SEATTLE — Sometimes in football and in life, ugly is beautiful.
The New Orleans Saints proved Monday night in defeating the Seattle Seahawks 13-10 that occasionally the only fans who truly enjoy the game are the winning team's fans. Anyone watching who was not a Saints fan probably felt like they were watching two toddlers have a pillow fight. It's cute for 20 minutes, but what neutral observer wanted to watch that for 3 hours?
Not our problem.
The Saints used incredible defense and an offensive game plan of “Let's just give the ball to Alvin Kamara as many times as humanly possible until we win or Alvin runs out of gas.” It worked to get the Saints to 4-2.
The game had the feel of a desperate Seattle team trying to save their season from falling into the abyss and it showed with the Seahawks drawing the Saints into multiple penalties after the whistle.
Demario Davis felt like the Saints handled Seattle's post-play talking.
“It was a little chirpy and scrappy out there tonight. It was an electric atmosphere. It's Monday night football," Davis said. "I don't understand the extra chirping and trying to prove you're tough. It's a tough game you don't have to do that. I think we stayed level-headed for the most part.”
Davis was tremendous and is now the unquestioned leader and best player on the Saints. He had 7 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and a pass defended. The West Coast was hit with a bomb cyclone and that contributed to the Saints playing in the rain Monday, but Davis was a defensive bomb cyclone all by himself. He's the best Saints free agent signing in Saints history not named Drew Brees, and as blasphemous as it sounds against the Saints famed Dome Patrol linebacking group, a top 4 linebacker in Saints history.
How dominant was the Saints' defense? Seattle had an 84-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, which should have been offensive pass interference because Saints corner Marshon Lattimore got shoved to the ground by Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf. Then the Seahawks had 135 yards of offense the rest of the game.
Seattle managed only 45 yards passing the final three quarters - 45!
The 2021 Saints defense is special and it's likely not a coincidence that Marcus Davenport returned from injury and their pass rush reappeared with 5 sacks. Defensive tackle David Onyemata returns next week and suddenly the Saints' defense might become even better.
The Saints' defense is terrifying in the best of ways while the Saints' offense seems committed to making us miss Drew Brees more and more every week.
The offense is just Alvin Kamara and a bunch of other players incapable of getting open or catching the ball. To be fair, it's hard to do things in a driving rain, like catching a football.
Poor Jameis Winston grew so frustrated at one point he was yelling at just returned off injured reserve receiver Tre'Quan Smith on the sideline. Smith was supposed to help the Saints ailing passing game but you can't help the helpless or something.
Saints wide receivers caught 4 passes for 43 yards. The Saints need Michael Thomas back like yesterday or they need to trade for a competent receiver because these guys are perhaps the worst group of receivers the Saints have ever had.
Jameis Winston didn't turn the ball over, which was good, but he's simply not good enough on third down right now. The Saints were 2 of 13 on third down. There were conversions to be made and Winston couldn't make them. But how do we judge him in a downpour when the Saints receivers are awful and Michael Thomas and Taysom Hill are out injured?
Taysom's importance gets overlooked because he lost out in the quarterback competition to Winston, but Hill is critical to the Saints. He allows Sean Payton to lighten the load on Kamara by being dominant in the red zone and helping the Saints convert third downs.
The beautiful thing about winning these ugly games is the Saints can continue to work on their problems and still have something to play for late in the season. Sean Payton knows who his team is and how these games have to go for the Saints to win. Sometimes it involves kicking field goals to finish off 19-play drives instead of going for it.
“We knew it was going to be one of those games where field position was going to be important, ball security was going to be important," Payton said. "Preparing in our mind for what we thought the weather was going to be like. Maybe it wasn't quite that. I've never heard of bomb typhoon but that kind of gets your attention.”
This Saints team is flawed. They aren't winning the Super Bowl and I LOVE THEM SO DAMN HARD.
When the Saints had Drew Brees and terrible defense it felt like they were wasting their chance at greatness and Super Bowls. The 2021 Saints are 4-2, have a great defense, no consistent offense, but feel like they doing as well as they possibly can.
Kicking and defense kids, it's the new Saints hotness.
As wrestler and poet Ric Flair once said, “You might not like it but you better learn to love it because it's the best thing going.” Welcome to flawed but winning Saints football.