I had a baaaaad feeling about Saturday's Saints-Seahawks Wildcard game. I woke up feeling the same way I did back in the 2006 playoff series when the Saints were set to take on the Bears in Chicago. Back then, I thought the Saints were a much better team than the Bears, but that didn't quell a nagging feeling that we wouldn't play up to our potential. Fast forward five years, it was an eerie and stomach-turning case of deja-vu. And this time around, I spent a Saturday night feeling like someone had just stuck the Space Needle in my eye (among other body parts...)
Despite being a talented team defending a Super Bowl title, we knew beating Seattle, the worst team in history to ever reach the playoffs, wouldn't be easy. Our two premiere running backs had been placed on injured reserve, rising rookie tight end Jimmy Graham was out, along with studly second year safety Malcolm Jenkins. Beyond that, we were playing a team with a serious chip on their shoulders, on their home turf. No, this wouldn't be easy at all. But despite all the challenges the Saints faced, who could have anticipated such a piss poor performance by one of the top ranked defenses in the league?
While Drew Brees held is own with a dismantled offense, methinks Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams spent too much time last week measuring the windows for curtains in his new "Head Coach Office" in Denver. What I saw defensively from the Saints on Saturday was about the most uninspired, undisciplined, unbelievable performance by a top-ranked defensive unit that I can recall. Roman Harper would have served us better by just not showing up. Darren Sharper looked...well...his age. Patrick Robinson...ugh. (Although, I watched enough Florida State games last year to not be that surprised.) That defense made Matt Hassleback look like the second coming of Tom Brady. And where were the blitzes? Where was that attack-dog mentality about this defense that we've come to know and love? How simply pathetic.
(Speaking of pathetic, I'm not sure I can speak of that nail-in-the-coffin touchdown by Marshawn Lynch without launching into a vulgar tirade. I'm a journalist, though. I can do this...I can do this.)
With the Saints mounting a comeback late in the 4th quarter, the Seahawks got the ball back with 4:20 left, clinging to a 34-30 lead. On the second down of the drive, Lynch, a running back turned beast, stiff-armed, ran over, knocked down and humiliated 8 Saints defenders, all the way to the end zone on a 67 yard run that would clinch the win for the underdogs.
Tracy Porter: Knocked down like a rag doll.
Remi Ayodele: Missed tackle.
Roman Harper: Missed tackle.
Jabari Greer: "See ya!"
Taking on one Saint after another, Lynch put on his best impression of a video game character. And, uh oh, here it comes...
"What the F*ck happened?? That $hit was ridiculous. 41 POINTS TO THE F*CKIN' SEAHAWKS?? YOU #@*^ F*@% #$% *BLEEP* *BLEEP* SON OF A *BLEEP* *BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP*!!!!!!"
Okay...deep breath. Deep breath. Go to your happy place, Nola Chick.
Ahh...there we go.
I'm not going to sulk over this loss. Any given Sunday (or Saturday, apparently) any team can win. The Saints have certainly shocked their fair share of opponents. I give kudos to the Seahawks for coming prepared to play and giving their all. I just wish that the same could be said for the team I love.
I guess now all we Saints fans can do is channel our energy into cheering for every team that plays against the Falcons while reflecting on last year's spectacular Super Bowl run. I am now and will always be a member of the Who Dat nation. Despite this agonizing end to the season, I'll take comfort in the fact that the Saints had a strong season, with a good record, and they were able to silence a lot of naysayers just by making it back to the playoffs.
Meanwhile, to all you Colts fans out there, I'll meet you at the bar.
This post is cross published at Chicks in the Huddle