Were the Saints Competing at the End of the Regular Season?
I had the “worst of the worst” weekends making NFL picks, and the most disappointing of those failed picks was the Cardinals’ painful death at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. I was hoping for a good performance from the Cardinals, but when I began to live blog the game on Twitter…
…and Tim Hightower ran the ball 70 yards on the Cardinals’ opening play for a touchdown. I tweeted my excitement very quickly:
“anyone want to admit i was right about tim hightower?”
It All Went Downhill Fast
I have to say that I’m surprised the Saints scored 21 points in the 1st Quarter given the way their season ended.
The Saints lost the last 3 games of the regular season un-spectacularly, and I didn’t expect them to come out shooting the way they did. I think the Cards were surprised too, but I had missed something:
“perhaps i forgot to account for the fact that arizona doesn’t know how to tackle”.
The frustration continued until the Saints had blown out Arizona 45-14. It seemed impossible that a team that lost their last 3 games of the season, after starting 13-0, could just “turn the switch” like that.
Were The Saints Lying To Us?
The Colts made a big “stink” by resting players when they were 14-0 to give up a perfect season. However, the Colts were very honest about the whole thing. They made no bones about the fact that they didn’t care about perfection. Jim Caldwell was very candid about his lack of desire to be “perfect”, and that rubbed some people the wrong way.
The Saints didn’t say anything about resting players. In fact, Reggie Bush opened his mouth early in the season to say, “We can go undefeated”. So, after the Saints lost 3 games to end the season I assumed the obvious: The Saints had just made a tape titled “How to Beat us”.
Well, when the Saints came out and put up 35 points in the 1st half I was mad. On Sunday it hit me, and I tweeted as such:
“I’m not mad at the colts because they were honest about resting starters. i think the saints were sandbagging the last 3 weeks until today”
Shortly after, I’m in the car with the kids and it dawned on me. The Saints may have been “cheating in reverse” at the end of the season. They plated badly in order to fool everyone, and now I’m wondering if the Competition Committee will investigate them along with the Colts.
Who Do I Trust? Reggie Bush!
In the 1st Quarter Reggie Bush took a hand-off from Drew Brees, ran straight into the line, bounced out, and ran it 46 yards for a touchdown. In that moment I believe that he learned how to run the ball in the NFL. All of the potential that we’d been waiting to see had come to roost in one play.
Reggie only ran the ball 4 other times, but those 4 runs totaled 38 yards. Everything Reggie Bush did on Saturday was effective. Everything! In addition to running and catching he took a punt back 83 yards for a touchdown. This is the Reggie Bush we’ve been waiting for!
Because of Reggie’s incredible performance the Saints became Vegas’ favorite to win the Super Bowl. They already had weapons, they were never “down”, and now Reggie Bush “gets it”.
What More Could The Saints Ask For?
Well, the Saints could ask the Commissioner to NOT investigate them. I honestly believe that they were playing around the last few weeks of the season, but they lied to all of us about it. It’s one thing to back off (as the Colts did) and it’s quite another to “fake it” to fool your opponents.
The NFL may consist of big, hulking monsters trying to kill each other for 60 minutes, but it IS a gentleman’s game. Look at how players hug and congratulate each other after a well-fought battle every week.
The Saints didn’t play this one like gentlemen. They used “smoke and mirrors” instead of good, honest effort. Actually, it’s pretty insulting to know they didn’t try the last 3 weeks of the season.
You can call it “gamesmanship” if you like, but I call it dishonesty.