Heartbreak in review: Notes on the Broncos game.

tanania
Nov 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints fans after a game-winning extra point was blocked by the Denver Broncos late in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Broncos won, 25-23. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints fans after a game-winning extra point was blocked by the Denver Broncos late in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Broncos won, 25-23. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Orleans Saints experienced heartbreak and true frustration this week.

The Saints are on a short week, with a game against the Panthers on Thursday. I’m glad for it. That means I won’t have to dwell long on this game. 

I think that I’ve experienced worse losses as a New Orleans Saints fan. And I’m not here to relive any of them. I never had them pegged to beat the Broncos, so looking forward from here the ship seems still afloat. As Sean Payton said, the sky isn’t falling.

But all that said, can you imagine a worse way to lose? I honestly can’t.

To be clear, the Saints lost this game. I’m not putting it on the refs. Well, I am, but I’m not blaming them for the loss. It’s just that they left this taste in my mouth. I can’t get it out. Just the worse way to lose.

Let’s say they don’t return a blocked PAT for two points. They get the ball back with about 1:40 left on the clock. As all Saints fans know, that’s plenty of time to march up the field against this defense. So let’s say they did. Let’s say they win the game on a last minute FG. I’m fine with that! We played hard, played very well against a very good team, and lost in the last minute. Okay.

But this. I wasn’t even watching the kick. I was in the kitchen, and I hear: “Blocked!” Obviously, my heart skipped a beat. Then I run into the room to see the Broncos returning it. Again, my heart is frozen.

BUT THEN THE RETURN MAN CLEARLY STEPPED OUT!

It was obvious from the live feed, and more obvious upon review. I just don’t understand how the refs blow that call. It’s much more egregious to me than the uncatchable PI that cost us the Raiders game. It was plain as day. Not to mention the leverage. Two refs are standing there, watching that exact spot on the line, and no one notices the Broncos player holding down LS Justin Drescher’s head as Simmons jumps over him?

Horrible. This after Sean Payton criticized the NFL for not paying referees as full-time employees. Roger Goodell, to no one’s surprise, took the counter-intuitive position that the league is fine with their officials. Well, Goodell, now that we’ve seen blown calls costing games for weeks in a row, I think it’s time to reconsider.

Oct 16, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to referee Walt Anderson (66) and side judge Laird Hayes (125) in the second half of their game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won, 41-38. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks to referee Walt Anderson (66) and side judge Laird Hayes (125) in the second half of their game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won, 41-38. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

(Not that I’m complaining about the questionable calls against ATL two weeks ago, and SEA last week. Actually, interesting fact, Atlanta had the reddit-inspired title belt when they lost on a bogus call to Seattle. Then Seattle, having won the title belt, came up outraged with the officials against the Saints. The Saints now had the belt. And now this. Cursed?)

I’d just like to conclude with two points.

First: the way fans and players are rallying around Michael Thomas after essentially committing three of four turnovers against the Broncos makes for an interesting comparison with Mark Ingram. If Ingram had, even before his two-game string of fumbles, done anywhere near this much damage to the team, would fans still support him? Who Dat Nation holds him to a strangely high standard. I understand why: Payton traded up to draft him and he’s never been the game-breaking back that fans wanted. But he’s a solid player who deserves just as much support as Thomas.

Next: James Laurinaitis, future coach?

And second, finally: Is anyone going to miss Greg McMahon?

I know I’m not.

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