The Saints secured the number one seed for the NFC Playoffs last Sunday in Week 16. Here are some observations from the (not so) cheap seats.
The Saints’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon in Week 16 was not one for the record books. Yes, some records were set. Placekicker Wil Lutz broke Morten Andersen’s consecutive FG record when he booted his 26th straight FG – only to have the next one blocked… (I wonder if Morten was somewhere watching, thinking “Why not block the one BEFORE THAT ONE?!?!”). And running Back Mark Ingram scored his 50th touchdown, breaking now-Saints radio analyst Deuce McAllister’s record.
But as far as good-looking performances, this was not that game. Who Dats are starting to become accustomed to tough wins. Recent weeks have seen gritty performances by the Saints. None of their last four games have been games you’d put up for awards. But they are 3-1 in those four games, so things could be worse. I hate to dare say it, but we’re winning games we used to lose by close margins.
The Steelers came in fighting for their playoff lives, truly needing this win more than the Saints. The Steelers have been something of an enigma this season. Saints fans couldn’t tell if they were getting the Steelers that beat the pants off the Panthers and Falcons, or if this was the team that lost to Oakland and Denver. A team with so many dips in performance is tough to get a read on.
One thing we did know was they would likely feature their two-headed monster of wide receivers, Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster. And apparently, Ben Roethlisberger read a bit of what Cam Jordan said, and decided to throw the ball all over the yard.
This game had something of a playoff atmosphere. The Steelers are known to travel well, and Sunday was no different. There were more than a few Terrible Towels in attendance. Pittsburgh definitely showed up ready to play and it took all the Saints could muster to play with them.
In the end, it came down to making plays when we needed to. The Saints have had shortcomings all season, but by now, I’d hope the Who Dat faithful would believe in the black and gold enough to know that they are playing the role of cardiac kids this year.
Normally, these are my observations from the cheap seats, as my season tickets are in the terrace level of the Superdome. However, for home games the Saints select people to do a seat upgrade. They find people in the upper level and then treat them to seats in the plaza level. We got the call early in the week and were asked if we’d like to have that experience. To be honest, I’ve sat in the plaza level before. It’s very nice, but all things equal, I love my cheap seats. But for one day, it was a nice experience.
So this week’s observations are from the good seats: