With the Orleans Parish coroner on hand at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, The Season was about to pass on. It had been given Last Rites. Time of death looked to be 2:03 pm CST on Sunday, October 5.
That’s when Drew Brees threw his second interception of the game, this one a 6-pointer. Those points, and the point after, accounted for 24 unanswered as the Bucs jumped out to a 24-13 lead.
Then something mysterious happened.
Rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks started picking up yardage. Pierre Thomas broke tackles and proved he is still the most underrated running back in the league. Linebacker Junior Galette recorded a sack for a safety. Brees made key completions. Running back Khiry Robinson broke free for a game-winning touchdown in overtime.
Moments after being left for dead, to the surprise of the coroner on scene, The Season regained a pulse. It was weak, but it was there. Who Dats were seen running in the streets yelling about a resurrection and another Black and Gold Super Bowl. Naysayers and those who gave up on the team were shamed by those who professed they never lost hope.
The Saints’ final drive, the only one of overtime, was gutty, physical and potentially season-saving. Maybe season-defining.
However, it’s no secret this team still has a lot of problems.
Yes, the Saints had 511 total yards. But Drew Brees threw three interceptions, two of which led to 14 Tampa Bay points. The Saints don’t want Brees to throw 57 times, even if it leads to 371 yards. That means he took some chances along the way, and likely tried to do too much at some point. That has cost the Saints games before. It didn’t on Sunday, but it easily could have.
Yes, the Saints defense recorded its first interception of the season, courtesy of cornerback Patrick Robinson. And Galette had that sack/safety. But the D gave up 311 yards and at times made Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon look like a Pro-Bowler. Communication still seemed to be an issue at times.
This game was way too close considering the way the Saints dominated statistically. With costly turnovers, the Saints let the Bucs hang around. Usually that’s bad news.
The fact that the Saints gutted it out and didn’t fold is encouraging.
Maybe the Saints defense isn’t terrible.
Maybe the offense isn’t suddenly pedestrian.
Maybe the Saints aren’t a bad football team.
The bye week comes at a good time. Players can get healthy and the team can get right mentally. A win leading into the bye certainly helps. The Saints are 2-3 and the NFC South is wide open. Here’s hoping the team everyone was expecting coming out of training camp — the one with Super Bowl potential — shows up in two weeks against the Lions.
For now, a win is a win. The Bucs made the Saints battle hard for it. Probably harder than they expected.
I, for one, am glad the coroner didn’t put The Season in the morgue. It still has some life left. Maybe the best is yet to come.