Say what you want about the New Orleans Saints, but don't say they are an organization that's going to leave you rolling your eyes with a bunch of inevitably unresolved New Year's promises. They may have just finished off a 3rd straight, painfully underwhelming 7-9 effort, but at least they aren't the type of team to act like one flip of the calendar is a quick fix to all their flaws. A year opening and season closing performance that highlighted everything that has ailed this franchise since 2014 was proof positive of that. They might light up the scoreboard in losing efforts, but at least they aren't lighting up your Facebook feed with a bunch of 'New Year, New Us!' posts. The value of that can't be understated during this excruciatingly optimistic time of year. I mean, yesterday's game featured almost everything we have come to loathe about this team, but at least it didn't trick us to thinking those things were no longer a concern.
First and foremost, an anemic defense was on full display...
Then an offense who churns out stats at a record setting pace, accumulates milestones by the minute, but always seems to come up just a bit short when it matters most took over...
Seriously, nothing says more about New Orleans' recent failures than becoming the 2nd team in NFL history to have a 5,000 yard passer, a 1,000 yard rusher, and two 1,000 yard receivers in a contest that was far more of a blowout than the final score would lead you to believe. Shit, if they had managed to mix in a botched field goal than yesterday's game would have been the blueprint for demoralizing Saints losses.
And I know it was a meaningless game, but it was a meaningless game against a heated rival whose result will leave a bitter taste in the mouthes' of fans who had reasons to be encouraged by the team's relative progress this year. It's tougher to truly appreciate the steps taken by a young defense when their lasting impression may have solidified an MVP Award for yet another NFC South quarterback not named Drew Brees. It's more difficult to argue that the Saints offense was more well rounded this year when the final time we saw them they were piling up futile points after a mediocre first half that put the game out of reach. The Saints were far more cohesive than year's past, and I think there are big things in store if Sean Payton stays and keeps this ship headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, it's exponentially easier to call for his dismissal when the last we saw of his team bears a striking resemblance to the worst we have seen from his teams during eerily sub-average seasons. Not even the overly presumptuous "anonymous sources" know what is going to happen during the offseason, but giving them a pathetically prototypical performance to go off of certainly didn't do anything to silence them.