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Saints Forecast: Nights like Sunday make the heartache worth it

It's moments like Sunday night that will keep us Saints fans forever.


That's what Sunday night's New Orleans Saints 9-0 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady felt like. Am I a prisoner of the moment? Possibly. 

But the night the Saints shut out the greatest quarterback in the history of football will live forever in our hearts the way Steve Gleason's punt block and Drew's touchdown record will. It's moments like Sunday night that will keep us Saints fans forever. The 2021 Saints are injured, flawed, and despite it all, are the 7th seed in the NFC playoffs.

The moment Tom Brady threw the tablet on the sideline I may have reached football nirvana for the first time since Tracy Porter wrapped up a Lombardi Trophy.

The Saints had 212 yards of offense, including 61 rushing yards on 31 carries, and it was more than enough. The Buccaneers could have played until Wednesday and not scored. That's so hysterical and glorious I barely even have the words to describe it.

Sure, Tampa lost 2 elite receivers and their starting running back to injuries. But complaining about injuries when the 2021 Saints played Sunday without their head coach AND BOTH starting tackles? We ain't hearing it. Tom Brady has yet to score a touchdown at home in 8 quarters against the Saints. 

Just let that last sentence wash over you.

I need to know how Sean Payton watched this game from home because he had COVID-19. Did he get dressed up like game day or watch it alone wearing Saints pajamas? Big game day spread or just a bottle of water, some Juicy Fruit gum, and a notepad? The thought of Sean Payton experiencing this magical night just like the rest of us is delightful.

Payton's defense delivered a masterclass.

The best Saints defensive performance of my entire life started with Cam Jordan looking as good as he ever has. Jordan had 2 sacks and a Saints pass rush that has struggled to be consistent all year was destroying Brady from start to finish. Tom Brady was 26 of 48 for 214 yards and looked like he always does against the Saints; old and washed up.

Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, acting as interim head coach, again had a plan that suffocated the high-flying Tampa offense. This is the kind of performance that might get him a second head coaching opportunity.

"He's one of the smartest coaches I've ever been around," Demario Davis said. "He puts in game plans that are simple enough to execute but complex enough to keep other teams on their toes a little bit."

Marshon Lattimore continued his complete ownership of Bucs receiver Mike Evans until Evans left with an injury, David Onyemata brought interior pressure, Kwon Alexander was brilliant in coverage, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson added the cherry on top by rubbing it all in Tom Brady's face.  I want a poster of his Brady taunt on my wall.

There's something empowering about rooting for a defense that takes another team's will to live. The field goal to make it 9-0 felt like an absolute dagger. I'm not sure I've ever felt that in my entire life as a Saints fan. 

I might pay a billion dollars for one of those NFT things of Tom Brady throwing the tablet on the sideline. The Saints defense officially owns Tom Brady and I couldn't be happier.

Do we want to talk about the offense? They didn't lose the game and did just enough. Taysom wasn't great or even good, but he made a couple of throws and most importantly didn't turn the ball over.

Another hilarious stat; the Saints rushed for 61 yards on 31 carries. The Saints' offensive performance makes it almost unfathomable that they won. Yet they did. Mostly because Marques Callaway caught 6 passes for 112 yards, and the Saints kicker Brett Maher was as clutch as clutch could be. The Saints dominated a football game in which they never really came close to scoring a touchdown.

If you didn't absolutely love Sunday night, if you are thinking the Saints winning means they will have a worse draft pick, or you think anything short of a Super Bowl is disappointing, you need to reevaluate your Saints fandom. Sunday night was the kind of moments we live for. The Saints gave us the best they had on national TV against the World Champions and won.

If I told you in August, knowing the Saints were facing the first 6 weeks of 2021 without Michael Thomas, David Onyemata, Wil Lutz and a possible Deonte Harris suspension, and that after 15 weeks they would be 7-7, have a receiver with a 100yard game, shut out Tom Brady, and control their playoff destiny, would you have taken it?

I would have no questions asked.

The 2021 Saints refuse against all reason, odds, and circumstances to relent. They fight and fight and fight. The 2021 season should have been officially over against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers but instead, it was the Saints' finest hour.

It's nights like Sunday that make all the suffering and heartache being a Saints fan can be worth it.

Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer and Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at saintshappyhour@gmail.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @SaintsForecast or download the Saints Happy Hour Podcast.

(Warning: The Saints Happy Hour Podcast may contain language that is not suitable for all audiences)

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