Roddy and friends finally find solution to Saints stigma.
From NFC title hero to big-time zero. He almost missed against San Francisco. It looked like another celebration in the Big Easy. Garrett Hartley from 29 yards. A chip shot, right? Think again. He shanked it wide left, the direction of his two misses against Minnesota. Garrett may need to phone Jackie Smith (Super Bowl XIII goat) because he could be the “Sickest man in America”. “Bless his heart”. I don’t think Sean Payton will be as kind to Hartley as Verne Lundquist (announcer who uttered the infamous phrase) was to Smith in 1979. “Garret, coach wants you in his office…”
The NFC South just took a u-turn. A complete 360, all on one kick. New Orleans went from being two games ahead of Atlanta, to now sharing a slot atop with the Birds. Falcons fans, you owe Garrett Hartley a Christmas gift.
Falcons 27, Saints 24 OT: Starring a one-of-a-kind choke job performance by Garrett Hartley. Aside from the choke job, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan were the story of the show, well, the supporting cast, if you consider Hartley the main actor. The two signal callers were just brilliant. Calmly they directed their respective teams all afternoon long with excellent precision and outstanding poise. Two cool leaders, two accurate arms, two QB’s that may meet down the road in January. This game had the atmosphere of a postseason affair, that’s for sure.
The game of the week lived up to its top billing. It actually exceeded the hype. In fact, that could be an understatement, when you look at how even these teams played each other. Expect for the time of possession part; where the Falcons held the ball more than one and half quarters longer than the Saints did. They ran off 26 more plays.
The NFL is a copycat league. If your Mike Smith you thank Mike Singletary for showing you the blueprint. As seen today, the way to beat the defending Super Bowl champs is to keep Brees off the field. Michael Turner ran the ball 30 times. Matt Ryan repeatedly led long, methodical scoring drives (9-80, 19-72, 11-63, 9-80, 12-52). Huge statement win for this bunch of birds. Maybe the NFC South isn’t a done thing. History surely shows us it isn’t -we haven’t seen a repeat winner since it was formed. Today shows us why you don’t go against history, it often repeats itself, something the Saints will not do if Hartley is the difference maker.
I don’t know if you can make a big deal out of one game, but what I do know is this: Keep Monday night open December 27th.