Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer who expresses his voice as a fan.
OPINION - What do you call a loss to a two win team, at home, after having 17-point lead, with home field advantage at stake?
Among the worst losses in Saints regular season history is what you call it. At the very least it's the most crushing regular season loss the Saints have had under Sean Payton.
Let's be real; the Saints are a 10-5 team masquerading as a 13-2 team. They've used an incredibly easy schedule and taken advantage of nearly every lucky break they've gotten to craft 13 wins but right now they aren't very good.
If you want to be reassured, need to have some Who Dat Nation sunshine blown up your backside, or are dying to hear "Everything is ok the Saints are still 13-2," stop reading.
On Friday I told you the Saints were still in good shape but if they lost to Tampa I'd look for the nearest cliff to jump off.
Won't you join me? I've already jumped. The descent is pretty peaceful but it's the landing I'm worried about. I'm guessing I'll crash into the ground after watching the Saints get pounded in their playoff game.
You hear that stampeding sound? It's not Saints fans jumping off the bandwagon. It's NFC playoff teams climbing all over themselves lining up to face the Saints in the playoffs.
The problems with the Saints are so numerous I'm not even sure where to begin.
The defense is beyond a disaster.
Tampa Bay had 400 yards of offense. They ran for 175 yards and averaged five yards a pop.
Josh Freeman, like every other QB the Saints face lately, looked awesome.
We knew the Saints defense was bad when they were behind but now they can't even look good with a 17-point lead.
Gregg Williams seems to have decided to not blitz as much since the secondary was hit with injuries and the strategy is EPIC FAIL.
I'd rather the Saints just say,"We blitz, it's what we do." If it doesn't work so be it. I know the Saints have played good defense being aggressive. I've seen them do it.
The Saints should go back to what worked even with a banged up secondary. It can't be any worse than what they've been doing the last month.
If you want to say injuries are the problem, you are delusional. Scott Shanle and Jabari Greer returning aren't likely to fix this defense. If they do, then they are Lawrence Taylor and Deion Sanders, and I'll admit I was completely wrong.
As much fun as this defense has been creating turnovers, I think the 2006 defense the Saints had when they went to the NFC Championship was better.
That unit was ranked in the top 15 and wasn't getting steamrolled in December.
On offense, the Saints scored 17 points when Drew Brees only had five incompletions and no interceptions.
Sean Payton seemed to ease off the accelerator in the third quarter. Maybe the Saints relaxed or Tampa turned into the 2002 Bucs defense.
Who knows? What I do know is the Saints aren't winning any game scoring 17 points, especially a playoff game.
The special teams are also a major concern. They stunk against Detroit in the season opener and they stunk Sunday against Tampa.
The Saints also need a kicker. Garrett Hartley folded like a cheap suit under the pressure of a game-winning 37-yard kick.
What do you think he'll do in the playoffs facing the same situation?
If you have any other suggestions I'm willing to listen. Morten Andersen? Why not? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
The Saints picked the wrong time to have the wheels come off.
Maybe the Bears can give the Saints a late Christmas gift and beat the Vikings so the Saints won't have to beat a red hot Carolina team to get the #1 seed in the NFC.
Then again, for the Saints to do anything in the playoffs they are going to have to save themselves.
You don't get to the Super Bowl with charity from other teams, you get to the Super Bowl by winning.
Right now the Saints are a long way from doing that in the playoffs.
I wish I could close my eyes and still dream Super Bowl but reality is the Saints appear to be in the middle of capping their greatest regular season with their most epic collapse.
I'm not abandoning ship but as Sugar Ray Robinson once said, "The ship be sinking."
At least we'll all go down together.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Facebook, or listen to his Saints podcast at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/forecastradio