When you toss a coin, you have two possible outcomes. We are taught in probability, over the course of tosses, 50% of them will be one side and 50% the other. With no bias, chance is random. We know football isn’t necessarily “random” – many factors go into each game. And we know that over the course of flipping that coin, you might have a decent stretch of flips where you continually land on one side or the other, or a group of times where the percentage is several ticks higher or lower than 50%. But often randomness is a watchword – “Any Given Sunday”. The New Orleans Saints may have been on the bad side of that coin toss for a good while, and maybe it was just time for the flip to land their way.
How else can one describe the turn of events in the 4th quarter in which the Saints, down 13 points with less than seven minutes to play, end up winning this game by one point? Some will point to the Saints’ more aggressive defensive stance in the second half of the game. Others will point to a ground game that showed some promise and arguably the best offensive line performance of the year. These things are true. But ultimately, it seems it was just the Black and Gold’s turn to win…
As the fourth quarter opens, the Saints look to be on their way back to New Orleans 0-4, licking their wounds and wondering how to even approach the final three quarters of this year. San Diego drives down the field to score pushing them ahead by 10 points. On the next drive, the Saints turn the ball over and with a short field, the Chargers look like they might be just about to score another touchdown to push the lead to 17.
Then, the coin flipped back in the Saints direction. A penalty forces San Diego to settle for a field goal instead of being able to challenge for the touchdown. After the Saints get the ball back and end up having to punt, the Chargers fumble on their ensuing possession deep in their own territory, and the Saints score a touchdown.
The Saints kickoff, and on the first play from scrimmage the Chargers fumble again. It’s a beautiful Southern California day, Drew Brees is back at the place he called home for his first five seasons of his career, a place he still has a home, and it seems fate is smiling on the Saints. Once again the Saints score a touchdown and now are up by one with 2:45 to play.
All that’s left is another turnover to cap the day. Enter B.W. Webb, who had an up and down day, to seal the deal with an interception. The Saints win their first on the season.
Why is this one particularly odd? Because we saw things we hadn’t seen before – as if the world began turning in a different way. Drew Brees had one of his worst outings as a Saint. Andrus Peat had his best day as a Saint. The Saints got timely turnovers. The defensive line created pressure. None of these things had happened before this past Sunday.
Let it be known that the Chargers had a slew of injury issues as well. Their line play was noted to be a bit suspect, and their defense was supposed to be there for the taking. The Saints didn’t really take advantage of the Chargers’ deficiencies until the end of the game.
But it doesn’t matter when the advantage came. All that matters is the coin finally landing on the Saints side up for a change.