Steve: Why so serious Coach Payton?
Sunday's game ended with Saints' fans grilling up some bison burgers as the Black & Gold improved to 6-1 on the season beating the Buffalo Bills 35-17. But while all was grand in Who Dat Land, Coach Sean Payton's mood and tone was not so jubilant following the win in the Superdome.
"I was pleased that we got the win, but it certainly wasn't our best effort. I thought we made a lot of mistakes in a lot of areas and those are things that, starting with me, we've got to do a better job with," he insisted. "We made some silly mistakes... we had problems with the penalties... I think there are a lot of things we've got to get cleaned up... we didn't play our best game today."
Hold on a second coach, things weren't that bad were they?
Sure, the team managed to get no points after the Bills turned the ball over on the first play of the game and Garrett Harley missed 2 field goals. Yeah, I guess committing 8 penalties is a lot. Oh right , Drew Brees was sacked 4 times, bringing the season total up to 18.
Sean Payton expecting more out his team is to be expected as the team is about to hit their toughest stretch of games this season. The results of this game may not have been so favorable if a higher quality of opponent was on the field, say the 49ers or the Seahawks.
All that being said though, I feel there are a lot more positives with this ballclub then negatives.
First off, really take in the fact that you are watching a future 1st ballot Hall of Fame QB slice and dice defenses on a weekly basis. Through 7 games this season Brees is completing 67.5% of his passes and has totaled 2290 yards with 19 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. These numbers are what we expect from Drew because of his track record, but it should still be noted that this guy is one of the best of ALL TIME. He had five TD passes against the Bills.
To go along with having one of the best QBs in the game, the Saints also have the top tight end in Jimmy Graham. None of us will ever really know how much pain he was really in yesterday, but his warrior mentality pushed him though and managed to add 2 scores to his yearly total, putting him at 9 on the season. The Graham Reaper (thanks Facebook fan post) certainly deserves the big pay day that is coming his way. And relax Who Dat Nation, GM Mickey Loomis will find a way to make the money work for the team and the tight end.
Kenny Stills is another big positive. The rookie has scored touchdowns in consecutive games and has really cemented himself as the team's number three option. He now has 13 receptions for 327 yards and is #2 on the team in receiving TDs this year with 3.
The running game gets a lot of criticism, and for good reason, but is showing signs of life over the last 2 games. Sure the team only amassed 77 yards on the ground against Buffalo, but Pierre Thomas accounted for 65 of those, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Last, but certainly not least is Rob Ryan and the defense. The Saints are allowing just 17 points per game and currently have 9 interceptions, have forced 8 fumbles and are creating loads of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The unit is top 10 in the league in sacks - with 24 sacks - while the Fleur Di Lis D ranks 12 overall in the NFL right now. To steal a memorable Les Miles quote, "Spectacular group of men. You go find them, you throw your arms around them and you give them a big kiss on the mouth… if you're a girl." The turnaround is night and day from last season.
We tend to harp on negatives too damn much. No team, not even the Chiefs (despite what their record says) is perfect. For now, Who Dat Nation, I say bask in the glory of being 6-1 and dream big. The secret is to visualize in order to realize.