NEW ORLEANS — Is this a New Orleans Saints safe space? We are all friends here right? Cool. Welcome to football hell. It'll be OK, we are in it together, we will have some laughs, scream at some coaches, reminisce about the good times, and hope the Saints winning returns sometime soon before we are all too old to enjoy it.
The New Orleans Saints lost to the worst offense in the NFL Sunday in Pittsburgh when they fell to the Steelers 20-10 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the score might indicate.
If there is currently a more injured, worse tackling, and worse playing NFL team I'd like you to show it to me and schedule them to play the Saints because the current version of the New Orleans Saints look unlikely to win any games the rest of the season.
Shocking? Not if you watched the Saints on Sunday. The Steelers went into Sunday's game averaging just 15 points but ran for 217 yards and had the ball for 38 minutes.
The only thing that kept the game close was the Steelers inability to kick field goals. I sat watching the Saints on Sunday just sort of speechless and sad and my wife asked, “Is there any thing I can do to make you feel better?” “Go get the good bourbon...and leave the bottle.” That's the stage I'm at watching the 2022 Saints. We are in THE BAD PLACE.
If we pretend the 2005 Katrina season never happened – which we should – the Saints have entered into their worst on field performance since Mike Ditka was alternating Billy Joes at quarterback and wearing dreadlocks with Ricky Williams.
Fox Sports showed a graphic listing all the injured Saints players. It had 10 names, including seven starters and first round pick Trevor Penning. The Saints injuries are so extensive the graphic guy forgot TO LIST JAMEIS WINSTON! He was only the starting quarterback at the start of the season. Of course a Saints game in 2022 wouldn't be complete without a critical injury, so they lost another starting offensive lineman Sunday, when starting left tackle James Hurst went out with a concussion.
The Saints offense up to that point had fought back from 10-0 to tie the game, and while not looking great, at least was a competent NFL offense. Once Hurst exited, it felt like a game of Jenga where the piece that crashes everything down was pulled out and the Saints offense was suddenly a pile of rubble. There is no team in the NFL which would survive losing their starting quarterback, #1 wide receiver, and three starting offensive linemen. Not happening.
That's what makes judging the job first-year Saints head coach Dennis Allen has done so difficult. This really feels like a replay of 2021 but in 2022 the Saints injuries have also included the defense as the Saints were missing four starters on that side of the ball. In 2021 the Saints lost five straight and the offense was so injured even having Sean Payton couldn't fix things until the Saints got guys healthy in December.
We all like to pretend we know exactly all the magic buttons Sean Payton pushed that Dennis Allen doesn't, but the truth is we really have no idea. The trouble for Dennis Allen is he was hired to continue the winning and culture Sean Payton had helped build, and when the Saints finish with five or less wins it means the winning and the culture are up in smoke, and the question becomes, “Is Dennis Allen the guy to lead the rebuilding of the Saints?”
Maybe he is, I don't know. I do know Dennis Allen wasn't hired to oversee a complete rebuild of the New Orleans Saints. Lots of you aren't used to this kind of awful Saints football. Some of you might've started your Saints fandom in 2006, or maybe sometime this century, and disappointing Saints seasons were 7-9 frustration where winning seasons and playoffs seemed within reach.
The 2022 Saints are not that. Seven wins feels like some unattainable luxury item only the cool kids get. What's left for us and the Saints the final seven weeks of 2022? The Saints in 2022 are officially a tire fire, I just want the flames to burn high and maybe give me a fleeting moment of warmth every now and then. Dennis Allen is probably going to spin the quarterback wheel of sadness all terrible teams do.
Jameis getting reckless being aggressive throwing bombs sounds fun. Or even Taysom running for his life throwing passes to no one in-particular could make for an interesting Sunday. That's how far and fast we've sunk with the post Sean Payton and Drew Brees Saints; wins feel like an unattainable dream, so all we can ask for is is a little bit of entertainment on Sunday afternoon from this terrible football team.
The 2022 Saints have been hit by the perfect storm of horrible. Bad luck, bad injuries, bad coaching, bad everything. What we didn't know was after the exhilarating season opening comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons when Jameis Winston said, “There was pain everywhere.” he wasn't only describing his back injury but what the rest of the Saints 2022 season would be. It's nothing but PAIN EVERYWHERE.
Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer and Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at email@example.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @SaintsForecast or download the Saints Happy Hour Podcast.