SIDELINE PATROL: You have to still believe in the Saints

Peter Silas Pasqua
Peter Silas Pasqua is the sports editor for the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. He can be reached at

Like so many in the Who?Dat nation, I tuned into the NFL?Network Saturday night to watch our beloved Saints. I?have watched at least some of every game that they played this year and admit I was a little nervous earlier in the week when it looked like we weren’t going to be able to see them play the Cowboys but after it became available, I made sure I was home to catch the 7:20 p.m. kickoff.

New Orleans had won everyone of their previous games this season to remain undefeated with a 13-0 record, only the sixth team to ever do so. Saturday, they were attempting to become just the fourth team to go 14-0 two days removed from the Colts accomplishing the feat. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Dallas struck quick when Tony Romo connected with Miles Austin and the Cowboys’ defensive front put the Saints on their heels. Anthony Spencer’s blindside sack on Drew Brees was only the beginning as DeMarcus Ware added two more forcing fumbles on both including one in the waning moments to put the game away after New Orleans finally looked like they woke up. In all, Brees accounted for three turnovers and the Saints’ offense had a season- low 336 total yards, some 90 fewer than their league-leading average.

So what happened Saturday night? As much as we hate to admit, our worst fears about the Saints came true. With all the success New Orleans experienced this season no one has mentioned suspected flaws of Brees as a quarterback that quietly followed him throughout his career. After fumbling twice on two sacks, maybe it is true, he can’t take a hit. And following four sacks, balls were underthrown in a collapsing pocket and his arm strength is brought into question.

We all pull for Brees because he is the underdog. He is not your stereotypical NFL quarterback at just 6-0 tall but he has clearly become the face of the franchise and will take the most punishment when things don’t go their way because he has taken advantage of Sean Payton’s unorthodox methods that are revolved around him.

Am I?losing hope in the Saints? No. New Orleans still has the best record in the NFC and are quaranteed a first round bye. One more win and they will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. These Saints have already proven they can win in the playoffs and that is all that matters now.

The biggest tell tale of Saturday’s loss probably was the loss of center Jonathan Goodwin. The center has the most important job on field by starting the play and calling out defenses. His loss definitely affected the rhythm of the offense. I mean where would Peyton Manning be without center Jeff Saturday to give Christmas wrapped footballs to on credit card commercials.

The best cure for the Saints right now will be the return of so many from injuries including Jeremy Shockey, Jabari Greer and Sedrick Ellis. It also wouldn’t hurt to get back two-time Pro Bowl blindside left tackle Jammal Brown to protect Brees whenever.