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Scoot: Saints game was a roller coaster ride that didn’t end with a gentle stop

Scoot
September 10, 2019 - 1:26 pm
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The emotional roller coaster ride Saints and Texans fans were on during the season opener for both teams was one hell of a ride. And unlike the tangible roller coasters at an amusement park - none of the riders had any idea how itwould end.  It certainly did not end with the roller coaster reaching a flat track and gently slowing down.

But here we are off the emotional roller coaster that was the Monday Night Football game.  While everyone on the ride would have to admit it was an exciting ride - the Houston Texans fans were not happy in the end.

I have been in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for many important and exciting prime-time games, but at the beginning of the game I felt like this was the loudest crowd ever.  Maybe the crowd was not technically the loudest by the decimeter measurement, but they were on their feet and cheering loudly even on first and second down. There is no doubt - the crowd came to play!

The Saints methodically marched down the field on their first drive, and Drew Brees seemed to have the Saints poised to score until he was forced out of the pocket and tried to lob a pass a wide open receiver who seemed to have a clear path to the end zone.  Instead, Brees’ pass was underthrown and went right into the hands of the Texans defender.

After the Brees inception, the Texans scorched the Saints defense and went 94 yards to score a touchdown. Most of the first half was painful for Saints fans to watch; and after the first drive ended with the Brees interception, the offense was out of sync.  

But the Saints appeared to have new resolve in the second half.  The Saints would score, and the Texans would score. No one knew how it would end.

There were too many times the Saints defense appeared to resemble Swiss cheese, and the Texans took advantage of that.  

Late in the fourth quarter, the Saints defense stole the momentum back and the offense responded.  Drew Brees and the Saints offense, behind precision passing, great grabs and excellent running by Alvin Kamara, the Saints took the lead 27-21 with less than a minute to play in the game.  It appeared the Saints would win the game, but all Saints fans have been through enough to know that it’s not over until it’s over.

Did the Saints defense relax and feel like they had the game won?  That’s the way it appeared to many fans who watched in horror as the Texans made a few big plays and tied the score at 27-27.  The extra point would win the game for the Texans. The extra point was missed, however, presumably sending the game into overtime. But wait! a roughing the kicker penalty was called against the Saints.  It was very questionable call at best. But that gave the Texans a second chance and the extra point was good and the Texans took the lead 28 - 27 with just over 30 seconds left to play.

Could Brees do it?  Could he put the Saints in a position to at least try a field goal?  Of course, because it’s Drew Brees.

With time ticking away - Brees and the Saints marched down just beyond the comfort zone for kicker Will Lutz.  And with 2 seconds left on the clock - Lutz booted a 58-yard field goal to win the game for the Saints 30-28.  

Every Saint fans knows exactly how the Texans fans felt because we have been in that same position too many times.  

What I admire most about Drew Brees is his ability to overcome setbacks.  I once asked Drew on the air how is it that he is so good forgetting about throwing an interception and can come back with great confidence.  He told me that when he is intercepted he assumes the defensive player just “got lucky” and he never allows an interception to rock his confidence.

The Saints offensive line and RB Alvin Kamara were outstanding, and Kamara’s ability to slither out of tackles was on full display.  WR Michael Thomas and Ted Gunn, Jr. put their fingerprints all over the Saints win.

But…it appears that work needs to be done on the Saints secondary.  As good as Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson is - the Saints secondary may have made him look even better.

The NFL admitted the officials made the wrong call when they executed a ten second runoff of the clock, which was significant enough to alter the course of the game.  The Saints won, and the NFL was quick to admit their mistake. One wonders if the Saints had lost, would they have been as willing to admit the mistake of the officials?

After what must have been an emotionally draining game for the Saints, the team has a short week before their trip to the West Coast to play the L.A. Rams.  

With the stored up emotion from the way the Rams eliminated the Saints from the Super Bowl last season, the Saints - Rams game has been much anticipated.  

Let’s hope the Saints gain more confidence from their come-from-behind victory over the Texans than they are drained of emotion for last night’s game.  Winning the game against the Texans with two seconds remaining and then traveling to L.A. and beating the Rams to open the season 2-0 would be a fairlytale-like beginning to a season that owns so much promise!

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