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Saints head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. (Associated Press)<br>

Saints head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. (Associated Press)

Gazzolo Column: All hope is not lost for Saints

Last Modified: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 7:45 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Before you jump off the Interstate 10 bridge, Saints fans, or at least your team’s bandwagon, remember all is not lost.

Yes, Monday night’s game in Seattle was a humbling experience for all who said this team could win on the road.

And, yes, after the game quarterback Drew Brees sounded like a man trying to convince himself that things were still fine when he rattled off the Saints’ road record since 2009.

He did forget to mention the franchise is 0-5 all time in playoff games played outside the Superdome, but let us not nitpick.

Brees didn’t need to do that. He sounded more like somebody searching for hope instead of offering it to the masses.

What Brees should have done, and what the Saints fans now must do, is point to the recent past of NFL history.

Maybe they have forgotten that two years ago, during Thanksgiving week, the Saints embarrassed the New York Giants in prime time the same way the Seahawks embarrassed them three days ago.

New Orleans won that night 49-24 in a game that didn’t even seem that close.

The Saints ran around and threw over the Giants so much that just about everybody who was watching proclaimed New Orleans ready for the Super Bowl.

At the same time they all said the Giants were dead.

No way could the Giants win in the playoffs even if they made it. No way could they go to New Orleans and win a game. No way.

Well, the Giants never had to go back to the Big Easy.

And the Saints, they won a playoff game but lost in the second round when they could not tackle in San Francisco.

New Orleans’ season came to an end when the 49ers rallied not once but twice in the fourth quarter to beat them.

As for those Giants whose season was supposed to be over Nov. 28 in New Orleans, they not only went on to beat San Francisco to capture the NFC title, they followed that with a win in the Super Bowl over New England.

So much for being pronounced dead early.

Fact is the Saints still have lots of chances left to prove worthy of a world title.

Their regular season really comes down to the next three weeks. There is the home-and-home with the Carolina Panthers that will go a long way in deciding the NFC South championship and a road game in St. Louis.

Three of their last four games will be played inside, where the Saints are 7-0 this season.

Even if they don’t win the division, they could end up as a wild card and play their playoff opener inside in Detroit.

True, it would be hard to see the Saints winning in Seattle if they have to go back there, but it’s hard to see anybody doing so. Yet upsets happen.

It is not the best team in the playoffs that often advances but rather the team that plays the best.

Green Bay, Pittsburgh and the Giants are three teams to have won championships recently despite not hosting playoff games.

The Saints can do the same no matter where they are sent.

But we also learned this week that they can be beaten as well, and beaten badly.

The NFL really isn’t about how good you are but how good you play. On Monday night Seattle played very good, the Saints did not.

It won’t take long for us to tell if that was an aberration or a trend.

Carolina comes calling Sunday night with the division lead on the line.

It’s another chance for the Saints to make a statement.

Let’s hope afterward we don’t have to hear more excuses from Brees.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at jgazzolo@americanpress.com

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