Saints Suffer Worst Loss In Franchise History
The New Orleans Saints suffered the worst loss in franchise history on Sunday.
By "worst", I mean as in "heartbreaking".
In Sunday's NFC Divisional Round game against Minnesota, the Saints held a 24-23 lead with :10 left remaining.
The Vikings, on a third-and-10, with no timeouts left, from their own 39-yard line, scored on a miraculous 61-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Case Keenum to receiver Stefon Diggs.
New Orleans safety Marcus Williams tried to knock down Diggs by lowering his shoulder, but missed, taking down teammate Ken Crawley along with him.
That allowed Diggs to run down the sideline, untouched, for the walk-off touchdown, giving the Vikings an incredible 29-24 win.
How could that happen?!?!?
What was Williams doing/thinking?
Really though; what does it matter?
All that matters is the Saints lost.
It's a play...a moment...a game...that will be etched in every Saints' fan memory, forever.
This is, without a doubt, the worst loss in franchise history.
And I understand that because something is fresh in our memories, we tend to overstate it, overrate it, because it is so fresh.
So, without sounding like the king of hyperbole, this one is the worst loss in Saints history. It's devastating, if you're a Saints fan, like me.
Sure, there are a number of heartbreaking losses that you can point to, like the 20-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in 1978; the "Big Ben Game".
In a Monday Night Football game in 1979, the Saints lost, 42-35, to the Oakland Raiders, blowing a 28-7 lead in the process.
In 2011, New Orleans was eliminated in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers, 36-32, as Alex Smith connected with Vernon Davis on a 14-yard touchdown pass with only :09 left.
For my money, prior to Sunday, the worst loss in Saints' history was the finale of the 1983 regular season, when the Saints, playing for the first winning season and playoff berth in franchise history, lost to the Los Angeles Rams, 26-24, in a game in which New Orleans did not allow an offensive touchdown.
I can still see Mike Landsford's 42-yard field goal sailing through the uprights as time expired, putting a dagger through my heart.
You can certainly make an argument for all of those.
That being said, because the Saints seemingly had Sunday's game wrapped-up, and because of what was on the line, I think Sunday's loss surpasses them all.
I mean, everybody remembers the "Big Ben" game, but the Saints weren't very good that year, and while the 2011 loss to the 49ers was hard to swallow, you have to credit the 49ers for making plays down the stretch.
On Sunday, the game looked to be over.
It looked like the Saints were headed to the NFC Championship Game for the third time in franchise history, before disaster struck.
And if the Saints had won, they unquestionably would have been favorites in the NFC title game, even having to travel to Philadelphia, with the Eagles playing without starting quarterback Carson Wentz.
We'll never know, but I think Sunday's loss cost them a Super Bowl berth.
This is a loss that I'll always remember, and I hope I never see one any worse.