I know, I know. I should be upset. I should be talking about how the Saints squandered an early lead, and more importantly, a chance to make one last statement in a lost season. I should be talking about how after a strong start, and a Delvin Breaux injury, the Saints defense went right back to being the unsightly, penalty ridden disaster we have all grown so accustomed to watching. I just can't, in my heart of hearts, be upset by what I saw on the field yesterday. Not because it was flawless football, but because it was exponentially better than anything the Saints have exposed us to over the last month. I know people that have a loser's mentality, and rightfully so given the track record of this team, say things like this all the time, but I meant every word of it...
As pessimistic as that sounds, there was never a single moment where I was confident in the Saints being able to come out on the right side of that game. There were, however, moments when the Saints made me proud to be fan. There were moments when they made me jump up off my couch in elation. Those moments were fleeting, as they were more often than not followed by a Cam Newton touchdown pass, or a stupid third down penalty, or n inexplicable turnover, but they were there, and that's something I haven't been able to say for the last three games. So no, I wasn't disappointed as the Saints walked off the field yesterday. Maybe a little disheartened, but that's just par for the course this season. The Saints actually battled their asses off, and while it resulted in only a moral victory, that's definitely better than anyone could have expected against an 11-0 division rival.
Sometimes I truly believe this team is just too stupid to succeed. Whether it is taking a dumb taunting penalty after a rare third down stop, or it is repeatedly running play action passes when you have not once shown a commitment to running the ball, the Saints don't have the look of competent football team. That is in large part due to a lack of talent, but it's also due to lackluster coaching. There's a lot of fans that were encouraged by the raw emotion that Sean Payton exuded yesterday. Yet, even in showing the passion that once made him one of the great young minds in the game, Sean Payton mostly just used it to bitch to the refs about the Panthers having 12 men in the huddle. He even went as far as wasting a challenge on something that was ultimately unchallengable. While the refs certainly had a forgettable day, something that's been far too common this season, worrying that much about things that happen prior to the play just show how misguided his approach has become. Sure, it's an improvement from watching the walking, talking corpse of a potentially lame duck coach we have seen so often this season, but I am not ready to call Sean Payton's sideline antics a positive.
This team is bad, it's coaching is bad, and for that reason, I actually found it refreshing that, even in defeat, they gave me 60 minutes of watchable, exciting football. Add that onto the fact that the Saints made history by having the first ever blocked extra point returned for a two point conversion, as well as scoring a defensive touchdown for the first time since...when was the last Presidential election? Whatever, as the lows have gotten lower, the high's have done so also, and for a couple minutes at a time the Saints finally reminded us what it's like to be excited, exuberant football fans.