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Meachem's play is one of the best

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Meachem's play is one of the best The 2009 season has been filled with many great moments in New Orleans Saints history. I've always felt that championship teams have memorable games and events that lead them to the promised land. ...

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Old 12-13-2009, 09:45 PM   #1
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Meachem's play is one of the best

Meachem's play is one of the best

The 2009 season has been filled with many great moments in New Orleans Saints history.

I've always felt that championship teams have memorable games and events that lead them to the promised land.

Championship teams are like reading a good book or looking at superb pictures in a magazine. You just can't wait to see what is on the next page.

Last week's game against the Washington Redskins has to go down as one of the best in Saints history.

But I have to say that wide receiver Robert Meachem's strip of former Nicholls State and current Redskins defensive back Kareem Moore, and then returning the ball 44 yards for a touchdown, has to go down as the greatest play in Saints history.

The play typified the Saints season.

It was a hustle play when things really weren't going the Saints' way on the road and against an opponent that played well enough to win but couldn't seal the deal.

That play showed just how much the Saints have progressed in being aggressive on both sides of the ball and having guys make plays when everything is on the line.

Meachem, a former Tennessee receiver, also caught eight passes for 142 yards and one touchdown against the Redskins.

But without the strip and score the Saints aren't 12-0. Today, the boys in black and gold are playing not only for home-field advantage in the playoffs, but also their share of NFL history.

The play was also done by someone noted for not being the most aggressive player on the team and Saints halfback Reggie Bush put it best in the locker-room after the game.

“A year ago at this time Robert couldn't figure out where to line up properly. Now, he is making plays all over the field, and he has become a huge component in our success,” Bush said. “It has been amazing to watch him transform himself, and it all has to do with his hard work and his dedication to this game.”

Others have argued about other plays in Saints history that would match Meachem's play against the Redskins, but when putting it down on paper, you can make up your mind if it doesn't belong in the top spot.

Many argue that the greatest play in Saints history was St. Louis Rams wide receiver/return specialist Az-Zahir Hakim's muffed punt in a Dec. 30, 2000 NFC wildcard playoff game.

It would rank at the top if radio calls were the most memorable. WWL's Jim Henderson's call of “Hakim drops the ball” would rank at the top, but that play was more the fault of Hakim dropping the ball than a Saints player making a game-changing play.

Back-up fullback Brian Milne recovered the muffed punt to secure the Saints' first playoff win, 31-28.

GLEASON'S BLOCK RANKS HIGH

Some would argue that the greatest play in Saints history was Steve Gleason's blocked punt against Atlanta on Sept. 25, 2006.

The game was the first in the Louisiana Superdome since Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.

Gleason's blocked punt was recovered by Curtis Deloatch for a touchdown in the first quarter. The play set off the loudest crowd reaction I've ever heard in the Superdome for a Saints game.

There was more emotion in that game than any other in Saints history. It gave the nation an opportunity to see that sports can help in a city's recovery.

That game and play had meaning for a region that needed something positive to happen, and it set off a magical season that fell one game short of a Super Bowl showdown against the Indianapolis Colts.

That play was memorable and the timing was a catalyst for other huge plays made during the 2006 season.

DEMPSEY'S KICK NEAR TOP

For individual moments, Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 8, 1970 has to be ranked in the top three.

Dempsey's kick held up over the course of time despite being tied by then-Denver Broncos kicker Jason Elam in 1998.

It was a memorable play for a team not noted for having many, and nearly 40 years later, it is still in the record books. The Saints did not win another game the rest of the season and finished with a 2-11-1 record.

I jokingly have told Dempsey numerous times that his field goal probably set the Saints franchise back five years because it happened on J.D. Robert's first game as head coach. Saints-owner John Mecom may have thought he had the next Vince Lombardi and kept him around until the 1973 season, but Roberts was no Lombardi.

While Dempsey's kick was a great individual accomplishment, it can't compare to keeping an undefeated streak alive at a critical time late in the season.

ESPY WINNING PLAY

For pure excitement, the three-lateral catch and touchdown run against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 21, 2003 has to go down as the most exciting play in Saints history.

The play started with quarterback Aaron Brooks completing a 42-yard pass to wide receiver Donte' Stallworth before he tossed the ball to wide receiver Michael Lewis at the Jaguars' 33-yard line. Lewis ran 7 yards before he flipped the ball to running back Deuce McAllister. McAllister ran 5 yards before tossing the ball to wide receiver Jerome Pathon, who raced the last 21 yards for the score on the last play of regulation.

The play was replayed over and over again, and for pure excitement it was one for the record books. But the Saints lost the game 20-19 when kicker John Carney missed the extra point.

The play won an ESPN Espy award, but in the long run, the Saints finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

WHAT ABOUT THE FIRST PLAY?

Some have said the first play in Saints history is most exciting.

Wide receiver/kickoff returner John Gilliam returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams to open the 1967 season.

It is memorable because the Saints finished the preseason 5-1, and many, and I can say I was one in my youth, thought the NFL might be ours for the taking.

NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle was so excited about the opening kickoff return that he jumped up from his press box seat.

Gilliam's kickoff return was a memorable moment, but the Saints lost 27-13 and finished the season 3-11.

While I remember the 94-yard kickoff return, I will also always remember the two-minute standing ovation Saints fullback Jimmy Taylor received during pregame introductions. The former LSU and Green Bay Packer fullback was playing in the final stages of his pro career, but that moment before the game for this tough, old and accomplished football player was something I'll always remember.

There you have it. These are the most memorable Saints plays from someone who is old enough to have seen them all.

In a season etched with memories made by Drew Brees, Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, Jeremy Shockey, Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter and Marques Colston, the most unlikeliest hero came through with an undefeated season on the line.

You can say right now that Meachem is playmaker, and his strip and run for a touchdown will go down in my eyes as the greatest play in Saints history.

These aren't your PaPa's Saints and more memorable plays may be right around the corner.

Hopefully that next remarkable moment will happen in early February.

NFL analyst Mike Detiller lives in Raceland.

Meachem's play is one of the best | HoumaToday.com | The Courier | Houma, LA



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