Week 15 – New Orleans @ Chicago: The Saints beat the ‘aints

Anybody out there remember the New Orleans ‘aints? Back in 1980, the Saints were so bad that fans took to wearing brown paper bags over their heads and calling the team “the ‘aints.”

That nickname is long gone; in fact a few years ago, Saints fans gave it a proper Treme style New Orleans funeral.

Unfortunately for Chicago Bears’ fans, the brown paper bag raised its ugly head on Monday night at Soldier Field after the woeful Bears put in another dreadful performance in a 31-15 loss to the Saints.

Quarterback Jay Cutler, who seems to be maligned by just about everyone besides his family (or has Mrs. Cutler jumped on the bandwagon?), had another horrible day, throwing three interceptions and getting sacked seven times. And he still has that sour face that so many fans and sportswriters hate.

Here’s a tweet that might explain how Chicagoans view their quarterback:

The Bears didn’t score until the fourth quarter, but at that point they were down 24-0. The Saints outgained them 443 yards to 278 and piled even more pressure on Cutler, head coach Marc Trestman and the entire Bears’ organization.

As for the Saints? Who needs colourful beads, Pat O’Briens’ hurricane drinks and the Superdome? That once mighty fortress has been unkind to its team this season, so to rectify things, Drew Brees and co. have become road warriors.

The Monday Night Football win was the Saints’ third consecutive away from home and slid them back into first place in the NFC South. It’s not much to brag about – a 6-8 record – but at least they’ve put themselves in a position to claim a playoff spot.

Two big games remain: Atlanta at home next week and Tampa Bay away in Week 17.

The Falcons clash could be for all the marbles, since 5-9 Atlanta won the prior meeting way back in Week 1 and a win next week would give them the tiebreaker.

It’s all a convoluted mess, with the winner – and 5-8-1 Carolina is not out of it yet either – gets to actually host a wild card weekend game against someone like Green Bay or Seattle.

Their were some good signs in the win over the Bears. Brees got back on track with a stellar performance, throwing for 375 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 29 of 36 passes.

Four different receivers caught five passes each, while tight end Josh Hill only caught two balls, but both were for touchdowns.

And yes, even the defense played well, admittedly against a team that is spending more time on vacation plans than offensive schemes.

The NFC South has taken a lot of hits this year – this writer included – but NFL rules say the winner gets to host a playoff game, regardless of record. Many of us expected the Saints to be an NFC title contender this season. Maybe they’re starting to play like it…or maybe this was just a win against the new ‘aints.

Dec 15
Soldier Field, Chicago IL (60,996)

New Orleans 0 14 10 7 – 31
Chicago 0 0 0 15 – 15

Passing: Drew Brees (NO), 375 yds, 3 TD’s
Rushing: Matt Forte (CHI), 16 car, 78 yds
Receiving: Jimmy Graham (NO), 5 rec, 87 yds
Pigskin Almanac “I’m Back, Baby” award: Drew Brees (NO)

About Ed Wyatt

Ed Wyatt grew up in Halfway, Maryland, following the Baltimore Colts like his football coach father. When he lost his Bert Jones #7 jersey at the Lincolnshire Elementary School playground, he should have taken it as an omen, since the Colts left Baltimore for Indianapolis. Ed has managed to avoid full time work by talking on the radio, smiling on the television and tapping on the keyboard of his computer. He won a number of local Emmy awards with the Seattle-based comedy show Almost Live! and hosted the Super Bowl live on Australian television for nine years. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

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