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RailBoss 12-21-2009 01:12 PM

Saints not perfect, but still virtuous
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Saints not perfect, but still virtuous
Losing might actually make life a bit simpler in The Big Easy

By: Gary Lawless

21/12/2009 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

The New Orleans Saints lost the battle on Saturday night but it might turn out to be a significant moment in the their quest to win the war.

The Saints saw their pitch for perfection come to an end as they fell 24-17 to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees looked ordinary, his offensive line porous and the defence let a so-so Cowboys team push them around.

What about any of that is good, one might ask. In the short term, absolutely nothing. But by the time the Saints report to practice on Tuesday morning, the fact they're not perfect will most certainly have sunk in. How the Saints react will be more telling than the actual loss to Dallas.

Sure, New Orleans wanted to go 16-0. All the talk about just focusing on the game at hand and the upcoming opponent was hogwash. The Saints had stars in their eyes and had history on their minds. Brees admitted as much after the game.

The key for the Saints is to look at the big picture. They're 13-1 and in the midst of a wonderful season and capable of playing and winning at the Super Bowl in Miami come February.

Putting their first loss of the season behind them is the first step and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the next team on their schedule. Spanking the Bucs and maintaining their lead on the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC fight for home-field advantage is this week's agenda.

The Saints were exposed in a number of ways by the Cowboys. A fast defence with a strong pass rush can neutralize Brees and his offence. Like any team, it all starts with the offensive line and the Saints need to do a better job of protecting their quarterback.

The Indianapolis Colts remained undefeated with a tight win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and still have the dilemma and distraction of being undefeated.

The Saints can breathe a sigh of relief and look at the Colts with a sly, "Hey, that's your problem now," and get back to the business of being ready when the bell for the playoffs

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