Say this for the 2015 New Orleans Saints: They are the funniest, craziest, most wonderfully insane 4-4 team in the history of everything. The only thing that wasn't spectacular about the Saints 52-49 win against the New York Giants Sunday was flooding in Houston Saturday caused me to miss my flight to New Orleans. I thought C.J. Spiller's 80-yard catch and run would be the craziest ending to a Saints game this year, but the 2015 Saints deliver new insanity every single week.
There was so much awesome in this game but probably my favorite thing about it was the Saints cranking up 'Old Man Offense' to ridiculous levels. 36-year-old Drew Brees threw for 511 yards and 7 touchdowns, 34-year-old Ben Watson had 147 yards and a touchdown, and 32-year-old Marques Colston had 114 yards and a score. Is this a sustainable business model for the offense the rest of 2015?
Right now I don't even care.
Seeing Marques Colston suddenly play like it's 2006 was a joy. I hope you savored watching him Sunday. Maybe he is rejuvenated and will finish out 2015 strong, but even if he doesn't, Sunday was a reminder he's the best Saints receiver ever to put on a jersey.
When I saw Drew Brees destroy a Bill Belichick defense on a Monday night in 2009, I thought it was the finest quarterbacked Saints game I ever saw. Until yesterday. Drew Brees went 40 of 50 and at one point connected on 18 straight throws. He helped put up 52 points, with let's be honest, a bunch of role players at the skill positions. The Saints don't have an elite receiver, tight end, or running back, and yet Brees had the Saints offense humming so good we barely noticed.
After the Saints started 1-4 there was a lot of conversation about if Saints should maybe think about trading Brees in the offseason and rebuilding completely, if Brees is healthy at end of 2015, those thoughts are officially ridiculous. No one knows how many good years Brees left, but only a crazy person decides to walk away from Brees and into the no quarterback wilderness. Mickey Loomis is not a crazy person.
Lost in Brees' magnificent day is the fact the offensive line didn't allow a sack and Mark Ingram ran for 80 yards. Suddenly the Saints plan to trade Jimmy Graham to solidify the offensive line, and trust Drew Brees to be just fine throwing the ball to whoever, seems to be coming together. For heaven sake's Willie Snead is a viable starting fantasy receiver now. When Drew Brees goes into the Hall of Fame that should be on his plaque.
The Giants defense might be terrible, but that is not our problem is it? 52 points in an NFL game is incredible. If the Saints can get this offense to 27-28 points a week the rest of the year, look out.
By the looks of their defense, the Saints will need to score until the scoreboard breaks. When the Saints weren't committing huge penalties, Eli Manning was throwing for 350 yards and 6 touchdowns. I won't tell you the Saints defense was anything but a disaster, but it was an odd disaster, because the Saints defensive line was pretty good. They sacked Manning 3 times and held the Giants to 87 yards rushing, and most defenses that do that don't give up 42 points.
The defense took a huge leap forward last week in Indianapolis and Sunday fell flat on their face. Smarter people than me that watch film will explain it in detail but I'll just sum it up like this, "Kids will make you crazy."
The Saints are counting on a bunch of rookies to stop people, at any given time they can have 4-6 rookies on the field, and that will lead to days like Sunday. They did the bare minimum required but in 2 weeks the details of Sunday will fade. All we will remember is that insane afternoon when Drew threw 7 touchdowns and some kicker whose name we can't remember hit a 50-yard field goal for the win.
So the Saints are 4-4 and each victory seems 15 percent crazier than the win before it. 2015 looked really bleak after that loss in Philadelphia, and that the Saints have pulled themselves together has stunned me. Sean Payton has refashioned this offense on the fly, and if it wasn't exactly clear to you why other NFL teams were lusting over having him coach their teams, the last three weeks should have done the trick.
The 2015 Saints are officially interesting.
While the Saints can't look ahead, looking ahead is 30 percent of the fun of being a fan. Have you glanced at the Saints last 8 games? They play 6 games against teams with losing records, and 2 of those games are home against the Titans and Lions, who are a combined 2-13. Trying to predict the Saints final record is a fool's game, but if you wanted to turn a mediocre team into a 10-6 playoff team, this Saints schedule is exactly how you'd do it. There isn't a game left on the schedule where anyone will be more than a field goal favorite against the Saints and they will likely be favored in 6 of their final 8 games. That last sentence is both crazy and true.
Are the Saints a good team? Depends what you mean by 'good'? If Super Bowl Titles and deep playoff runs are the only way you enjoy Saints football, then the 2015 Saints aren't very good, and I feel so bad for you because that means you are disappointed a lot. But if you enjoy a mediocre team delivering crazy fun games every single week then the Saints are your dream come true.
At the end of September I hated this team and dreaded the rest of 2015, now it's the most fun I've had since 2010, when we had an entire year of post Super Bowl euphoria. Insane football is the best football.
Best part? 9 more weeks.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecastor download his podcast at Itunes.