IT'S A COLUMBUS DAY MIRACLE!!! Who knew that was even a thing?

Let me see if I've got this straight. Lance Moore didn't play, Jimmy Graham was hobbled early and caught one pass for 4 yards, Saints tailbacks rushed for a whopping 55 yards at 2.9 per with a long of 8, Darren Sproles put up a mere 37 yards from scrimmage… and the Saints still put up 31 points? And won the fuckin' game? With the defense on the field at the end?!? Five sacks, including a sack-fumble to clinch the win, and a tag-team interception featuring Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper? Seriously? All that actually happened? I'd ask what planet I'm on, but I don't really care. I'm not sure that it really matters anymore. 1-0 in October, bitches! High five!

Just when you thought this thing couldn't possibly get any more bizarre… the last two weeks, it's as if the fuckin' cosmos itself has been doing anything and everything it possibly can to magically lift the Saints out of the pit of general-purpose shittiness they've been digging for themselves all season. Who'da figured that would ever happen? To us, anyway.

Clearly the cosmos thinks Roger is an asshole just like the rest of us do. It's the only logical explanation.

Hell, even the officials and the opponents themselves have been lending a huge helping hand to The Cause here lately. Obviously everybody hates Roger just that much.

I just don't know how else a sane person is to explain some of the stuff we've seen the last two weeks.

Late in the third quarter last week, Green Bay is at the Saints' 4 about to go up by two scores. 3rd & 3, Rodgers fails to hit Donald Driver for what seems like the first time all day. 4th down, hey, at least a field goal keeps the Saints within one score! Oh wait, Malcolm Jenkins killed and/or affected Rodgers's face. Sigh, of course he did. First down at the Saints' 2. Welp, it's been fun Wisconsin. And then the cosmos stepped in. 90 seconds later, Green Bay had given the ball back, and Joe Morgan(!!!) is catching(!!!) an 80-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints the lead. Wait, what???

Unfortunately, Neil deGrasse Tyson can talk all the shit he wants, but clearly the cosmos isn't omnipotent. There's only so much it can do when it's up against the cone of incompetence surrounding Scooter and the Spagheads. On some days it's strong enough to actually rip a hole the fabric of spacetime, which is kinda like punching the cosmos right in the dong. September 30 was one of those days. The suck was just too strong to be overcome. Not even the occasional photon could escape.

But this week, with a bunch of help from the Chargers, the officials and the magical presence of Drunk Sean Payton, by golly the cosmos managed to Do Its Job and put one in the win column for the Saints. Preciate the assist there, fellas.

Three minutes left in the third, Saints down 10, Drew throws a pick-six to put the Saints down three scores and basically flush whatever chance the Saints might have had at a comeback win right down the toilet. Only this time, it was Drew's face that was killed and/or affected. Way to take one for the team there, Drew. How long have we been waiting for Ingram to make a positive impact for the Saints? Might not have been the Ingram we were expecting, but I'll take it. Thanks, Melvin! Five plays, 2:39 and 68 yards later, the Saints are only down 3 rather than 17.

And then there was that final Chargers drive. First & 10, 85 yards to go and 2:51 to get there. And despite the Saints defense managing not to light themselves on fire for the last 24 minutes or so, you're full of shit if you claim you weren't just hoping the Chargers would tie it up quickly enough to leave Drew about a minute to take one last shot at it. 51 seconds later, the Chargers have already knocked out 40 of those 85 required yards and the ball is at the Saints' 45 at the two-minute warning. Because, of course. Hey, maybe they'll leave Drew some time on the clock after all. High five?

And then the cosmos stepped in once again. Three consecutive penalties on the Chargers after the two-minute warning. Problem is, at this point I'm wondering whether or not that's actually a good thing. Just more time off the clock, and it's not like they're gonna have much problem converting this here 2nd & 37. Part of me is actually wishing they hadn't "gifted" the Saints with that bullshit offensive pass interference on Gates. That's right, this really is what it's come to. Give me 1st & 10 at the Saints' 24 with 1:45 remaining, because at least there's a decent chance there will still be about a minute and a half left when the Chargers tie it up. But 2nd & 37 at their own 28? They might need all 1:40 to tie it up now. Shit!

Seriously, this is what it's come to.

Aaaaaand there we go. Hands to the face on Martez Wilson. Because, of course. Not that the Chargers really needed it, I mean it was only 2nd & 37 for crying out loud. And NOFD Engine 14's efforts to contain the recently re-ignited inferno in the defensive backfield were clearly failing. No sense in turning down a free first down though, I suppose. Damn you, Martevious! You've got 92 seconds to figure out some kind of way to redeem yourself, asshole! (Yeah, like there's a chance in hell that that's gonna happen.)

Four plays and 34 yards later, 1st & 10 on the Saints' 33 with 28 seconds left on the clock, and you just know what's coming. Don't even act like there was a doubt in your mind. The defense had already used up its allotment of relative non-shittiness for the evening, and the only chance the Saints had left to pull this thing out was gonna be riding on the flip of a coin. Win the toss, they've got a chance. Otherwise, well, you know how this movie ends.

And then the cosmos stepped in once again. If you're wondering where Martevious disappeared to immediately thereafter, he was sprinting down Poydras in a desperate attempt to make it to Harrah's before the mojo wore off.

I suppose I'm not giving the Saints enough credit here, but don't get me wrong. Drew was brilliant, of course. Not quite as brilliant as he was in Green Bay, but brilliant nonetheless. Marques Colston and Jack Hunt were beasting like it was 2009. Scooter even hit five consecutive kicks without missing one. Holy shit!

And I suppose the defense does deserve some measure of credit for "making the plays when we needed to!" managing to cobble together 24 minutes of relative competence that was just barely enough to avoid squandering it all. Um… high five. Or something.

We here at moosedenied are gonna have to go ahead and leave it to our friend the Angry Who Dat to do the rest of the back-patting and hard-selling of the notion that this defense is "making strides" and whatnot. I just don't have that in me, not yet anyway. I certainly hope AWD is right. And to a degree, I can buy into his incredibly amusing brand new proprietary advanced stat, PTOMAC™ (Points The Other Motherfuckers Actually Scored)

In a way, AWD makes a good point. But in another, more accurate way, he's full of shit.

Not that I don't tip my cap to him though, because I do. It can't be easy to maintain a level of shameless homerism that would make even Yours Truly blush. That's good stuff right there.

But it's easy to shout "Scoreboard, bitches!" Incredibly satisfying too, sure, especially when you've been waiting nine long months for the opportunity. And hey, for one night, incredibly satisfying will do just fine. Mighty fine.

But, as it relates to the defense anyway, "Scoreboard, bitches!" would ring a lot less hollow if they weren't allowing 30.8 points per game (29th in the league) and 456 yards of total offense per game (32nd) and 283.2 passing yards per game (29th) and 172.8 rushing yards per game (32nd) and if they'd produced more than 11 sacks and 8 takeaways through 5 games and if they weren't allowing opposing quarterbacks a combined passer rating of 110.2 and if the team weren't 1-4 despite the offense being 5th in the league in total offense and 7th in the league in scoring. Just sayin'.

Hey, perhaps at some point later this season, there will be fewer than 47 other stats which directly contradict PTOMAC, and more than one win in which the defense surrenders fewer than 27 points to support it. Fingers crossed.

Meantime, much as I hope that AWD is onto something (as opposed to just on something, not that there's anything wrong with that either) for now all legitimate indications are that our friend Hacksaw Butch Reid™ is right. This defense still blows. To a(n) historic degree. They don't reliably do anything well. And to whatever extent we heroic homers are able to manufacture for ourselves a perception of "steady progression" based on the last 2 or even 3 games, that can be almost exclusively attributed to the fact that Matt Cassel is terrible, and that for the last two weeks the Saints' 12th Man has been the fuckin' cosmos.

Don't get me wrong though, Sunday night was in fact a hell of a lot of fun. And I'll take 1-4 and lucky over 0-5 and good every time. But I'm gonna need to see a hell of a lot more before I'm willing to even entertain the notion that this defense has turned any kind of corner, or is even making any kind of progress beyond perhaps the occasional tenuous baby step.

Beer Goggles, brah. (Or Bourbon Goggles… even better. Or Win Goggles, even better yet.)

1-0 in October though. So we've got that going for us. Oh, and we've also got that sandwich dude, the one who's clearly no Johnny U. Word is he's arguably a potential borderline Hall Of Famer though, or something. Which is nice.

And hey, who knows? Maybe AWD will eventually turn out to have been right all along. I mean, if you go on his assumption that the defense will play like they did for 24 minutes Sunday night from here on out, sky's the limit, right? Maybe 12-4 isn't a completely ridiculous notion after all. (Just mostly ridiculous. Sorry, but at this point I just can't in good conscience go any higher than 11-5. I mean, at some point you've gotta be realistic, right?)

Meantime, let's go waaaay out on a limb here and assume 12-4/11-5 just ain't happening this season. Welp, it's not like all that much has changed from a week or two ago. It's still a "reloading" season that was straight fucked right from the jump anyway, right? Been through worse. Much worse.

Sure, it's easy to get swept up into all those good weird feelings of the old days coming off a record-setting home win in primetime with Mickey Loomis and (Drunk) Sean Payton in the house. And damn satisfying, for sure. Good times. I'll take it.

But we'd already resigned ourselves to the grim reality that rebuilding this here defense was gonna be a far bigger project than we had hoped it might be, no? And to that end, what really does my heart good right about now are the indications that lately Spags seems increasingly willing to throw a bunch of shit at the wall to see what sticks. I mean, you might as well, right?

Give me Martevious. Give me Akiem Hicks. Give me Junior. Give me Tom Johnson. Give me Isa Abdul-Quddus, bitches!

I've been jonesing to drop a "Blinded by the light, revved up like Quddus, another runner in the night." post on your asses anyway.

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