Somehow, some way, the Saints are still alive
Lately, I’ve been thinking about Oscar-winning actor Gary Oldman.
You know him. Oldman was Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films (and is featured prominently in the recent Harry Potter HBO documentary), as well as anti-James Bond super secret agent George Smiley in the incredible and oft-overlooked spy thriller, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Exactly what you expected to read in a Saints column, right?
On the heels of the Saints’ (8-8) 18-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers (5-11), the words of Oldman’s Commissioner Jim Gordon from The Dark Knight come to mind.
Taysom Hill may not be the QB we believe we deserve, but he’s the one we need right now. Against the Panthers’ stout defense, he threw for 222 yards and a TD, and added 45 more on the ground. It was enough for the win, and at this point, nothing else matters.
Hill is now 3-1 as a starter this season and has played consistently well enough to keep the Saints alive despite the unbelievable and unending rash of awful things that have happened to the Saints this season. That one loss was against the Cowboys, during which he suffered his Mallet finger injury. Throw it out. And had Hill not been placed on the COVID-19 list against the Dolphins, who knows what would’ve happened in that game.
Maybe Taysom isn’t the QB of the future for the Saints or any other team. But he’s the one we need right now, and he’s playing winning football. If he wins a playoff game, or even gets the team into the big dance, and he will forever have a place in Saints lore.
On the other side of the ball, we finally have a defense that is both the hero we deserve and the one we need right now. We certainly needed this defense during Drew Brees’ prime, but that’s an argument for Twitter.
The unit has been dominant lately, and through the last 3 games alone, Cam Jordan has 7.5 sacks. The man who had previously been the team’s best defender but was completely ineffective for most of 2021 has emerged from Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit just when the team needed him the most.
And now, because of Taysom and the defense (and Alvin Kamara and Sean Payton, of course), the Saints have a real shot of making the playoffs as we enter the final week of the regular season.
In week 18, they need two things to make the playoffs as the 7th and final Wildcard team. The first is to beat the lowly Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. The second is for the Los Angeles Rams to beat the San Francisco 49ers in LA, the former of which is playing for the NFC West title and the no. 2 overall seed.
What more could we ask for? We had no idea what to expect going in to the season. Then, for most of it, the super villains – injury luck, the league, the refs, bad teams like the Falcons and Giants – had the team on the ropes. Perhaps it’s time for the Saints to sneak into playoffs and have some good fortune of their own.