Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer
We are about three more of these kind of losses from an angry Joe Vitt arriving at his post game press conference wearing nothing but a stained t-shirt and having a cigarette in one hand and a scotch in the other. He’ll be angry, belligerent and end the press conference with tears in his eyes sobbing, “Dam right we miss Sean! I miss him. Come home Sean we need you.” Then Drew Brees will come to the podium and hug Vitt, look directly into the camera and say, “ARE YOU HAPPY NOW ROGER? YOU DID THIS. ARE. YOU. HAPPY. NOW?” If you saw an emotional Aaron Kromer in the post game after another knife to the belly loss, you know I’m only half kidding.
I thought it would be awhile before we suffered through as painful a loss as last week’s soul crusher against Kansas City. It took seven days. Between LSU’s meltdown against something called a Towson and the Saints ability to create a new and more painful way to lose every week 2012, football is nothing but pain and misery.
The Saints caught damn near every break in the game AND STILL LOST. From horrible officiating calls that went their way to Green Bay Packers running into each other to screw-up easy Drew Brees interceptions it seemed after seven brutal months the football universe was finally smiling on the New Orleans except the Saints couldn’t close the deal.
Blame Garrett Hartley for missing from 48yards out after nailing the go ahead kick from 43 yards which was wiped out from a holding penalty if you like but remember even if Hartley nails the kick it’s 30-28 with 2:54 left to play. Maybe the defense holds Aaron Rogers, but I’d say after watching this defense for a month it was unlikely.
There were two much bigger moments in the fourth quarter where the Saints had a much better chance to seal the game and failed.
The first was after fighting from down 21-7 to up 27-21 the Saints defense forced a Packer punt and had the ball and a six-point lead with 10:46 to go in the game. They proceeded to go three and out. Any kind of scoring drive there instead of a three and out makes a Green Bay win highly unlikely.
The second moment in the game the Saints came up short was when Drew Brees hit Darren Sproles with a perfect throw on third and four at the Packers 25-yard line with just over three minutes left. Sproles makes that catch and the Saints get a fresh set of downs and at worst are kicking a closer field goal and the Packers get the ball back with under two minutes left. Good teams find ways to win bad teams without their head coach find ways to lose. Don’t confuse fun and interesting with good because they Saints certainly aren’t any good as 0-4 is 0-4.
Sunday wasn’t to be and the Saints wasted Drew Brees’ first magnificent performance of 2012. He was 35 of 54 for 446 yards and three scores. The Saints offense looked like what we remember them to be. They were aggressive, converting ridiculous third and longs, protecting Brees, and getting huge plays in the passing game.
So where do the Saints go from here? I have no idea.
I’m really tired of talking about the defense’s inability to generate an even average NFL quality pass rush. In the pass happy NFL of 2012 trying to play defense without any pressure on the opposing quarterback is like trying to open a strip club without girls. It won’t work on any level.
Aaron Rogers got beat to a pulp against Seattle last week in the first, but against the Saints, I think, he filmed another one of his terrible insurance commercials before throwing a touchdown. Call me crazy, but I think considering they have to cover receivers anywhere from five to eight seconds every pass play the Saints corners aren’t awful. The 2012 Saints could have a young Deion Sanders and Darrell Green at corner and they’d still struggle. What we saw Sunday from the defense is about as good as we can hope for in 2012. They forced a few punts and get a couple turnovers. They aren’t capable of anything more.
We are headed for the most mind numbing, wasted, miserable football season in Saints history. A year of Drew Brees’ prime is getting flushed down the toilet because Roger Goodell has to clean up the NFL and make it safer because player safety is the most important thing in the world and he’s doing it for the children or maybe to protect the NFL from a billion dollar concussion lawsuit. Remember it’s always for the children.
If anyone of you runs into Roger Goodell, please ask him why he felt compelled to allow Gregg Williams to attend NFL games this year as a fan? I thought this bounty scandal was the worst thing since AIDS, cancer, and 70’s disco and everyone involved was going to pay all season long? Hey Rog, after murdering the Saints 2012 in the bathtub in March before it was even given a chance to succeed could you at least have the decency to show a little consistency to all the guilty parties? Guess not.
So this slow death march continues on schedule. Maybe Drew Brees can break Johnny Unitas’ consecutive games with a touchdown steak next Sunday and the Saints can finally get a win. Sometimes you have to appreciate the little things because nothing big is happening for the Saints in 2012.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.