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Halo 10-27-2009 11:12 AM

Saints win over miami dolphins most impressive in franchise history
 
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The New Orleans Saints’ 46-34 victory at Miami on Sunday was the most impressive triumph in the history of the franchise.

It wasn’t the biggest win – until New Orleans reaches a Super Bowl, the 27-24 divisional playoff victory against Philadelphia in the 2006 season will forever hold that distinction.

It wasn’t as historic as others such as the 20-16 victory at Pittsburgh in 1987, which clinched the first winning record, or the 27-3 victory at Arizona (then called Phoenix), which clinched the first division title.

It wasn’t the most emotional win – that was the 23-3 Monday nighter against the Falcons that christened the reopening of the Superdome in 2006.

It wasn’t the most dominant win – that could be the 42-17 win at Dallas in 2006 or the 42-0 pasting of the Broncos in 1988.

It didn’t have the novelty of the 21-20 victory at the Jets that enabled the 1980 team to sidestep a 0-16 record or the 19-16 victory over the Lions via Tom Dempsey’s record 63-yard field goal in 1973.

But when it comes to the whole package – the importance of the game, the quality of the opposition, the ability to overcome significant adversity in a season previously devoid of adversity, the size of the deficit overcome, and the manner in which it was done – this victory was singular.

One of the reasons it’s the most impressive win is that for nearly half the game the Saints were so utterly unimpressive in digging themselves a hole seemingly too deep to climb out of.

Having been nearly perfect at the start of each of their first five games, all of which they won easily, they sputtered out of the gate as a Marques Colston drop and a Jon Stinchcomb false-start derailed the first possession.

After that it was clear the Dolphins were a better prepared, more determined, better focused, and sharper team that was playing about as well as it could.

They thoroughly whipped the Saints’ offensive line throughout the first half and enjoyed a 24-3 lead that seemed headed to 31-3 late in the second quarter.

Then New Orleans caught two breaks – a fumble recovery by Scott Shanle that stopped Miami and gave the Saints a scoring opportunity, which came only after a booth review that gave a borderline call to New Orleans.

By the way, the “this-could-only-happen-to-the-Saints” replay malfunction ruling notwithstanding, New Orleans is in the midst of its greatest two-week run with officials in the history of the franchise. Two weeks ago against the Giants, New York cornerback Corey Webster was called for pass interference against Colston when the pair’s feet got tangled accidentally. The 35-yard infraction set up a touchdown.

In the same game, a booth review determined that the ball was coming loose but wasn’t a fumble on a Shanle fumble return, setting up another touchdown.

Then on Sunday came the second Shanle call, the Colston catch and fumble that could have been an incompletion (or a completion that would have run out the clock) that followed shortly thereafter, and the Darren Sharper-scored-a-touchdown-before-he-fumbled ruling were all borderline calls, all important plays, and all went the Saints way – every single one of them. What in the name of Grover Klemmer is going on here?

OK, now back to the turnaround. After the Shanle recovery and the Colston catch that was marked inside the one, Sean Payton inexplicably sent John Carney on to the field to kick a field goal that would have made it 24-6 and sent the Dolphins into halftime feeling like they had snuffed out the Saints’ last gasp.

Even more inexplicably, Miami coach Tony Sparano called timeout, giving Drew Brees time to talk some sense into Payton and Brees ran on the field and leaped over the top for a touchdown and a 24-10 halftime score that left the Saints at least fogging the mirror.

Here’s what’s most important about the Saints’ 36-10 dominance in the second half – Payton’s commitment to the run game made the difference. New Orleans was trailing, 27-17, midway through the third quarter and Payton put Mike Bell in the game and ran right at the Dolphins. The tired defense got a chance to catch its breath, the offensive line got a chance to dish out a little of what it had been taking in pass protection, and the game turned.

Perhaps the most amazing stat in a game filled with amazing stats was that the Saints out-rushed the Dolphins. Miami, the top running team in the NFL, was dominating in the run game while building its early lead. The Saints, who didn’t get their running game going until they were down by multiple scores, wiped out that advantage, rushing for one more yard for the game. Payton has taken a cute passing game and turned it into a tough, multi-faceted offense.

One last thing about the second half – Carney’s missed extra point, for which snapper Jason Kyle and especially holder Mark Brunell share the blame. That left the Saints with a precarious 37-34 lead and a still precarious 40-34 lead later. Virtually any other Saints team would have lost that game, 41-40 – you just know they would have. But not this team.

A rally from a 21-point deficit, a quarterback who overcomes four turnovers and talks his coach into a game-turning decision, a coach who clearly has matured in his fourth season, a defense that adjusts and scores, a really good team that is a team in every sense, and even help from the officials – this victory had it all.

That’s why it’s more impressive than any of the 269 previous victories in Saints history. And with the way this season is going, you can’t help but wonder if it too will be surpassed some time between now and February.

LINKBACK: NEWORLEANS.COM

Tobias-Reiper 10-27-2009 11:25 AM

Re: Saints win over miami dolphins most impressive in franchise history
 
.. that calls have been going the Saints way, is what gives me chills.
In 42 years we have seen HORRIBLE, and I mean HORRIBLE calls go against the Saints, even a referee commit pass interference on a sure TD, and all of the sudden, the ticky-tacky calls are going the Saints way.

It's like an omen, I tell you.

Rugby Saint II 10-27-2009 12:43 PM

Re: Saints win over miami dolphins most impressive in franchise history
 
When I think about the bad bounces and bad calls that have followed the Saints I cringe. There is something to be said for luck...I mean good luck. It's about time that the lucky bounces went our way. I have seen a couple of lucky breaks before but they have been few and far between. The curse that has followed us has given way to good fortune. It was bound to happen, with all those bad calls and bad bounces we were bound to get lucky at some point. BTW I'm a firm believer that you make your own luck.

QBREES9 10-27-2009 11:42 PM

Re: Saints win over miami dolphins most impressive in franchise history
 
It was a Roller coaster ride of a game. It was game that had everything.Yes it was the best game the Saints ever played.

Saint_LB 10-28-2009 05:19 AM

Re: Saints win over miami dolphins most impressive in franchise history
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II (Post 173156)
When I think about the bad bounces and bad calls that have followed the Saints I cringe. There is something to be said for luck...I mean good luck. It's about time that the lucky bounces went our way. I have seen a couple of lucky breaks before but they have been few and far between. The curse that has followed us has given way to good fortune. It was bound to happen, with all those bad calls and bad bounces we were bound to get lucky at some point. BTW I'm a firm believer that you make your own luck.

Of all the bad luck and bad bounces, the play that sticks out in my mind is the retaliation of Jim Dombrowski to Dexter Manley spitting on him. It came at a time when the Saints had just completed a big play to give them a 1st down deep in Redskin territory. The Saints were playing the 2nd to last game of the season, if I remember right, and needed to win that game to assure playoff position.

Dumbo was caught throwing a punch and the play was negated and the LOS was moved back 15 yards. Needless to say, we didn't get the 1st down or the win that day. Again, if I'm remembering this right, we proceeded to lose the next game and miss out on our 1st playoff appearance.

If anybody remembers this and I am not remebering it correctly, please don't hesitate to jog my memory.

Edit...In fact, I'm thinking that it's possible that we couldn't have gotten into the playoffs if we had won our last game because the loss to the Redskins put us into a situation where we needed help and didn't get it before we kicked-off for our last game of the season. My memory is real fuzzy on this...I could be full of crap.


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