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Saints: Putting the "Wild" in Wild Card Weekend

(Photo Credit: Zuma Press/Icon SMI)

We don’t allow anyone in the house during the Saints games.  Friends always say they want to watch a game with us, we politely decline.  It’s not that we are overly introverted…rather it is an issue of focus.  We cannot have others in the house because we will flat out ignore them…and that is just not the way I was raised.

I broke this cardinal rule during the Saints wild card game against the Lions.  My aunt, uncle and their three kids came to visit and to tour some of the local universities.  Unfortunately, they witnessed an all-time high “crazy”, which can only be described as one hot mess.  It may have been the tit-for-tat that went into the 3rd quarter…it may have been that stunning loss to Seattle last year that still haunts me.  For this game, my fanaticism reached a new level, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the family “checks in” more frequently to monitor my condition. 

With the Lions drawing blood first, and a Colston fumble on our first possession, I began to worry that this game could mirror the season opener against the Packers – where failing to convert on one possession and one turnover dug too deep of a hole to climb out of.  Unlike that game in week one, our defense stepped up in a big way.  The two fumbles early by the Saints did not result in any points.  They swarmed to the holes, clogging up the Lion’s run game and only allowing 32 yards rushing.  Only 32 yards…I get more yards than that chasing after 4-year old twins!  The old adage, bend but don’t break, was never more apparent as Matt Stafford threw for 380 yards.  The defenders put on the pressure and delivered when they needed to, not the least of which was Jabari Greer’s interception.  This defense is not the same defense we had for the first half of the season.

Despite our strengthening defense, I remained white-knuckled until the fourth quarter.  I made everyone put thier jerseys on and kiss the football.  We even ate half a cheesecake at halftime.  Nervous eating…I can’t afford for this to be a new ritual.

The Lions are a force to be reckoned with and remind me a lot of the 2006 Saints.  Thankfully, we have Drew Brees and a stable of weapons that showed up full force in the second half.  The running trifecta – Thomas, Sproles, and Ivory – combined for 160+ yards, opening up the pass game and accentuating Brees’s ruthless efficiency.  After the third “victory lap” around the kitchen island, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I have since rewatched the game with a sense of calm and clarity.  The truth is, the Saints flat out played better ball.  They are a more complete team…they are a more balanced team.  This is a team that wins championships.

If my cousins are reading this…I am so glad you had an opportunity to tour college campuses and start thinking about what your future holds and what you want to be.  I also want you know that I completely understand if this weekend’s antics permanently remove “sports writer” off the list of potential careers.

…an’ dat’s dat!