Looking Back on the 2012 New Orleans Saints, Part 2: Lowlights

Well, after looking back at some of the highlights of the 2012 Saints season, it's now time to look back at some of the lower points.  These are facts and moments that most Saints fans still remember well, even if they wish they didn't...

The Chiefs…really?  The CHIEFS?

So after the first two games of the season, Saints fans were understandably down, but still hopeful.  Sure, consecutive losses to Washington and Carolina hurt, but with 14 games to go, there was nothing to worry about.  And in week 3, there was reason for optimism, as the woeful Kansas City Chiefs were coming to town.  Just what the Saints needed to give their slow start a jolt of momentum, right?

Well, you probably already know what happened that day.  The Saints jumped out to a 24-6 second-quarter lead, and didn’t score again.  Drew Brees didn’t complete a pass after the third quarter, and the defense allowed way too many third- and fourth-down conversions, allowing the Chiefs to tie the game and go on to win in overtime, 27-24.

This was the point where despair truly began to set in on the fans.  The Saints had played three games; their three opponents at that point were a combined 3-0 against the Saints and 0-6 against everyone else.  The Chiefs would go on to finish 2-14, dead last in the NFL, and this game would stand out as the biggest blown opportunity in a season that featured many of them.

Brees falls apart, Saints blow two winnable key games

Well, in spite of all that had transpired (Seriously, though.  The Chiefs?), the Saints had somehow found themselves back in the thick of the playoff hunt, only a game out of the final spot in the NFC.  They had turned an 0-4 start into 5-5, were one of the hottest teams in the league, and were in position to steal a wild card berth.

That was right about the point Drew Brees decided to go completely in the toilet.  Getting the 49ers at home (a tough matchup to be sure, but not unwinnable), Brees threw two pick-sixes in a game the Saints lost by 10.  And these weren’t even great plays made by the defense; these were awful decisions by Brees that made for easy points for the Niners’ defense.

But the Saints caught a break: nearly every other team in the wild card hunt lost that weekend, which left them in virtually the same position.  Their next opponent?  The Atlanta Falcons, whose bid for perfection had been spoiled by the Saints a few weeks earlier.  This one was even uglier, as Brees threw FIVE interceptions, had his consecutive-games-with-a-TD-pass streak snapped, and even his completed passes weren’t especially accurate.

Had Brees even offered an average level of performance in those two games, the Saints could have won both, and could very well be in the playoffs right now.  But he chose to play his worst football since arriving in New Orleans at the worst possible time, and that more or less sealed the Saints’ fate.

The worst defense…Ever.

Yep, that can justifiably be said about the 2012 New Orleans Saints.  Even as they gradually improved over the course of the season (including an out-of-nowhere 41-0 rout against Tampa, their first shutout victory since 1995), and many players who started out horribly developed into legitimate players, this simple reality is that this Saints team gave up more yards than any team in NFL history.

It’s not hopeless for the future.  2010 first-round pick Patrick Robinson became a solid corner as the season wore on, and Corey White starting to show some real potential in the secondary until his year was cut short by injury.  Also, defensive end Cameron Jordan made a nice leap in his second season as a pass rusher.  There are some young pieces in place to help the defense going forward, but this was certainly a season for this unit to forget.

Coming up in part 3, how the Saints should approach the offseason.

Back to the New Orleans Saints Newsfeed