Saints have only themselves to blame for loss to Vikings

Kristian Garic
January 06, 2020 - 10:13 am

Yes, offensive pass interference on tight end Kyle Rudolph should have been called in the Saints overtime loss to the Vikings.  Just don’t try and sell me on that being the reason the Saints lost this game. The referees didn’t have anything to do with the Vikings going 10 for 18 on third down.  That would be on the Saints defense.

The refs didn’t miss a 43 yard field goal at the end of the half.  That would be on placekicker Will Lutz.  Alvin Kamara got the illegal shift penalty against him with 21 seconds left in regulation; the refs simply enforced a rule.

The Zebra’s didn’t fumble the football late in the fourth quarter in a drive that seemed destined for points.  Drew Brees can take the blame for that.

As smart, educated football fans of the Who Dat Nation, we have to stop with the “blame the refs game” whenever the Saints lose a game.  How about giving credit and blame where it is due?

Give credit to the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive and defensive lines.  Minnesota rushed for 136 yards in the win, just above their season average of 130 yards.  The Vikings defensive line made life difficult for QB Drew Brees, sacking him twice.  Vikings QB Kirk Cousins came through in the clutch, in overtime.  Cousins actually outplayed Brees in this game. 

Now time for the blame, and there is plenty of blame to go around.  Seventeen rushing attempts?  SEVENTEEEEEEEEEN!  That is the total for the game for New Orleans.  Head coach Sean Payton wasn’t patient enough with the running game.  The Saints averaged 5.7 yards per rush. 

3rd and 1 yard and Payton calls a jet sweep that gets stuffed by the Vikings defense?  That’s a play call Payton would like to have back.  Sometimes Coach Payton gets too cute with play calls.  However, part of that equation is simply can’t laud him as a brilliant offensive mind, and curse him for being cute.  High risk/high reward is part of his DNA. 

Another instance where Payton might want a play call back?  How about late in the fourth quarter and Taysom Hill seemingly was putting the team on his back with back to back big runs that moved the sticks.  Payton goes right back to the air!  Brees fumbles!  With the benefit of hindsight Payton would have probably kept the ball in Taysom’s hand for another big play opportunity. 

Still that is not what cost the Saints.  CB Marshon Lattimore gave up a big play to the Vikings in overtime that set them up inside the 5 yard line and the eventual winning touchdown.  Lattimore looked lost in coverage.  After that play, Lattimore got into a verbal spat with defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn.  Lattimore has regressed since his rookie season; that’s why teams have consistently targeted him in their passing game.

For those who might be living in the moment and a prisoner of the stinging loss to the Vikings, please do me a favor...stop. Stop spinning the narrative that it’s time to move on from Drew Brees.  You sound really silly trying to spin that.  Hero for heroic type play and unending broken records, after a hand injury...then zero for one loss. Just stop.

We/the Who Dat Nation have been spoiled by his greatness.  So often Brees is super human, machine like that we can’t understand when he doesn’t play at that absurdly high level.  Despite what we might think, Brees is human.  He has bad days or days that aren’t super human.  It happens.   If you are in the school of thought that it’s time to move on from Brees I feel really, really sorry for you.

Sure, this loss stings, and it’s another year the Saints are on the doorstep of a second Super Bowl. Sure, we’re left with the “what if’s and if only” questions.  The season is over, but life moves on. 

This week you will go to work (admittedly in a bit of a fog) and do your job, go home and pet the dog, or play with the kids.  Life resumes.  It’s the post-season life, the no Saints football season, but still plenty to live for...and still HOPE for.

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