7-9 and a sweep of the Falcons is not such a bad year, really. (Hey, we totally called it this year. Yay!) Thank you, Matt Ryan. You are our favorite Matt Ryan ever. Seriously, though. It wasn't that bad. Here's the quick look back.
Yes, the Saints started 0-3. But remember, they weren't particularly ready to go in Week One; still figuring out the roster, not sure who was even going to call the plays, even. Then they quarterback got hurt in Week Two, which is kind of a problem for most teams but especially for this one. Nevertheless the back-up quarterback came very close to beating the Panthers in Charlotte the next week while Drew Brees played some psychotic pantomime all day on the sideline. It was really entertaining.
Anyway, after that happened the Saints beat the Cowboys at home on Sunday Night. In overtime. On an 80 yard touchdown pass. We thought that was pretty cool, anyway. And sure they broke down pretty badly in Philadelphia the next week. But right after that, this happened.
That's Rich Mauti's kid going full Gleason on the, then undefeated, Atlanta Falcons during a primetime game in the Superdome. The Falcons never recovered from that. We thought it was fun.
Then there was a mostly impressive road win in Indianapolis before we got to watch Drew Brees throw seven touchdowns in one of the craziest shootouts we'll ever see in the dome vs. homeboys Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. We thought it was fun, anyway. After our heart started pumping again.
The next week we got to see this.
gifs via Gambit
And we thought that was pretty interesting too. Then Rob Ryan was set free and we all took a moment to grieve. A few weeks later, the Saints almost beat the Panthers again.
After that, we all stopped worrying about playoffs or anything. But it was nice to see Tim Hightower make his comeback. It was also nice to see Brandin Cooks gain 1000 yards for the first time in his career. It was almost nice to see Willie Snead almost do the same. Other things happened along the way which were fun.
Brandon Browner was a character. He also very much wants to be a Seahawk again. Maybe we can make that happen.
The Bensons were and are still a soap opera.
Some people brought a cat to a game.
The Saints lost to each of the two quarterbacks picked first and second in the draft this year.
Drew Brees, despite having lost his top three receivers from the previous season, turned in one of the finest performances of his career. 4870 yards and 32 touchdowns while having missed one whole game with a bum shoulder, having played parts of other games while the shoulder was still healing, and then playing the final two games on a bad foot is impressive enough.
But it's the 11 interceptions (fewest since 2009) that really stand out. There were stretches in recent years when it felt like at least one very bad Brees interception was inevitable every week. It didn't feel like that at all this year despite Brees being asked to personally carry the team more than ever. The numbers and the win total may not say so, but 2015 might have been Brees's best and most valuable year as Saint, personally. Yet there are people who think it's time for him to go. Football fans are weird.
Sean Payton may or many not come back to coach the team next year. We've argued all season long that the Saints have been in the process of a two-year rebuilding project so it would be disappointing if he didn't come back to finish the job. On the other hand, we've also argued that it's possible Payton really is just totally burned out, in which case, well.. bye. If he comes back, there's a case to be made that the team is really not that far off from contending again but that's for another time. It's going to be an interesting few weeks.
In any case, this has been a fun football season. It may not have been what we all would have wanted most, but it's far better than the many many worse years times we've witnessed. So we'll take it and we'll be back next year to take it some more. But maybe it would soften the blow a bit if we could do something about that Benson statue in the meantime....