Some losses are so bad that when you get home, your dog kicks you.
The New Orleans Saints only played once this weekend, but somehow, they lost four times. They keep losing. They will wake up tomorrow and feel like they lost again. Players lose, fans lose, gamblers lose, bar owners in the French Quarter lose ... well, OK, I suppose bar-owners in the French Quarter always win. But everybody else loses, again and again.
Here are the Saints' four losses:
1. They fell behind San Francisco 17-0 in the second quarter. They have Drew Brees and all his toys on offense, so they had a bit of hope, but teams that fall behind 17-0 in road playoff games are generally finished. Saints fans had to feel like they had lost already.
2. After coming back to take a 24-23 fourth-quarter lead, the Saints let Alex Smith run 28 yards on a quarterback keeper with 2:11 remaining. This was an especially brutal way to lose, because Smith was a notorious bust before this season. He really should change his name, just to ease the pain of losing to Alex Smith (My suggestion: Alex World Peace). Also: 28 yards on a quarterback run around the left tackle? That play should not go for 28 yards in a video game set to "cheat" mode.
3. The Saints scored a touchdown 34 seconds later, but then they allowed Alex &(^^%((^%$** Smith to lead the 49ers all the way downfield, where he threw a 14-yard strike to Vernon Davis for the game-winning touchdown. This had to feel much worse than a normal loss, because Saints fans got their hopes up three times -- during the week before the game, when they came back from that 17-0 deficit and again when they took the lead in the final two minutes.
4. On Sunday afternoon, the top NFC seed, the Packers, got crushed by the New York Giants. This means that, if the Saints had just picked off that last 49ers pass -- if Alex &(^^%((^%$** Smith had played like the old Alex Smith -- they would have hosted the Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
Read more: New Orleans Saints' loss to San Francisco 49ers really hurts - Michael Rosenberg - SI.com