Forecast: Ultimate Saints face-off: 1991 Saints v. 2009 Saints

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by Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer

wwltv.com

Posted on November 5, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 5 at 3:42 PM

Opinion

Since only two Saints teams have gone 7-0 what would happen if they played?

The 2009 Saints clearly have a better shot at the Super Bowl but they also won’t have to go through Troy Aikman’s Cowboys or Steve Young’s 49ers like the 1991 team did.

Could the 1991 team win if the two undefeated Saints teams were playing this week?
Would Cha-ching, the Dome Patrol, and the Cajun Cannon wreck the 2009 Saints perfect record?
Since it’s a fictional game created by me for this column I’m making the 1991 Saints the home team and the 2009 Saints have to travel back in time and deal with 1991 NFL rules.
We’re talking a more physical NFL where receivers can get roughed up a little more and quarterbacks can get hit a little more frequently.
Now before any of you too young to remember the 1991 Saints dismiss them because all you know about those Saints teams are their playoff failures here are some stats that out to make you fear them:
The Saints defense had 50 sacks, allowed only 211 points all season, intercepted 29 passes, and allowed only 75 rushing yards every week.
The Dolphins crushed the 2009 Saints offensive line and sacked Drew Brees five times.
Jerron Bushrod was getting worked over in the hostile road environment of Miami.
Hey Bushrod say hello to 1991 Defensive MVP Pat Swilling and his 17 sacks and Ricky Jackson and his 11.5 sacks.
Throw in the Superdome crowd noise since the 1991 Saints are at home and suddenly Brees might not get out alive. The 1991 Saints were a defensive machine and they weren’t even as good as the 1992 team. The 1992 team only allowed 202 points and didn’t allow more than 21 points in any game all season. Alas only 7-0 Saints teams qualify for this game.
Are you ready for some undefeated football?
In my mind the game plays out like this….
Behind a raucous crowd the 1991 Saints defense comes out on absolute fire.
(Think Miami two weeks ago only for four quarters)
Jim Mora and defensive coordinator Steve Sidwell zero in on Jon Stinchcomb.
Sean Payton’s plan was to give Jermon Bushrod help on Pat Swilling but the 1991 Saints instead attack from Brees’ right.
On 3rd down mid way through the first quarter Brees steps up in the pocket to avoid Jackson and is crushed by Frank Warren. Fumble.
1991 Saints recover.
Unfortunately they can’t take advantage.
(The Saints leading receiver in ’91 was Floyd Turner. He didn’t have 1000 yards or even 70 catches. You really think either he or Eric Martin would get open consistently against the 2009 Saints secondary?)
The Saints leading rusher in 1991, Fred McAfee, does break off a 19 yard run to help set up a 3-0 lead for 1991 Saints.
The 2009 Saints continue to struggle as the 1991 Saints defensive line of Jim Wilks, Frank Warren, and Wayne Martin is dominating.
Brees is 4-11 for 67 yards. The 2009 Saints have only one first down and that was a 27-yard Marques Colston catch and run at the two-minute warning
The 2009 Saints finally are moving. Brees hits Jeremy Shockey for 11 and a quick screen to Reggie Bush.
The drive stalls at the 1991 Saints 30-yard line. It’s fourth and less then a foot.
Sean Payton sends out the field goal team but Brees is pleading his case.
Brees trots back onto the field. Dome crowd is bonkers.
Fourth down, 37 seconds till half time, Brees takes the snap and fakes hand off to Mike Bell. He looks for Shockey over the middle; Shockey’s open…except Rickey Jackson gets Brees first.
Sack.
1991 Saints take over at their own 40-yard line with 37 seconds left.
The Saints have two timeouts but offensive coordinator Carl Smith decides to play it safe with a draw to Gil Fenerty. He’s loose. 27 yards later it’s first down at the 33.
Hebert calls timeout.
Incompletion, Hoby Brenner catches a pass down to 27-yard line.
Hebert calls timeout with five seconds left.
Morten Andersen knocks in the field goal from 44 yards.
Halftime: 6-0 1991 Saints.
The 2009 Saints are struggling. Brees can’t get time to throw and Payton’s designed roll outs for Brees don’t work because the 1991 Saints linebackers are fast enough to still get to Brees.
The running game is equally bad—13 carries for 21 yards.  
The second half starts and the 2009 Saints still seem stuck in neutral with another three and out.
On comes Thomas Morstead to punt.
(If the 1991 Saints have any hope of beating the 2009 Saints they would have to dominate on special teams. Jim Mora’s teams were always good on special teams. The 1987 team blocked nine kicks. I think you know where this going…)
Cha-ching baby. Reggie Jones busts through and Joel Smeenge scoops up the ball.
35, 30, 20, 10….touchdown.
Cue a 13-year-old Seth Green! It’s 13-0 and the 1991 Saints are headed towards 8-0.
The Dome is rocking.
The teams trade punts and with five minutes to go in the third quarter the high powered Saints of 2009 only have 150 yards of offense.
Sean Payton adjusts and he uses three step drops and screens to slow down the Saints. Slants to Colston and screens to Reggie Bush might get the offense going.
Brees starts the series in the shotgun.
Slant to Colston…11 yards.
Quick screen to Bush, Sam Mills is there but Bush is loose.
45, 40, 30, 20….Vince Buck saves a touchdown.
Brees hit Shockey at the five but two runs by Mike Bell go nowhere and on 3rd down Brees is forced to throw it away.
John Carney makes it 13-3.
3:45 to go third quarter.
The 1991 Saints offense is back on the field.
(This is where this game would tilt heavy to 2009 Saints. No running back had even 150 carries and no player had double digit scores. Gregg Williams could blitz at will and never worry about getting burned and the 1991 team couldn’t bleed the clock.)
Superdome crowd is antsy. 1991 Saints only have 140 yards of offense and no first downs since late second quarter.
On third and 10 Hebert runs a draw play to Dalton Hilliard for four yards.
Carl Smith gets 70,000 groans from the stands.
Conservative Saints might be blowing it?
Great punt by Tommy Barnhardt brings crowd to life.
Vencie Glenn downs it at the 3-yard line.
Drew Brees and company are backed up.
Sean Payton decides to get aggressive.
Brees drops back and finds Lance Moore for 32 yards.
2009 Saints have 1st and 10 at the 35.
Saints finally get a run of more than six yards when Pierre Thomas goes for 11.
Third quarter ends with 2009 Saints facing 3rd and 7 from their 49.
One the first play of the fourth quarter the greatest defensive player in Saints history shows why he is.
Rickey Jackson gets around Jon Stinchcomb and has Brees in his sights.
Jackson corals a scrambling Brees but to avoid a sack Brees tries to throw the ball away.
Bad idea.
Sam Mills, like he always was, is in the right place at the right time.
Interception and the ‘Field Mouse’ is off.
You can almost hear Jim Henderson’s call, “Brees back to pass, Jackson’s got him but Brees tries to throw it away. INTERCEPTION MILLS!.. MILLS IS AT THE 40, THE 30, THE 20, THE 10, AND TACKLED BY COLSTON AT THE 7!”
 Bedlam!
The 1991 Saints have it first and goal at the seven-yard line.
(Punch it in here and even Drew Brees will have a hard time climbing out of a 20-7 hole in one quarter. Except the 1991 Saints on offense had neither the personal or killer instinct to bury elite teams. It’s why they never won any playoff games. But can they win today? Let’s get back to the game.)
On first down Dalton Hilliard goes off tackle for three yards.
On second down, Hebert throws incomplete for Floyd Turner in the corner of the end zone.
On third down Hebert looks to hit Eric Martin on the slant but Darren Sharper breaks it up.
Morten Andersen makes it 16-3 with 13 minutes left.
(The coolest thing about the 2009 Saints is even though they have flaws on offense and teams have stopped them some, the 2009 Saints offense always figures the opponent out. They’ve figured out the 1991 Saints)
Drew Brees starts the next drive with three straight completions.
The 2009 Saints are at mid field when they finally get the big play.
Robert Meachem gets behind corner Reggie Jones and Gene Atkins can’t get over in time.
46 yards later it’s 1st and goal at the 5.
 On third and goal Brees hits Shockey in the corner and suddenly it’s 16-10 with just over eight minutes left.
1991 get the ball and manage to drive to midfield.
4:34 left and 1991 Saints face 4th and less then one on their own 47.
Crowd wants Jim Mora to go for it.
(Mora would never go for it here. The man believed in his defense and seriously what would you feel better about; Pinning Drew Brees deep or hoping you leading rusher with less than 500 yards, a rookie, Fred McAfee gets you a yard? (Back to the game.)
1991 Saints punt.
Drew Brees takes over at his own 7-yard line with 4:27 left and two timeouts.
2009 Saints start slow but Shockey converts on third down so they can keep the ball.
Bush gets a nice run, Lance Moore a 12-yard catch and suddenly the 2009 Saints are driving.
Things stall.
It’s 4th and four from their own 48 with 2:40 left.
Sean Payton could punt, use his time outs, get the ball back and try to win the game or go for it.
(The difference between the two teams mindset shows right here. Mora was conservative, took few chances, relied on his kicker, and won more then he lost. Payton plays aggressive, attacks, and relies on his QB to win. Neither is wrong but I’d rather have the elite QB than the elite defense because a Super Bowl with elite QB is more likely. )
Payton is going for it, of course he is.
Dome is shaking as 8-0 is on the line.
Brees then finds Lance Moore over the middle for 13 yards at the 39-yard line just before Jackson crushes him.
Crowd silent.
Mike Bell for five yards.
Two-minute warning.
The 2009 Saints avoid disaster when Colston recovers a Bush fumble at the 15-yard line.
19 seconds left and only one team will be 8-0.
Brees hits Devery Henderson at the goal line, who makes a tough catch, as he’s hit by Vaughn Johnson and Sam Mills. He reaches for the goal line as Vince Buck knocks the ball loose.
Officials go to the replay.
“The ruling on the field…stands the ball crossed the goal line while still in possession by the receiver. Touchdown.”
2009 Saints kick the PAT and win 17-16.
After the game a somber Buddy D tries to comfort 1991 Saints fans, “Hey the Saints finally have a Super Bowl QB; he’s just in the future!”
 
On to this week’s games
Last week: 1-4
Season: 22-18
 
Carolina (+14) at New Orleans: If the Saints are going to lose a football game to a mediocre team this is it. They face a short week and Jake Delhomme has never lost in the Dome.
I think the Panthers lay every thing on the line to save their season. If they get to 4-4 then suddenly they have a chance.
Drew Brees will crush those hopes and John Carney will help us worry less about the kicking game.
Saints 29-27
Miami (+10.5) at New England: The Dolphins passing game is a joke but I’m taking the points. By the way, is just me or does Tony Sparano look like Chef Boyardee? Indeed he does.
Patriots 30-21
Washington (+10) at Atlanta: Let’s call this the Saints hangover. Redskins make it close.
Falcons 23-14
Tampa Bay (+10) vs. Green Bay: More insanity. The Packers are a fraud and nothing says fraud like a loss to a winless team!
Bucs 23-21
Bonus College Pick!
LSU (+10) at Alabama: LSU always plays better in Alabama. The key is Jordan Jefferson not making mistakes. He can struggle but must avoid turnovers. I think LSU wins this game and ushers in BCS madness!
LSU 16-13
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. He hosts a podcast at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/forecastradio. Email him at ralphmalbrough@hotmail.com or find him on Facebook.

 

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