Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?!?!?! Yep, you heard it right, the Saints are headed to the most elite tournament in sports for the second consecutive year. To quote NFL.com, the Saints showed the “heart of a champion”. It didn’t come easy, but on the heals of a stellar defensive performance and some timely offense, the Saints beat what most people consider the NFC’s best team in their own stadium. Say what you will about the Saints, they made the statement tonight that they’re still the defending champions and they are capable of going anywhere and winning. Check out my postgame bullets:
— Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter both navigated between great and poor, but they both competed hard.
— Forget Brees’ second interception. It was a mix of lack of height, a tremendous play by John Abraham and bad luck. The first interception? HORRIBLE. Once again, Drew was good for an abysmal token turnover. Every single game, it seems like, he does this. How we’re 11-4 this year with the God awful turnovers he’s had is a real testament to the team around him. He’s carried the team through a lot in his stint with the Saints, but they carried him through this one.
— Defense, defense, defense. Wow. They were amazing. Michael Turner finished with 48 yards on 17 carries. Take away one 27 yard run, and it was 21 yards on 16 carries. What a dominant effort against the run. Hard to believe this was the same run defense gashed by Willis McGahee and Ray Rice.
— I think the whole “Matt Ryan is better that Drew Brees” can be laid to rest for a while. The Saints had 9 men in the box the entire game, put no pressure on Ryan all day, and the best he could manage was 15-29 for 148 in a stadium he “never loses in”. Please. Matt Ryan is a good quarterback. Let’s not anoint him as a God.
— Marques Colston struggled. His drops were bad.
— I realize Reggie Bush isn’t the best “runner”, but he had one carry. Couldn’t we come up with a better plan than that?
— Robert Meachem caught 10 balls. What a game by him. He was reliable, sure handed, and efficient all day. Hats off to Meachy.
— The Saints’ running attack was non existent. Chris Ivory can’t get back fast enough. Atlanta was routinely dominating the Saints in the trenches.
— Roddy White, after his touchdown, was invisible for the entire rest of the game. So much for that big mouth.
— I’ve said this before: Jimmy Graham is going to be a star in this league. This time, he only scored the game winner.
— I knew the game was over the minute the Falcons elected to punt on 4th and 6 with just over 3 minutes left. Some teams go for the kill, and some teams chicken out in the clutch. Mike Smith chickened out. There was no way the Saints were allowing them to see the football again. Masterful drive by the Saints to close it out.
— Great day by Jo-Lonn Dunbar filling in for Danny Clark at linebacker.
— Props to Garrett Hartley for that bomb of a 52 yarder he hit with ease. It ended up being the difference.
— The offense, overall was poor. Again, the defense deserves massive credit for holding an elite offense to 7 points. What a showing. Gregg Williams deserves a head coaching job based on this performance alone.
— The Saints’ ability to get pressure on the quarterback is pathetic. I question how far they can go without improving this area.
— Patrick Robinson made back to back sweet plays early in the game on special teams. Leigh Torrence made an idiotic play on special teams, hitting a defenseless player out of bounds.
— Former LSU center Todd McClure hooked us up with a fumble that no one could really comprehend. Terrible. Thanks though, buddy.
That’s all I got. What an amazing win. See you in the playoffs.