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4 Takeaways: The Saints' season is just about over

A blown lead to the Buccaneers means that the miserable Saints 2022 campaign is effectively over.

NEW ORLEANS — More and more in the last few weeks, I think of the 1987 Saints because the 1987 Saints are the exact opposite of the 2022 Saints.

In 1987, NFL teams only played 15 games because of the player strike.

And it's the year the Saints fielded their first really terrific team. 

They were 12-3 which was the second-best record in the NFC, but also the second-best record in the division because Jerry Rice and the 49ers were also in the NFC West and they were 13-2.

The point is that a 12-3 Saints team couldn't sniff a division championship, and they deserved to.

This year's team has been given so chances to win a weak division. And just couldn't. And now, after this game, it's essentially over.

With five minutes to go in this game, I had so many ideas for takeaways...

The continued emergence of Rashid Shaheed, Will Lutz having a perfect night kicking, Cam Jordan just keeps getting it done, and the Saints are back in the hunt...

But then those 55 minutes went down the drain, so we'll now start with this:

#4: The Brady Burn

The Saints finally felt the Brady burn. This was Tom Brady's 7th game against the Saints as a Buccaneer, and the Saints are still 4-3 against him.

The other two Brady wins were turnover-induced, and not really his doing. This game absolutely was.

In the first 55 minutes, Tom Brady's quarterback rating was a terrible 62, which is in line with the Saints' four wins over Brady.

Then, we saw the guy who is universally considered the greatest of all time. In the final five minutes, his quarterback rating was 124.

Tom Brady clearly isn't quite the same guy he was a few years ago, but what's also clear, when he needs to, he can still summon that guy.

#3: The River Jordan

The River Jordan. On this play, Cam Jordan rushed the passer, turned around, chased down the back and forced a fumble.

Just a brilliant play in what's been another terrific season for Jordan. Number 94 has not been part of the problem this season.

He is under contract for 2023, but who knows what's going to happen in the off-season.

And I just wanted to take a few seconds to appreciate the guy who I think is the second-best defensive player behind only Rickey Jackson in Saints history.

#2: Just About Over

It's just about over. But mathematically, it's not quite over yet. Football Outsiders now puts the Saints' playoff odds at 0.05%.

So, to pass the Buccaneers, the Saints would have to run the table and get to 8-9, and the Buccaneers would have to lose four of their last five.

Not mathematically over, but definitely realistically over.

#1: The Future

The biggest question going forward...what does this loss mean for Dennis Allen and his staff?

This was an epic collapse when the season was still saveable. And yet, another loss in a game in which the Saints felt like the better team and that does not shine favorably on the coaching staff.

I don't know what it would take from here on out for me to say, "Yes, keep this together. It's going in the right direction!"

Right now, it feels like blowing this thing up and starting over is the right thing to do.

But there are also four games to go. And I don't expect any decision on Dennis Allen's future to come until after those final four.

And that's my four takeaways from the heartbreaking loss in Tampa Bay.

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