How would you like to go to work with "BJ" on your back? Yeah. Me neither.
Pat Williams, quote machine: This guy is always such a hoot. Before the game, Williams had plenty to say about the Saints. Regarding their offensive line: "They don't scare me. They put their pants on like I put my pants on." (Uh, how does he know how they put their pants on? Never mind.) About Drew Brees he said: "He won't take any sacks. You got to give him all the credit. He's like Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. He's not going to let you just pound his (butt)." Well, Pat sure did have his mind on the game. I'm just not sure which game he was fantasizing about.
Ed Hochuli: I thought this guy was, like, the best there is at what he does. (And I'm not talking about steroid use. This guy is the best there is at that.) Now he's blowing calls right and left. His latest faux poop was missing a pretty obvious facemask penalty that caused Reggie Bush to lose a fumble in last night's game. Mind you, this happened while the Saints were already in scoring position, and the penalty, had it been called, would have put them inside Minnesota's 20-yard line. And costing the Saints three or possibly even seven points is a pretty big deal in a game that was decided by a field goal. Assuming my math's right, of course. Always a little iffy.
It should also be noted that, later in that same quarter, Adrian Peterson fumbled while being tackled, but Hochuli ruled that although the ball was coming loose, Peterson still had it in his possession. Can we check his cell phone records? He hasn't been talking to Tim Donaghy has he?
Martin Gramatica: The former "Mr. Automatica" took a one-way trip on the failroad last night. In fact, he was conducting the train. It's not just that he blew two field goals, it's the circumstances surrounding those blunders that earned him a brutal, bare-knuckle beating in the Saints locker room after the game. (At least, I hope it did.) Gramatica had his first field goal attempt blocked and returned for 59 yards for a touchdown. FAIL. Later, he shanked a 46-yarder that would have given New Orleans a three-point lead with two minutes to go. EPIC FAIL. And I know what you're thinking, but that's not deja vu you're feeling. Gramatica also missed two field goals against the Broncos in Week 3, the second of which would have given the Saints the lead with two minutes to go. This just proves the old adage: Those who sign Martin Gramatica despite his history are doomed to repeat it.
I don't know. There's some deep-rooted psychological reason for Gramatica's many failures. I'd sure like to know what it is. Or maybe I wouldn't...
Random note: During a discussion of the game at work this morning, one of my co-workers had the following to say about Gramatica: "Have you seen that guy? He just looks like failure."
Sean Payton: Here's what I wrote about Payton after the Saints dropped that game to the Broncos in Week 3: "He watched his quarterback throw for 421 yards while completing 81 percent of his passes (39-for-48), and yet -- with time ticking away and his team desperately needing a first down -- he called a running play on third-and-short that got stuffed harder than Tera Patrick. Thus it was necessary to pin the team's hopes on a 43-yard field goal. And, as noted, their kicker is Martin Gramatica. Not smart, coach. Not smart."
Well, the Saints got to sort of relive those mistakes last night. Prior to Gramatica's blown fourth-quarter kick, Brees (who threw for 330 yards last night) completed a 41-yard pass to TE Billy Miller to get the ball to the Minnesota 39-yard line. Instead of building on that, Payton called four straight running plays and a couple bailout passes from Brees (on second-and-long and third-and-long) before calling on Gramatica to work his magic tragic. My point is, once Payton got the ball to within field goal range, he quit on the aggressive play calling that makes the Saints' offense so dangerous. Which, frankly, is what most NFL coaches do: Play it safe, take the field goal. And when you do that, the Football Gods sometimes make you pay for it.
Brad Childress: Reggie Bush tied an NFL record by returning two punt for touchdowns. Which begs the question: After he had already returned one punt 71 yards for a score, why in the name of Lincoln's hairy wart would Childress let punter Chris Kluwe keep kicking to him? Well, that's what Childress did, and Bush returned a fourth-quarter punt 64 yards for a touchdown that gave New Orleans a 27-20 lead. Fortunately for Childress, Payton's decision making and kicker were even more inept. Now, let's watch Reggie work, shall we?
After the game, Childress said: "This is as good a win as it gets." Huh. I don't think he was watching the same game I was watching.
Update! Apparently, Childress is claiming that Kluwe was instructed to kick those balls out of bounds: "Both of those kicks are supposed to be out of bounds, and when you say to somebody kick the ball out of bounds, that's what you expect to happen. That's what I expect to happen with a professional football kicker. You know what? If he can't do that, I'll find someone that can kick the ball out of bounds." Yikes. And Kluwe isn't helping himself with quotes like this: "I felt overall, I had a good game. But it's unfortunate that Reggie Bush is a great punt returner." What is it with kickers? No, seriously.
Adrian Peterson: The prevailing theory was that, to beat the Saints, the Vikings would simply let Peterson trample all over them, thereby killing the clock and keeping Drew Brees' arm off the field. It was a great idea right up to the point where it totally didn't work. Peterson gained Kate Moss-like 32 yards on 21 attempts. That's works out to an average of 1.5 yards per carry. He also had no touchdowns. Considering Peterson's size, he could have gained that kind of yardage by just grabbing the ball and fainting. And who knows, maybe that's what happened. That's the kind of performance that could get Peterson stalked and killed by a deranged fantasy owner. Not that I'm supporting such an idea. I'm just sayin'.
Deuce McAllister: After last week's 73-yard, 1-touchdown performance against the Niners, McAllister was gleefully snatched up off waivers in fantasy leagues across the country. He then laid a big, steaming deuce against Minny, in the form of 13 yards on 6 rushing attempts and, of course, no touchdowns. For those of you who picked him up: Welcome to Fantasy Suckersville, Population you guys.