There's a saying around football that goes something like this:
"It's never as good as you think, and it's never as bad as you think."
I think, in our broken hearts, we have to remember that saying. For all the bad that occurred yesterday, there was a lot of good. For all the good that happened yesterday, there was also a lot of bad.
Take the jump with me and I'll elaborate more on the matter.
This team, for whatever reason, sure loves to tease us. We were down late in the game. We as fans had pretty much mailed it in.
But then the Falcons came roaring back, giving us that hope that so many of us refuse to have, due to so many letdowns. We flew down the field with two identical passes to HD, who was wide open on both plays. We eventually stalled out, which included a run with ~25 seconds to go and no timeouts, which blew my mind. We lost, what, 10 seconds off the clock? That's two pass plays. Two potential game winning touchdown chances. But we still made it to overtime.
I don't blame Smitty for going for it on 4th down. His reasoning behind it was certainly understandable and, while he took full responsibility for it, that wasn't the reason we lost.
I think, and this is just my opinion, that fans are too quick to judge coaches for being "dumb" or what have you. It's easy to play Armchair GM when something goes wrong. Of course you wouldn't have called that play! It failed right in front of your eyes! Clearly, the coach is a moron because he called a stupid play that failed.
See where I'm going? Yeah, we can blame coaching to an extent for this particular instance. We're still a run-first team (if we want to succeed) but no Turner in OT? What's up with that?
Naturally, there are those who will call it stupid and be done with it, but try looking at it from a coach's perspective. Try wearing their shoes for a moment.
At the end of regulation, we berserked down the field with an set of quick passes. We had the Saints totally unprepared, fooled, on their heels, etc. We then ended the game with a few meager passing attempts (which failed) and settled for a chip shot field goal.
Not five minutes later, we were receiving the ball for OT. Now, we just passed all over them to tie the game. They haven't had much of a chance to regroup, so why not try again?
They tried again, and it failed (Cox had the first down, if you ask me) but that's neither here nor there. The choice that they picked was the wrong one. I would've run a QB sneak, but the way the line was blown off the ball, I don't know that a sneak would've even worked.
Perhaps they had enough time to regroup, or perhaps we didn't want to run the same passing patterns again for fear of a turnover. Who knows. Whatever the case, it didn't work.
Of course, hindsight always paints a different picture. Had it worked and we'd won the game, we'd be praising the cojones of Smitty. And to be fair to him, the Saints rush D isn't that great, so why wouldn't you expect to get 6 inches with your workhorse back? We were one of the best 4th and 1 teams last year, and we'd converted a 4th down already in the game. They did their job, we didn't. That's about what it boils down to. If you want to get upset at someone, either pick Mularkey or the entire OL, because they were outmanned, and I would've tried a wee bit more trickery with the game on the line like that. I also don't know who in the hell ordered 1) Turner to not run in OT until 4th down and 2) that run at the end of regulation, but whoever did should be slapped. Mularkey, Smitty, Matty, whoever did it.
I thought Matty played a pretty good game. He had several drops that could've changed the course of the game in our favor (as did the Saints, to be fair) but I thought he played well for the most part. I think we can give up on an accurate deep ball from him, but his intermediate game is as good as anyone's.
Look, I know we lost. I'm sad about it too, but think about how awful we played, and then realize we lost by a field goal in overtime. I know Saints/Falcons are always close, fantastic games, but we can hang with them. We DID hang with them. The Saints, regardless of your personal opinion of them, are a good team, and we had every chance to beat them.
This might sound funny coming from me, but keep the faith, guys. We might not make it to the playoffs this year, but I still believe in this team. We've lost to some good teams this year, and this last team we lost to, we took them right to the wire. Is it reasonable to expect better? Absolutely, but whatever the team's deal is, we have to weather it, just like they do. Hopefully Julio can come back fully healthy, too. Losing him was huge.
Not gonna do good/bad/ugly this time. I'm still somewhat saddened by what I witnessed yesterday. But I still believe in these guys. We just have to weather the storm right now. I think the team still has some pretty major issues they need to iron out, namely the replacement of the two coordinators.
I don't think either of them have done a particularly terrible job, but I am tired of seeing the same thing week in and week out. We need some fresh faces in the coaching staff and, unfortunately, that won't happen until the offseason. In any case, let's regroup and get back to the team we love.