Morning Blog: About those New Orleans Saints….

Cleveland
Cleveland

The Morning Blog (OK, a few hours late — or early — depending on how you look at it)…

Many football fans here in Mississippi, divided in college loyalties, unite where the New Orleans Saints are concerned. They had been united in sorrow until late Sunday night.

When Zach Hocker’s 30-yard field goal to win Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys doinked off the left upright, many of us were thinking: “Here we go again…”

The Saints, 0-3, seemed destined for 0-4. And then, the Saints won a coin toss for overtime. And then Drew Brees found C.J. Spiller running free in the Cowboys secondary and feathered a perfectly thrown lob that just kind of melted in Spillers hands. And then Spiller’s speed did the rest. The Saints won to keep their season hopes on life support.

Keep in mind, that’s where the Saints are right now: on life support. At 1-3, they are three games behind both the undefeated Atlanta Falcons and likewise 4-0 Carolina Panthers. They are tied at 1-3 in last place in the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Bucs. And Tampa Bay, by virtue of its victory over the Saints, would win that tiebreaker.

So Saints fans can celebrate the victory over the Cowboys. Just don’t go overboard. And keep in mind, this Cowboys team was more like a Class AAA farm club. The Cowboys were missing several of their best players, including quarterback Tony Romo who would have made a lot of plays that his substitute Brandon Weeden could not.

By the end of the game the Cowboys defense hardly resembled itself, so many players had gone down to injury. Nevertheless, Brees, who played the entire game with a dinged throwing shoulder, was outstanding. He remains a special quarterback on an otherwise fairly ordinary team.

The Saints have several deficiencies (offensive line, wide receiver, pass rush) that won’t be easily fixed.

They play the likewise 1-3 Philadelphia Eagles on the road Sunday and will need to win again to stay within shouting distance of the two division leaders. It won’t be easy. My guess: Nothing for this Saints team will be.

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