Pull the Plug

23 Dec

Saints Left Tackle Terron Armstead (72) goes up against Panthers Defensive End Greg Hardy (76) during second-quarter action at Bank of America Stadium Sunday.

 

“‏get this fucking season over with” – @JuanScroates

Indeed. Make it stop.

Armstead, you fucked it all up. All of it. The change at left tackle was nothing short of disastrous. There are those who would point to Charles Brown’s struggles in defense of the move. At the time, I was all for it. I was wrong. You were wrong. Sean Payton was wronger than anyone. Charles Brown missed fewer blocks per game than Armstead did on his average possession yesterday.

Those jokes two weeks ago about Charlie being replaced by a turnstile? Guess Charles gets the last laugh.

The new kicker is pretty good at least, huh?

Ugh.

It’s sad it had to end this way. Close out that game, and what do we remember the most about it years from now? Probably we talk about the most well-executed surprise onside kick in the history of the game. I dare you to find a better one. You won’t. That was perfection. And it was spoiled by, well, pretty much the rest of the game.

It’s time to let it go. Let’s get one thing straight: the Panthers will not lose to the Falcons. I’ve seen this movie before, and it doesn’t have a happy ending.

As for your dreams of winning a first road playoff game, fuck them. Fuck your dreams, sir, because they are not coming true. Santa isn’t real, and neither are road playoff wins. I’m sorry you had to find out this way.

It’s fitting that this season ended, for all intents and purposes, on a road game against a team we beat spectacularly at home two weeks ago. That the demise of the 2013 Saints comes as a promise of yet another road loss in January to kick off the offseason. This was the fate of the 2013 Saints, a team that was maybe more different at home and on the road than any team to ever take the field.

The problem is we don’t have enough experience suffering lately. Let it stew a bit. In the long run it’s good for you” – @skooks

It’s stewing, skooks. It’s stewing. The problem is, we get more. Because the Saints will not lose to Tampa Bay at home in week 17. This is not possible. And an 8-0 home team that went 3-5 on the road, losing to 3 inferior opponents, winning 3 road games against opponents who are currently 16-28 by an average of under 5 points a game, have to win three consecutive road games against playoff teams to make it to New York.

No, they can’t. RT @scottshanle: If saints end up being a wildcard they can beat cowboys eagles even on the road” – @moosedenied

People, look at this. When Wang gives up, it’s really over.

But here comes the “appreciate mediocrity” crowd. These people are easily identified. They follow losses like this with statements like “Remember when a playoff berth was exciting?” and “If you’re mad just think about the Ditka years,” because they don’t understand that some teams are good and some are bad.

For this collective, every Saints team is the same thing, and 10 wins are to be celebrated as if it was 1986. Once the barrier of 9 wins is crossed, no loss can be mourned, frustration is whining, and anyone who fails to understand that a loss should have been a win must be 12 fucking years old, because obviously that faker has never experienced a bad team.

Well, fuck you, appreciators of mediocrity. This is a team that was once (it seems so long ago) 9-2, going into a game against the only team in the conference better than them; and now, 4 weeks later, needs a win in week 17 to qualify for a six seed.

And if you can’t understand why that is frustrating, why an 8-0 home team that can’t post a .500 record on the road regardless of weather or location is infuriating, why a revamped defense not being enough to supplement one of the great offenses in NFL history bothers me, why I can’t understand how a first-ballot Hall of Famer is actually bad in road games, you just aren’t paying attention. You’re watching different games than I am.

Even our Super Bowl champion head coach can’t get his head out of his ass away from the Superdome. Explain that to me, Appreciate Everything Guy. Explain going backwards 10 yards to gain 2 on third down on a consistent basis. Explain taking the ball out of the hands of one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game on a conversion attempt on 4th and 12.

We’ll go to great lengths to justify this nonsense. See this tweet from maybe the most level-headed beat reporter in New Orleans:

However, you cant criticize that call and credit the onside kick earlier. Have to like both moves or hate both moves. No cherry-picking.” – @MikeTriplett

We’ve all lost our minds. This year has broken our fucking brains. If I need to explain to you why this tweet is noteworthy in its duncery, well, I’m probably not going to be able to explain it. Because you’re grasping at straws. You are beyond the reach of logic and reason. It’s over for you. See you in 2014, and good luck.

Yesterday, probably the most infuriating season of Saints football I’ve ever witnessed came to an end. I grew up on Mora’s playoff one-and-done teams. I suffered through Ditka and Haslett, teams that sucked for a reason. Those were teams that sucked because they sucked. 2012 was irritating but expected; a team without a coach is doomed, and a defense like that is something nobody could recover from.

This one is different, because the struggles are unexplainable. How this team is not 13-2 is beyond my ability to discern, and that is frustrating. The road stupids are not explained by weather (we outscored the Panthers while the weather was bad) or crowd noise (1,000 people showed up for the Rams game). It’s fully mental. A mass psychological break involving at least 70 or 80 people including the coaching staff and probably the practice squad.

And it’s contagious. My dad, who has somehow survived the entire history of this franchise with a ridiculously optimistic outlook, shortly after the game:

“Look, we beat Tampa, get a 5 seed. Dallas is beatable even on the road. We get another shot at Carolina, who we just nearly beat, San Fran beats Seattle in Seattle, and the NFC Championship Game is played in New Orleans.”

Hoo boy. If the NFL thinks it has itself a problem now, just wait ’til word gets out that just watching football can result in Tramautic Brain Injury.

The sad thing: I can almost believe it. Because I want to so bad. But I can’t let myself do that. We have to walk away and end this now. You let yourself believe it’s possible for just one minute and your injured brain will run with it for miles. Don’t let that happen. For your own sake.

Pull the plug.

 

7 Responses to “Pull the Plug”

  1. Anthony Kennerson December 23, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Actually, AWD, it’s a lot easier to explain than you think.

    The Saints offense isn’t soft…it’s SLOW. No speed at WR to stretch defenses; no breakaway speed at RB to break big plays, and no ability to turn short passes or runs into big plays. If you have to be dependent on Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas carrying the ball 20 times each just to get 100 yards, and Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham catching the ball 20 times just to move the chains, your offense will get pretty stagnant. Also, bringing Darren Sproles in the game merely to catch screens pretty much typecasts your offense to the point of being predictable enough to defend.

    In addition, I don’t put the blame on Armstead at all….he may have not been the answer everyone expected, but he should have never been put into that spot unprotected to begin with. It was a horrible idea to bench Charles Brown merely for getting beat by an all-Pro DE (Robert Quinn) that makes most offensive linemen look like turnstiles. That’s why you make adjustments, such as putting a tight end on his side for double team help. Oh, wait….isn’t Jimmy Graham supposed to *be* a tight end, not just a glorified beefed-up WR?? Or, where’s Ben Watson, whom we signed all that free agent money for??

    The real problem with the Saints O is that they were too blinded by “RedemptSEAN” noise to notice that they were getting older, slower, and more predictable in presentation and execution…and that they were being dominated by larger, more physical, and more nimble defenses.

    Getting Joe Morgan back and drafting a legitimate playmaking WR, while transposing Colston into a Reggie Wayne-like “possession” receiver, should inject some life back into the offense….but the real solution is to totally rework the O-line back into a man-to-man, bust-your-opposite’s-grills approach, and get themselves an all-down feature back that can hit the holes hard and break enough big runs that teams are fearful. That in and of itself will force the kind of “balance” that some people find missing in the current Saints scheme.

    In the internim, though, I’ll still rout for my team to beat Tampa, and hope beyond hope that maybe the Falcons can rally themselves off the suckage at least one time. And, if the team does make the playoffs as the 5th or 6th seed, I will still back them, win, lose, or tie, even if sometimes they make me mad at ‘em. Hell, even if they don’t make it, I’m not jumping ship, since even with this late season debacle, this is still a good football team that’s struggling, not the Redsk…errrr, that franchise in DC.

    • The Angry Who Dat December 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Nobody’s “jumping ship,” just recognizing reality. And I agree with almost everything in your post. But none of it really explains the home-road discrepancy that we’re seeing.

  2. Himself December 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Here’s how your dad’s scenario works out:

    Chicago beats Green Bay and Dallas beats Philadelphia. This makes both 9-7, and after the tie-breaker the Bears get the 3rd seed and the Cowboys get the 4th. Then, the Saints beat Tampa Bay at home, and the 49ers lose on the road to the Cardinals. This gives the Saints (with the tie-breaker over San Francisco) the 5th seed, and sends them into Dallas.

    Where Tony Romo engineers a last-minute, 3-play, 74-yard drive to score the winning touchdown with 4 seconds left.

    I’m actually wondering if it wouldn’t be more restful to lose to Tampa and miss the playoffs entirely. Does that make me a bad Saints fan?

    • The Angry Who Dat December 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      There are no bad fans. At the risk of generalizing a bit, right now there are 3 types of Saints fans:

      1. Delusional optimists

      2. Depressed fatalists

      3. Really inventive depressed fatalists who visit their horrifying creations upon other people’s comment sections

  3. Steve Renner December 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I’m gonna guess we’re about the same age. I am 34, and I grew up with many of the same era’s as you. (un)fortunately? I grew up outside of the New Orleans TV market and until 2001 when I got Sunday Ticket, I wasn’t able to watch week in and week out. So some of my bitter youth games are specific to games that were on national TV.

    My favorite memories are beating the Rams on the last game of the season to earn a playoff spot and demolishing the Raiders on MNF in the Superdome. While my bitterness stems from playoff losses to Atlanta and Philadelphia specifically in the 1991-1992 time frame.

    But one thing I have come to understand is that the pain or joy is based on what we expect or make of situations.

    Ever since Hakim Dropped the Ball a Saints fan measure of failure has changed. And I think it started with week 15 of 2002. The 2002 season was mentioned quite a bit on twitter this morning and I had forgotten about weeks 15 and 16. All we needed was one win against two bad teams (Minnesota and Cincinnati). We laid eggs. We laid eggs in what would become the new way to lay eggs for the post-WillieJacksonsCareerDay Saints. Give up a ton of points with a bad defense at home to a bad team (Min) and get whopped on the road in an outdoor game against a bad team (Cin).

    Seriously. That trend has continued every since then… So lets go back to the St. Louis game. Did you not see that coming? Especially in St. Louis? We’ve seen that before. It feels like hundreds of times now in the past decade. That game was a loss back in April, just as much as losing at Arizona in 2010 was a loss in April. It’s so bad, I have a friend who will call me up when the schedule is out and say “Hey, I have your Arizona Cardinals game this year”.

    Anyways. My point is this. Yesterday sucked to me for these reasons.

    1. F**** We have a legit defense and a legit rookie and he gets hurt. That sucks. Big time. The two worst kinds of injuries in sports are a) rookies and b) that top free agent.

    and…

    2. The Cam Newton love. Move over Matt Ryan, there’s a new “crowned” young QB in the south. What the **** did Cam Newton do yesterday? Zero. Here’s what he did. He joined the likes of Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck, Josh Freeman and Max Hall. Guys who have found ways to beat the Saints backup CB’s or torch Roman Harper over the middle … or avoid all out blitzes by Malcolm Jenkins.

    That’s what really stings. Why am I not upset about the loss? Because I have felt this team is a 10 or 11 win team all season. Especially now without Greer or KV.

    The offensive line is below average. The Armstead move appears specifically designed with 2014 in mind. They clearly think this kid is their future at either LT or RT and will judge his performance based on rookie standards. They plugged Nicks into the lineup midway through 2008 and never looked back. They’re hoping they can do the same here. Time will tell. Don’t view that with this year in mind, view it with next year in mind.

    There is no vertical threat on offense. Kenny Stills is nice, but he’s basically just proven that he will take Lance Moore’s spot. Who, quite frankly I would rather see benched than Nick Toon at this point. At least Toon has some size. Moore’s good hands mean nothing if he cannot get open. And we can’t block well enough to return a punt so just put someone back there to take a fair catch and run away from it as it is if Sproles cannot go.

    Losing and missing out on the playoffs is NOT an option. I never take for granted an opportunity to watch the Saints play and after missing the playoffs so many times, I never take for granted the chance to play an extra game.

    The Saints would be an underdog in my eyes against anyone at this point. And that is just the eye test based on who they would have on the field and how they have played. That does not mean that this is a 6-10 talent team. They’re still 10-12 wins. But the measuring stick got adjusted in 2009 and then got blown out of proportion in 2011 IMO.

    I think many Saints fans who went through so many Quarterbacks are afraid to come out and say what the real fear is. Our real fear is not getting as many Championship shots as we can while we have the best Quarterback we have ever had… With one of the best 3 WR we have ever had and the best TE we have ever had at the same time. The idea of playing a Super Bowl in New York is so stupid and dumb that we wouldn’t mind skipping it, except that it takes another year away. That’s the x-factor when measuring the pain and suffering. Whether or not we know it is coming.

    Saints 34, Bucs 7

    Eagles 33, Saints 31

    • The Angry Who Dat December 23, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      I’m 31, I don’t remember the Rams game you speak of but I do remember Atlanta/Philly. My first game in the Dome was MNF vs. the Redskins, I think ’92. Agree with most of that, the bar has RIGHTFULLY been raised because this team is and should be better than one-and-done. But yes, on the road in the playoffs we are an underdog to anyone we face. A playoff win on the road would be a success at this point and I’d enjoy the hell out of it but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

      As for that last paragraph, spot on. Perfect.

  4. Bradley December 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    “You and Zoe must have been in situations like this before.”

    “Many a time!”

    “Many a time, you and Zoe!”

    Football is a bullshit game where crazy shit happens. It’s also pretty fun. I’m going to enjoy it even though that means I’m open to getting another gut punch that leaves me passed out in a dark room alone, because why the hell not.

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