"Like mama used to say… it beez dat way sometimes. Have mercy!" ~Iceman King Parsons

Welp. Some days you're Ferris, and some days you're Rooney. From very early on Sunday afternoon, it just felt like it was gonna be one of those Rooney type days. No matter how much you're onto him, no matter how pegged you've got the whole situation, no matter how close you get to blowing the whole thing up and serving sweet justice, unfortunate circumstances and the occasional self-defeating ploy just repeatedly kick you in the face all day long while that slippery little bastard saunters his way into escape after narrow escape with a smug grin and a clever quip. Without a care in the world, he fucks up over and over again and comes out smelling like a rose anyway, while you keep getting boned right in the ass just when you think you've finally gotten the upper hand. And it just eats you up inside. Angrys up the blood.

Being as it had been one year, eight months and 29 days since the Saints had suffered their most recent Rooney day, I had almost forgotten how hypercritical we Saints fans can be after such a brutally frustrating gameday experience.

Suddenly, based on the results of those last two offensive possessions, Sean Payton is either recklessly bold (in calling the throw to Colston on third down rather than running the ball and the clock) or uncharacteristically timid (in running the ball on five of the last six offensive plays from scrimmage rather than "stepping on their throats" in his typically aggressive manner through the air) or just plain batshit crazy (in calling a naked bootleg on third down on the final possession) depending on who you listen to. Hell, according to some people, it was equal parts of both. It was one thing on one down and the other thing on the next down.

He was either arrogant in allowing Brady to have the ball back, overconfident in the ability of the defense to come to the rescue for a third consecutive time, or he was inexplicably too "scared" to put the ball in the hands of his best player and trust him to secure the win, opting instead for "coaching not to lose." Or both. Again, depending on who you listen to.

Suddenly, Rob Ryan's defense has been exposed as fraudulent, or clearly they're at least regressing to the mean after a hot start. And Ryan himself suffered an acute case of shriveled balls and did the one thing you NEVER DO, he called the dreaded pree-vent dee-fense! You know, the one that pree-vents you from winning? A real man would have said "to hell with situational football" and brought the house there or something similarly "ballsy" because that always worked out great for Gregg Williams, right?

Suddenly Jabari Greer has attained, if not full-blown Jason David status, at least Washed-Up Fred Thomas status. Suddenly the 6-foot-7, 260 pound monster who still leads the league in receiving yards  is either "too soft" or "wasn't really trying" or has "too big a role in the offense these days" or has been "figured out" or some other such nonsense. Suddenly the Saints don't have any wideouts and/or Drew Brees has lost the ability to consistently get the ball to anybody but Graham or Sproles.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was just one of those Rooney days. The kind that happen to every team every now and then, even good/great ones. Usually somewhat more frequently than once every 638 days, at that. (Or "twice in the last seven games!" if you prefer to be a perpetually-miserable asshole.)

Which isn't to say that the (hyper-)criticisms of pretty much everything and everybody in the wake of one heartbreaking loss on one particular day aren't at least somewhat valid, because they are. Most of them, anyway. To varying degrees. Of course they're not perfect, there's not a perfect team in the league right now. Not even the mighty Broncos or Seahawks.

I don't know why the hell everybody's so scared of Seattle. Fuck them. They pretty much kicked the asses of the now 3-4 Cardinals, but before that, they had struggled in their last three games. The 2-4 Texans took them to overtime, for crying out loud. Houston had already started its freefall (after winning their first two games by 3 and 4 against a couple of mediocre teams, San Diego and Tennessee, Houston could easily be 0-6 right now) and we all remember Schaub handing them that game on a silver platter with a late pick-six. But until then, Houston had them beaten. Russell Wilson was 12-23 for 132 passing yards and an INT. Seattle fumbled three times (losing one.) Then in their second consecutive road game they lost a close one to a good Colts team (say, sound familiar?) Then they struggled to beat a mediocre Titans team… at home! Wait, aren't the Seahawks supposed to win every home game by 35? They also struggled to a 5-point win in week 1 against mediocre Carolina.

Their only "impressive" win was a 29-3 home win against San Francisco in week 2. (Because a 45-17 home win against Jacksonville State is not in any way "impressive.") Otherwise, they've just been getting by. Three of their six wins have been "closer than you'd have expected" wins against mediocre to crappy teams, and a fourth was at home against the fuckin' Jaguars. Russell Wilson has had two games with fewer than 150 passing yards. They've turned the ball over more than once in five of their seven games. Going into Thursday night's game, their point differential was +63. The Saints' currently stands at +58.

They're good, but they aren't some kind of unstoppable juggernaut. They aren't even significantly better than the Saints, if at all.

Who else are you scared of right at the moment? 4-2 San Francisco? Fuck them too. A 6-point home win in week 1 against a mediocre Green Bay team, and three other wins against the murderer's row of St. Louis, Houston and Arizona. They've only played two "good" teams so far, Indy and Seattle, and they got their asses kicked both times. They're 23rd in total offense, 30th in passing offense, have turned the ball over 11 times (to 13 takeaways) and their point differential is +27.

The Bears? Yawn. Three of their four wins have been a one-point home win over 1-4 Minnesota, against 1-4 Pittsburgh, and against the 0-6 Giants. Their only non-garbage win was a 3-point home win in week 1 against 4-2 Cincinnati. The Saints have already beaten them in their own house and they also lost to Detroit. Their point differential is a paltry +11, their defense is terrible and they're mediocre in every other way. They could easily be 2-4 right now. Also, they're a bunch of pricks. Fuck everything about the Bears. Always and forever.

Detroit? They lost to Arizona, for crying out loud. Their most "impressive" win was an 8-point home win against Chicago. Their other wins were against 1-4 Minnesota, 1-4 Washington, and Cleveland, who had themselves a nice little post-Richardson 3-game win streak (with two of those being against 1-4 Minnesota and 2-4 Buffalo) but the reason everybody was so surprised and impressed by that little streak is because Cleveland sucks and everybody knows it. Detroit's defense sucks across the board, and for an offense featuring Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and The Great Reggie Bush, you'd think they'd be a little better than 9th in total offense and 7th in scoring offense.

Dallas? They're 3-3, and to their credit, two of those losses were a one-point road loss to unbeaten Kansas City and a 3-point "moral victory" against the mighty Broncos. Their other loss was to a mediocre San Diego team, but it was on the road. But it's not the loss column, it's the win column. Two of their three wins were against the 0-6 Giants and 1-4 Washington. The "best" team they've beaten is 3-3 St. Louis. 

Packers, Eagles, Rams… meh, you get the point. All these teams are average-to-good, and they're all flawed. They've all had upsetting losses that their fans think they "shoulda" won.

Even Seattle, who had the Colts beaten in Indy until they got outscored 11-0 in the fourth quarter and lost by 6. Ouch. You think Seahawks fans weren't every bit as pissed about that as we are/were about the loss to the Patriots? Possibly even moreso, because Seattle's defense is supposed to be the best thing in the history of ever, and they straight got their asses kicked "when it counted." 

Subjectively, I'd assert that while they were similar, and the margin is small, the Saints' loss was "better" than the Seahawks' loss. And I'd also assert that (again, while close) the Saints' wins have been "better" than Seattle's too. Tampa would kick Jacksonville's ass, Atlanta would kick Houston's ass, and Miami would kick Tennessee's ass. We'll call Chicago and San Francisco a wash. And the lone common opponent so far is Arizona. Seattle beat them by 12 on the road, and the Saints beat them by 24 at home.

So you'll just have to pardon me if the loss to the Patriots didn't exactly crush my soul. Oh it stung, don't get me wrong. There's no denying that it was one hell of a missed opportunity, and there's also no denying that come January, all that's gonna matter is the numbers in the win and loss columns. No such thing as a moral victory, all that good shit. What would crush my soul would be having to agree with Jeff Duncan, so I'll go with the far more palatable option and agree with our pal Bradley Handwerger instead. Nothing about what happened Sunday changed jack shit. To the contrary, it just reinforced the notion that the Saints are — at worst — 1b in the NFC right about now.

Sean Payton didn't just forget how to coach Sunday afternoon, for crying out loud. Nor did he turn into Andy Reid or Mike Smith or anything like that. He's just not perfect is all. He was in one hell of a rock/hard-place situation on those last two drives, and that can (and does) fuck with even the best of 'em from time to time. Just ask Belichick, who made his own share of questionable decisions Sunday. It happens. And Payton didn't even do anything particularly egregious Sunday. Second-guessable? Of course, as always. But nothing particularly "stupid" or even out-of-character really. And anybody who claims Payton "shoulda known better" (like they knew better, of course) is full of shit.

Rob Ryan didn't just lose his balls on that last drive. There's a reason the dreaded pree-vent dee-fense is in every single playbook in the league, and there's a reason why coaches continue to call it even though it occasionally backfires spectacularly. Because despite the ubiquitous football trope, it serves a purpose in precisely that kind of situation. And more often than not, it pree-vents the opponent from winning. Sure, every now and then it backfires, and that's all people remember, but they too are full of shit.

The Saints defense didn't get "exposed" Sunday any more than Seattle's did in Indy. Drew Brees hasn't suddenly forgotten that he has other weapons at his disposal besides Graham and Sproles. Jabari Greer isn't suddenly a Jason David-esque liability.

And Jimmy Graham isn't "soft" for fuck's sake. Where in the blue hell did that come from? What have you been watching while he gets repeatedly brutalized on a weekly basis and bounces right back up? Dude takes more punishment than a tailback, for crying out loud. And yet, even after having been shut completely out (for precisely one game) he still leads the league in receiving yards. As a tight end! Soft?!?

It was just one of those Rooney days. And they happen to everybody. Everybody. Sooner or later the Broncos and Chiefs will have theirs too, just like everybody has since 1972. Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked. That's just how it works.

Meantime, I suppose if the hypercriticism makes you feel better, then more power to ya, I guess. Have fun with all that. Or something. Me? I love this team a hell of a lot more this week than I did last week. Because they deserve it. The #wegotthis is stronger than ever. Why the hell wouldn't it be? As our friend Reid so eloquently pointed out, these days it takes about nine separate misfortunes for the Saints to even lose.

Life moves pretty fast (in this league.) If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Don't let your thirst for perfection, and your dismay over its inherent unattainability, make you miss this. Stop and take a look around. Because the rest of us are still having a hell of a lot of fun over here, and there's no indication that the fun is about to stop any time soon. Who's gonna stop it, Jeannie Shauna?

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