Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gutsy Week 2 Win for Saints All Too Unfamiliar

I remember it very well. It was 1996 and the Saints were about to start the season. To open that year New Orleans was playing the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers were only two years removed from winning the Super Bowl. I was nine and did not care. My team, the Saints, were going to be on TV and I was happy.

Right from the get-go it was San Francisco's game. There was no question the Saints did not belong on the field. By halftime I was so upset I turned the game off as the Saints were already down 24-0. New Orleans would eventually lose 27-11. My whole childhood the 49ers always outclassed the Saints. If the Saints looked like they had the game, San Francisco just found a way to win. For years San Francisco was New Orleans's biggest roadblock. From 1993 to 1999 the two franchises squared off 12 times and only once did the Saints ever win.

Now look back at that Monday night victory. It was a very frustrating game to watch and as the game progressed it really seemed like it was not the Saints day. With a chance to go up 26-14, the Saints had to settle on a field goal. The 49ers then drove down and tied the score. In the past, the Saints would of withered. They would of folded and lost in overtime. But for some reason, and this is why the Saints are unique group of guys, they prevailed.

Much like the 49ers of the 1990s, the Saints found a way to win. It was not pretty, but Drew Brees found a way to get the team a victory, Marques Colston found a way to come up with a huge catch, Garrett Hartley found a way to hit the game-winner.

And this is the biggest aspect of this Saints team I enjoy the most. The 48-27 wins are terrific and more enjoyable, but it's games like these that make me realize how special this crew really is. It's one thing to win a game, it's another to fight an entire game and when the chips are down still find a way to win.

The Saints have no doubt a lot they need to work, but with that said it can not be overlooked how this team, just like the Steelers and the Colts of the NFL, displayed the resiliency to gut out a victory when a loss seemed imminent.

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