and left them as the lone unbeaten team in the NFC. They are 6-0 for only the second time in franchise history. You have to go back almost two decades to find a better start to a Saints season. The 1991 bunch won their first seven.
"We have a great locker room, a great team and we stuck by each other, " running back Mike Bell said. "We had a great attitude coming into halftime. We weren't feeling sorry for ourselves. We came back, persevered, stuck to the game plan and came up victorious."
The classic 'trap' game
Everyone, including myself, thought this was the classic "trap" game for the Saints. Sandwiched between an emotional victory against the unbeaten Giants and a Monday night showdown against the rival Atlanta Falcons, it seemed the perfect recipe for a letdown. The game was on the road. In the South Florida heat. In a place where they'd never won a game.
And indeed, the Saints opened the game as if they'd spent Saturday night partying on South Beach.
They -- not the Dolphins -- looked like fish out of water as they stumbled and bumbled through the first 28 minutes.
They committed three penalties before they made their fifth offensive snap.
They couldn't stop the run on defense and couldn't protect Drew Brees on offense. By midway through the second quarter, the NFL's No. 1 offense had more turnovers (two) than first downs.
By late in the second quarter, the Saints weren't in a trap, they were in a chasm. The Dolphins led 24-3 and were driving for another score just before halftime.
On the Saints' sideline, Brees stared at the scoreboard in disbelief: "How, " he asked himself, "did this get out of hand like this?"
Harper provided first spark
Then, seemingly from nowhere, came hope -- a spark of life.
On a seemingly benign pass in the right flat, Roman Harper made a diving stop and stripped the football from receiver Davone Bess. Scott Shanle fell on the loose ball. The Saints had life, and their first break of the game.
A few plays later, Brees looked like the Dolphins logo as he leapt over pile into the end zone for the Saints' first touchdown. It was a do-or-die play, from the one-foot line with 5 seconds left and no timeouts. And even then, Brees had to convince coach Sean Payton to let him try it.
"I knew I could get the ball in on a QB sneak and I knew what a huge momentum boost that would be for our team, " said Brees, who spiked the ball emphatically to the turf after the score.
The defense came through again on the first series of the second half. Darren Sharper's third interception return for a touchdown made it 24-17 and from there it was all Saints.
No punts in second half
New Orleans did not punt in the second half and scored 24 points on its final four possessions. The defense held the Dolphins without a first down on six of their first seven series of the half.
"I was just proud of the way we hung in there and hung in there, " Payton said. "We talked about playing a full game -- four quarters -- and I think we did that today."
Picked by most experts to finish third in the NFC South, the Saints now have opened a whopping two-game lead on the rest of the division.
Moreover, they're making a case to be mentioned among the most prolific offenses in NFL history.
Their 238 points is the second highest total in NFL history for a team in the first six games. Only the 2000 Rams, who scored 262, scored more.
The Saints scored 45 or more points in a game five times in the first 642 games of club history. They've now done it four times this season. And none in more incredible fashion than Sunday.
The Saints entered the game having not trailed in any of their first five games. Yet on Sunday, they found themselves behind for most of the afternoon. They trailed from the 7-minute mark of the first quarter until 8:35 of the fourth quarter.
An uncharacteristic dunk
That's when Brees snuck into the end zone from the 2-yard line to put the Saints on top for good and continue their quixotic quest during this seeming season of destiny.
After Brees scored, he bolted to his feet, coiled his 6-foot frame toward the turf and vaulted skyward to dunk the ball over the goal post. It was an uncharacteristic display of emotion for the normally businesslike Brees.
"That's all we've talked about, finishing football games, " Brees said. "We hadn't been in a situation like this in a while. . . . We all knew that they had given us their best shot . . . and all we had to do is string a few drives together. Honest to god, we knew it was going to happen, and sure enough it did."
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|10-26-2009, 04:30 PM||#2|
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Central Florida
Blog Entries: 16
Re: New Orleans Saints in midst of truly special season:
AWESOME - Here in FLorida all I can normally do is listen to the games & watch the little helmets move around on the computer. It was nice to actually see them play!!