Observations from the cheap seats: Part 2
When Lattimore had to leave the game, it looked bleak for the secondary. And early on we saw some communications issues. But Justin Hardee came in and did a commendable job for the game, including an interception returned 77 yards. Hardee has just been a special teams guy for the Saints. This was the most snaps than he’s ever seen in an NFL game.
At one point, a penalty was called on the Saints number 85, TE Dan Arnold. Only one problem, he was on the sidelines on that play. The penalty was actually on Josh Hill. Just one more officiating faux pas.
Pity Tre’Quan Smith. On his coming out party night, he scores his first NFL touchdown. Mess up number one: he drops the ball in the end zone to jump into the stands and celebrate. Kudos for knowing how to celebrate, but save the ball, son! Mess up number two: it’s gotta be bittersweet to score your first TD and NOT get to keep the ball! That just happened to be the ball in play when Brees broke the record. On the bright side, you’ll always be a footnote to positive NFL and Saints history. And you can always see your first TD ball in Canton.
Don’t pity Smith too much. I’m sure he got to keep TD ball number two, which came on the first drive of the second half.
Backup offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus went into the game on DEFENSE on a Saints goal line stand in the second half. He did not make the tackle on the play, which was the late game TD scored by Washington.
Of course the biggest highlight of the evening was the anointing of a new NFL career yards passing leader. Brees passed up Brett Favre and Peyton Manning on his way to establishing the new record. Considering Brees’ health and ability, he could put so much distance on this record that it may be some time before it’s approached. As for contemporaries, Tom Brady is almost a full season’s worth of yards behind Brees. Brady missed a season with an ACL injury. Outside of Brady, no other active player is closer than 19,000 yards from Brees. The one person everyone taps to be the next major great, Aaron Rodgers is only at 40,074 at this moment. Injuries have set him back, as well as the 3 seasons he sat behind Brett Favre.
There could be no better script for the record than to throw a long TD pass. It was particularly fortunate because the Saints were under a minute from the two-minute drill, and they would not have stopped the game or the drive for the acknowledgement during an active two-minute run.
The vibe in the Superdome for this event was absolutely electric. People hugged, they high fived, they cried. It was a typical New Orleans celebration, over the top and no holding back. After the failed two-point conversion, as a commercial break came, the hilarious and heartfelt video message from former record holder Peyton Manning was shown on the big screens. The entire night was one to remember.
On a more personal note… It was very cool to finally get to meet Tyler Raymond, another of our contributors, and his dad. He actually lives in New York and was in town for this Saints game. Good one to come, buddy! You need to come back again and bring more of that mojo with you!