WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The 2021 New Orleans Saints are like a carnival ride that looks like it might be broken, possibly unsafe, but we paid for this ticket so we are going to ride the thing. Sunday in Washington the Saints delivered one heck of a wild ride on the way to victory and a 3-2 start.
The older I get, I seem to enjoy the ridiculous Saints wins filled with shenanigans and silliness more than the dominant victories like the one over Green Bay. Sunday's Saints win was filled to the brim with silliness. Sure 35-3 is cool but give me turnovers, a Hail Mary, heroic punting, and a quarterback deserving a bus ticket out of town one play, then $150 million extension the next.
Jameis Winston entertained us with what I like to call ‘The Full Jameis’. He was both atrocious and amazing throughout Sunday afternoon. His inaccurate passing lead to an interception and Taysom Hill getting injured.
He also threw an absolute dime to Deonte Harris for a 72-yard touchdown and threw a perfect Hail Mary to end the half that Marquez Callaway brought in. You know a Saints Sunday afternoon has gone completely off the rails when Hail Marys are being answered IN THE SAINTS FAVOR.
Hail Marys need lots of luck to go your way, they also need a quarterback to throw a pass to give his team a chance. Jameis had a plan.
“Make sure it's about four yards into the end zone and give your guys a chance.”
There is something usually terrifying about a Hail Mary involving the Saints in the that split second when it hits you, “OMG this has a chance.” For the first time since 2006 and Terrance Copper caught one, we got to experience the euphoria of football's favorite miracle play.
For the offense to score 33 points down at one point 3 offensive line starters, Taysom Hill and Deonte Harris was remarkable. Sean Payton might’ve coached a poor game last week against the New York Giants, but in Washington he dialed up some incredibly creative plays to help the Saints score their final 2 touchdowns. Marquez Callaway was wide open for his second trip into the end zone and Alvin Kamara found pay dirt to seal the win on a perfectly designed and called play-action throw.
The craziest part of Sunday wasn’t Jameis being a roller coaster ride of anxiety and euphoria, no, the craziest part of our Sunday was the Saints punter being the MVP of the game. Blake Gillikin was marvelous. He averaged almost 54 yards a kick and had 3 kicks downed inside the 10-yard-line. Gillikin's punt with Saints up 20-16 that pinned Washington under the shadow of its’ own goal post swung the game entirely.
Washington had just completed a 14-play drive where they mashed the Saints defense on the ground for over seven minutes. Washington was afraid to run the ball backed up against their goal line and Taylor Heinicke threw his second interception and the Saints would increase their lead to 27-16.
The Saints defense fought and did enough. They had their worst day against the run, allowing 131 yards, but they had 2 interceptions and held Washington to 6 first quarter points after Jameis Winston had 2 turnovers and Carl Granderson had a roughing the punter penalty that allowed Washington to keep possession. The game should’ve gotten completely out of hand for the Saints but the defense held the rope and kept them in the game.
Sunday is a classic example of the box score not telling the story. Washington had 373 yards of offense, had three possessions in fantastic field position to start the game, but couldn’t turn those into touchdowns.
The 2021 Saints are simultaneously doing about exactly how I expected YET overachieving.
If you told me in August the Saints would be 3-2 I’d have said that probably sounds about right. If you told me they’d be 3-2 missing as many as nine starters, I’d have said there must be miracles involved. And there have been!
Thank the heavens the Saints have their bye week next week because I’m not sure they’d be able to field an NFL offense capable of being even average. The best thing is the Saints after the bye will start getting key players back.
Are the Saints a good team? /shrug
The post Drew Brees era is five weeks old and I’d best describe it as kooky screwball Sunday entertainment. I love this season so much.
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