After two devastating playoff losses in seasons that looked like the Saints would make it back to the Super Bowl in recent years, the New Orleans Saints are giving fans hope they may have a chance to return for a second championship this year.
Maybe that’s an overreaction to a 6-2 start to the 2020 football season, but let’s face it, Louisiana could use some good news this year.
The state’s largely oil-based economy already faced challenges, and then came the COVID-19 shutdown of not only Louisiana’s economy but much of the entire country’s.
And let’s not even talk about the seemingly endless parade of hurricanes — a record five named storms have hit the state (to date) in 2020, including devastating Category 4 Laura, which did immense damage to the southwestern part of the state in late August.
So sit back and enjoy the Saints, who delivered a Category 5 thrashing to media darling Tampa Bay and golden-boy quarterback Tom Brady in a 38-3, nationally-televised Sunday night game. Only a 48-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter (tsk, tsk, coach Bruce Arians) saved the Bucs from the embarrasment of a shutout.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees may not be the same player he was when he was named the MVP for Super Bowl XLIV after leading New Orleans to a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in February of 2010, but he looked plenty good in leading the team to a sweep of the Bucs this year.
Brees went 26-for-32 for 222 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday night’s win (not bad for what many fans have called a noodle-armed, aging QB). Those 26 completions went to 12 — TWELVE — different receivers.
Compare that to Brady, who won six Super Bowl titles in nine appearances with the New England patriots before signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay this year (and immediately making the Bucs a favorite to win a title in much of the national media’s eyes). On Sunday, Brady went 22 of 38 for 209 yards and three interceptions.
Heck, even the Saints’ two backup QBs, Taysom Hill (2-for-2, 48 yards) and Jameis Winston (1-for-1, 12 yards) had higher passer ratings. As Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweeted, all three Saints QBs had higher passer ratings than Brady — Drew Brees, 135.2; Taysom Hill, 118.8; Jameis Winston, 116.7; Tom Brady, 40.4. Hill also rushed for a team-high 54 yards and caught a 21-yard pass. Alvin Kamara ran for 44 yards and a TD and caught five passes.
The defense also held Tampa Bay to 194 total yards. (Thanks again, coach Arians, for only rushing the ball five times, an all-time low in an NFL game.)
The schedule the rest of the way is favorable for New Orleans. Of the eight games remaining on the schedule, only Kansas City (8-1) has a winning record to this point.
The remaining teams are San Francisco (4-5), Atlanta twice (3-6), Denver (3-5), Philadelphia (3-4-1), Minnesota (3-5) and Carolina (3-6).
Here’s hoping the Saints can keep on winning, whether it’s a beautiful win like last week or an ugly one like some of the earlier ones, and win another Super Bowl before Brees retires. We could all use some good news like that.