Hey you! Who said that?Cha-ching! What, me worry?

Maybe it's just me, but I'd have expected a hell of a lot more #wegotthis after a second straight road win, outdoors in snowy northern Kentucky, in which the Saints had 5 plays of 40+ yards including two touchdowns of 50+, had 146 rushing yards at 6.6 yards per, gained an average of 8.2 yards per offensive play, had 3 sacks and a balls-of-steel goalline stand, scored 4 offensive touchdowns (2 passing and 2 rushing) and extended their winning streak to 5 games with yet another 4th quarter comeback (their 2nd straight, both on the road) over a team that was 2-9, sure, but who had lost 6 of those 9 by margins of 8 points or fewer.

What the hell is the problem? Was it the 11 penalties for 100 yards? It was Jeff Triplett's crew. Was it the kick returns? Y'all do realize that Bernard Scott is currently 7th in the league in kick return yards, right? (Not that I'm excusing it, his season average is 23 and he averaged 33 Sunday. All I'm pointing out is that this guy isn't exactly a chump.) Was it the offense going 1-for-8 on 3rd down? Okay, you win this round, asshole. They still scored 34 fuckin' points.

Look, I'm not gonna sit here and try to convince you that it wasn't a relatively "ugly" win, or that it was one of the Saints' better performances of the season. It wasn't. If the Saints want to beat themselves up about it (and apparently they do, that's all they've been doing since Sunday afternoon) then more power to them. That's probably the right attitude for them to take.

But I'm sure as hell not gonna beat them up about it. For crying out loud, it was the Saints' first cold-weather game in a full calendar year, and only their second or third in two full calendar years. We all know full well that the Saints aren't built for that. It was their second straight road game, it was on the back end of yet another spate of funky scheduling, and if you'll indulge me in a little mainstream media/message board hackery, it was "the Bengals' Super Bowl."

Hell, just last year, this was "the kind of game the Saints never win." Even these Sean Payton/Drew Brees Saints. Can't win in the cold. Can't handle being "the hunted." And on and on like that. Now all of a sudden this year, the Saints "shoulda blown 'em out" on the road in freezing temps? It's the fuckin' NFL. In a given year, there are only 2 or 3 bonafide patsies in the whole damn league. This year, there might only be one. And it ain't Cincinnati.

Call it an "ugly win" if you want. I choose to call it (yet another) "kind of game that Champions win."

Lots of people are calling it "luck" that Sims got froggy on 4th & 2 at the Bengals' 7 with 34 seconds left to give the Saints a 1st & goal on the 3 when "everybody in the stadium knew they weren't gonna snap it." To that, I say no sir. Fuck that noise. That's not luck, that's Championship Football. That jump offside has been five years in the making.

Drew Brees said it best, it worked because it was a "realistic situation." Because you can't put it past Sean Payton to run a play there. He's done crazier/ballsier shit than that over the last 5 years, with a fair degree of regularity. You know that he has 100% confidence in his quarterback, and his offense in general. You know he's got a handful of tricks up his sleeve for precisely this kind of situation. You know that Drew has carte blanche to audible into something if he sees something at the line, regardless of the original call. You know that Chris Ivory has been tearing your ass up all day long. You know that the Saints would probably prefer not to put the game on Hartley's leg, and that the Saints might not win the OT coin toss.

Hell, why wouldn't Sims jump? I sure as hell jumped. Because, while maybe everybody else in the world "knew" that they weren't gonna snap the ball there, I was pretty sure they were gonna.

Why? Precisely because everybody else in the world "knew" it was a "no-brainer" that they wouldn't. Because it would have been fuckin' crazy. Because I just knew that Sean Payton had something fuckin' insane saved up for exactly this situation.

Sims jumped because of the rep the Saints have earned over the last 5 years. Because you never know what the hell they're gonna pull out of their ass at any moment, in any situation. Even a "no-brainer." Sean Payton doesn't know the meaning of "no-brainer."

Luck? The Saints got the ball back down by 3 with 4:20 remaining. The Saints proceeded to run the ball twice in a row. Then Drew hit Pontchartrain Meach for yet another 40+ pass play to set the whole thing up in the first place. Then, on 4th down, instead of just kicking the ball to (theoretically) go into overtime like any normal coach would do, Sean Payton rolled the dice. Knowing that it was a long shot, but at the same time, knowing that there was zero downside to giving it a shot. Worse comes to worst, take the 5 and kick it anyway. Knowing the opponent, and their penchant for "dumb mistakes." Self-scouting, knowing that the Bengals' defense wouldn't (and shouldn't) take it as a "no-brainer" that the Saints wouldn't go for broke there.

And then the execution. The motion. The (fake) audiblizing and/or (fake) confusion with where Dave Thomas should have been lined up, selling the hell out of the notion that they were actually gonna run a play. The best hard count in the league. Nicks' heads up jump. Sims hadn't made contact. Nicks doesn't jump, no penalty, and it (theoretically) goes to OT.

Luck? Hell no. The Saints had to do about 15 different things exactly right for that to actually work. And they did all of 'em flawlessly. At precisely the right time, when they needed it the most. That's Championship Football. They outhought 'em, outmaneuvered 'em, outexecuted 'em. It was fuckin' sublime. Quite possibly one of the three or four most badass "chess match" moves of the Payton/Brees Era.

And, just sayin', it wouldn't have worked if the last four years of Superdome Specials and Ambushes and tackle-eligibles and all that shit that drives you crazy hadn't set the stage for it.

Bottom line is that the Saints have won 5 straight, 2 straight on the road, have scored 30+ in four straight games, and oh by the way, have won their last two "cold weather games." Drew posted his highest passer rating of the season Sunday (120.3) and the Saints have put up 400+ offensive yards in each of the last four games. They've rushed for 100+ in three of their last four games.

Don't look now, but Ironbutt is currently 20th in the league in rushing yards. And his yards per carry (5.2) is better than all but one of the 19 guys ahead of him. (Jamaal Charles, KC, 6.2 ypc) 31.7% of his runs are for first downs, best in the league among guys who have more than a handful (60+) of carries. He needs 157 rushing yards the rest of the way to exceed Pierre's career high, and become the Saints' single most productive rusher since Dulymus in 2006. He might very well get those 157 yards this weekend against St. Louis.

Meantime, when a guy's running for 7.8 yards per carry and has a 55-yard touchdown run, there's naturally gonna be a little second-guessing when that guy ends up with only 15 carries on the game. Especially when you've got a two-touchdown lead on the road in the cold, the opponent clearly has no answer for your guy, and instead of continuing to hammer them with the guy who's kicking their asses, you give Reggie Bush 5 carries. Five!

Here's my take on that. Ultimately, Ivory's still a rookie. He's already got 123 carries this season. In college, he never had more than 60 carries in a season. He hasn't really had the benefit of a whole lot of NFL conditioning yet. And he's still got 7 or 8 games left (high five!) this season. As the starter, as "The Guy"

Because Ivory is in fact "The Guy" now, we all agree on that, right? Damn right.

But you've gotta protect him, because you're already WAY into uncharted territory with him. His running style lends itself to injury already. His workload is already way beyond what it was in college. And while obviously I don't see the practices, it wouldn't surprise me if they've determined in practice that after a certain number of reps, you've gotta pull him and let him recharge. Press the issue, and ball security becomes more of an issue because he's running out of gas. Let alone the increased potential for injury and possibly a relative lack of effectiveness if he's huffing and puffing and dragging ass after a certain amount of action.

That's nothing more than speculation on my part, and it's certainly not intended to be any slight on Ivory. It's not his fault that he's a rookie being asked to carry a workload far beyond anything he's been tasked with before. (And doing a damn fine job of it, by the way.) I'm just saying that, for now, there's probably a method to the madness of not running him 10-12 carries in a row to protect a lead. He ain't Dulymus. Yet. Not just yet. Hopefully when we revisit this issue next month, Ivory will have turned it into a whole other thing. Hell, he's already started to.

Meanwhile, the good news is that you don't have to push your luck with it right now. Because, don't look now, but Reggie doubled his season total for rushing yards Sunday. Doubled! And then some! Five rushes for 26 yards, bitches! REG-GIE! REG-GIE! REG-GIE! Eat that, haters!

More tomorrow. Maybe. I feel like I'm not quite finished yet, but….

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