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Halo 10-28-2009 11:13 AM

Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
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The Saints have been the NFL’s best team in September and October. Barring a complete reversal of form, they easily could go 14-2 and will be favored in every game for the rest of the season

Still, something is disconcerting about the reaction to their dramatic, emphatic comeback against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

“I will say that there was really no doubt on our sideline that we would come back and win this game,” quarterback Drew Brees told reporters after the Saints’ 46-34 victory at Land Shark Stadium.

Maybe not, but there should have been. Players get giddy after turning three-touchdown deficits into double-digit wins, but the Saints won’t return to Miami for the Super Bowl if they have a horrible half in January even remotely close to what happened against the Dolphins.

Their resilience matched their brilliance from the first five games. They also were really fortunate.

If the referees had not botched the call on Marques Colston’s reception with five seconds left, New Orleans would have trailed 24-3 at the half. Colston was awarded a touchdown when he should have been marked down inside the 1 on what would have been the last play of the half since the Saints had burned all of their timeouts.

Instead, they had time for one more snap when the clock stopped for a replay review that took away the score.

If Miami coach Tony Sparano had not lost his mind and called a timeout after the review........

Tobias-Reiper 10-28-2009 11:49 AM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
if if if if if if if if if....

I don't care what team is it, if you study any team the year they won it all, 2 things will jump at you:

1.- the ball bounced their way
2.- calls went their way.

Call it fortune, call it luck, call it mojo, call it favoritism, call it whatever... we of all fans should know about calls going one way and the ball bouncing one way after having the Whiners in the same division for the most part of 4 decades, and after watching the Steelers win 2 Superbowls this decade.

The referees didn't "botch" the Colston call. In real time, it looked to everyone it was a TD. Only when it was replayed in slo-mo you could see the knee touching the ground a millisecond before the ball crossed the plane.

And Tony Sparano didn't lose his head. He called the time out because he thought he didn't have the right personnel to defend a field goal after the kicking team had gone onto the field. I'm sure he was very surprised when Drew came running in to go for it.

neugey 10-28-2009 12:24 PM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
I don't see Drew turning the ball over 4 times in a game very often, even if was great bounces and plays by the defense. Games like that won't come along very often, maybe once a season. But gosh darn we still won the game!

Budsdrinker 10-29-2009 08:02 AM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
You want to talk about botched calls! What if the first replay was allowed and overturn the ruled completed pass for a first down and the Dolphins punt to us and we have the ball on our own 20-30 yard line intead of at the 7! I believe that's a totaly different outcome. Makes you just want to ***** slap these so called journalist!!!

exile 10-29-2009 08:04 AM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
And many top level teams will end up with 1 or 2 complete game meltdowns in a season. At least the Saints limited it to a half-game. Hopefully, that counts as 1 of the 1 or 2.

SmashMouth 10-29-2009 08:47 AM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
That was indeed strange on that malfunctioning replay system which mysteriously became functional later. Perhaps some of those calls were Karma in action.

21counterZ-trap 10-29-2009 09:23 AM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
I thought Miami's quick start was the result of a few things.

--First of all, the their credit, Miami played their butts off for 2 qtrs. Expect more of this from Saints opponents as long as the Saints remain unbeaten or remain the "team to beat" in the eyes of other teams. Just, the bullseye effect or whatever. If the Saints remain patient and make proper adjustments, over the course of 60 minutes, they will continue to prevail in these games if they are truly as good as we think they are. After all, we scored 46 pts on a bad day on the road, 43 pts in 30 min 5 sec.

-- Secondly, while the Saints had a week to prepare, and Im assuming quite some time was spent working on defending the Wildcat, (and for the offensive players, simulating the wildcat), Miami had 2 weeks to incorporate any new wrinkles into their defense and conventional offense. Evidence of this were some of the things Miami did in pass rush. Lining up extra wide with Taylor and Joey Porter to get around Bushrod or keep Brees in pocket while the middle of the defense were sure to get their hands up as Brees threw is just one example of this. We all know Brees is susceptible to batted passes. To their credit, the Saints countered as the game went on by using Shockey, Evans, or David Thomas to chip the outside rushers and also by rolling Brees out away from the overload on occasion for clean looks downfield.

-- Lastly, and this is my own opinion and I could be off base so you're welcome to call me out on this but, I thought using Reggie Bush on almost every play from scrimmage in the first half was detrimental to the Saints cause and the reason I feel this way is this: I think that not having PT or Bell in the game early on allowed Miami to really pin their ears back in pass rush for two reasons. Less threat of a run, (regardless of what you think of Reggie as an RB, the fact is, statistically, the Saints pass more on the plays he's in the game) Miami had to know this, and secondly, Bush, although the effort is there, he's just not built as well to pick up stray pass rushers as let's say P Thomas is. In short, I just thought Miami had to play us more honestly when PT or Bell was in the game, and this negated some of the relentless pressure we saw in the first half and allowed our offense to breathe. For the record, I thought we used Reggie more appropriately in the second half.

and here are just a few more things:

Regarding the rest of the stuff being talked about surrounding the game. I think the calls (refs) evened out over the course of the game with Miami getting a few early and us getting a few late so, since Miami got them early, yes, this could have been a contributing factor to the bad start but in my opinion, a minor one.

Regarding what I read on the Miami boards and heard on ESPN about dropped passes costing Miami the game. I disagree because the dropped passes too, evened out. We had some costly drops as well that could have led directly to EVEN MORE POINTS.

Regarding the Miami fans who say their coach blew it by not sticking with the run well, whereas I thought keeping his sunglasses on well after the sun went down showed questionable judgement on his part LOL, I can't fault him for passing. Consider the Saints blitzed 25 out of 36 plays in the second half including 14 of Miami's last 18 plays. Miami had no choice but to abandon the run. To the Saints credit, we weren't gonna sit back and watch them eat the clock with a big lead.

Frederick Smith 10-29-2009 09:49 AM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
[QUOTE=21counterZ-trap;173635]I thought Miami's quick start was the result of a few things.

--First of all, to their credit, Miami played their butts off for 2 qtrs. Expect more of this from Saints opponents as long as the Saints remain unbeaten or remain the "team to beat" in the eyes of other teams.

No doubt this will be the case from here on out. My whole thing now is divisional games are the must win ones. We need to pounce on Atlanta and separate from them then they will be playing catch up the rest of the way. Coming to the Saints house first is a plus for us and they will face a whole different defense for the first time and find it will not come so easy this year as in the past when we folded down the streach.

Tobias-Reiper 10-29-2009 10:59 AM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
One thing that has not been mentioned either, and leave it to me to mention it, the first INT Drew threw happened because Devery Henderson ran the wrong route. Things again would've been very different had Devery run the right route.

But again, water under the bridge. What coulda, shoulda, woulda, it was a road W. And I seriously doubt this Monday night we are going to see the Saints play a quarter of football like the one played in Miami, much less a half.

Rugby Saint II 10-29-2009 12:45 PM

Re: Saints first-half follies a one-time fluke?
I would like to have been a fly on the wall at halftime. This team is good. But if another team capitalizes when and if we have another meltdown it might have a different outcome. Payton did an excellent job of coaching in the second half..with a little help from Drew late in the second quarter.

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