It appears some people I know have very short memories. Yes Garrett Hartley missed a field goal in over time but why were we even in that position in the first place?
Could it be that we couldn't run the ball yet again?
Could it be that we couldn't stop ANY third downs?
Could it be that we couldn't stop the run AGAIN?
There are all sorts of reasons why we lost. Chief amongst them is that we faced a real up and coming Falcons team led by a quality QB. Matt Ryan was poised and accurate throughout. Obviously it didn't help that on every 3rd down conversion it appeared that no one wanted to be anywhere near Tony Gonzalez and there's a story in itself.
You'd think that having all feasted off the NFL films eulogy to the Saints Super Bowl victory that someone on the D staff would have noted Coach Paytons' imploring rants of his D not to let their best player, Dallas Clark, win the game single handedly.
Well that's exactly what the Saints were facing against the Falcons and yet nobody seemed capable of getting close to the guy. Yes he's a future Hall of Famer but come on. Just cover him once and that's one possession handed back to Bree's.
Now let's also not forget the Falcons running game that once again showed the fact we cannot stop the run. It's an old story but one that we just don't seem capable of sorting.
All that said, and that looks like a rant against the Saints but... I also thought we played some good football!
The fact is we played tough throughout and almost pulled out a win against the odds. I like the way we are hanging in there throughout and showing spirit.
The Falcons never once looked to be running away with it (well apart from on the ground but we'll come back to that). Neither team could get absolute momentum and as such it was a real gritty old fashioned football match. And I for loved it for that. Hard hard football play.
The Saints clearly need to sort some issues out this week.
1. Find a way to open running holes for the backs. For the best O line in football you'd expect some holes could be opened but so far this season it's been pretty sparse.
2. Stop the run. Anyway any how. Just stop it. Shut it down in the middle.
3. Stop 3rd down conversions. Pressure would be good and coverage of the oppositions best receiver would help.
4. Don't get down on Garrett Hartley. Yes he shanked his kick but he converted one in normal time, took us to the Super Bowl, is young and looks mentally strong. Give him the benefit of the doubt and show him some support. If the first 3 issues were resolved we wouldn't even be mentioning his name.
5. Find some backup for the running backs. Pierre Thomas has too much of a load to carry. Chris Ivory is inexperienced and should not have been in on 4th down when he fumbled.
6. Make Devery Henderson do a thousand push ups anytime he drops the ball in practise (hell it worked for Wesley Snipes in the film Major League).
7. Keep the faith. After all the years of dissappointment some parts of the Who Dat nation are showing clear signs of having it too good for too long. Remember the lean years and realise it ain't all bad.
Yes we've got to fix the above things but the team know that. We lost a tight game against a good good team so keep the faith. Drew Brees and co. will be working over time this week to sort things out so keep cheering, keep that dome noise up and believe in Coach Payton for there is no one, NO ONE, I would rather have calling the plays.
In Sean we trust.