New Orleans finding ways to win – Tigers struggling with basics
In 2003 Disney released a movie called Freaky Friday. The premise was that mother (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her teenage daughter (Lindsay Lohan) would trade places to see what life would be like in a reversed role.For the past four years, the LSU football team has been one of the elite teams in college football. Leading up to the Tigers’ away game at the University of Florida, the team had posted a 37-7 win-loss mark, traveled to two SEC championship games and, in 2003, brought home a national championship.
This year the Tigers boasted one of the stingiest and most talented defenses in the nation, an emerging star at quarterback in JaMarcus Russell, and two top-notch senior receivers in Buster Davis and Dwayne Bowe, both of whom will play in the NFL next year.
It’s true they didn’t make enough big plays in their 7-3 loss to Auburn earlier in the year, but a shot at the SEC Western Division title was still possible thanks to the Arkansas Razorbacks’ upset win over Auburn, 27-10, while the Tigers were gearing up for their battle with UF in Gainesville.
The stage was set, and early on the Tigers looked strong against the Gators, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Then they stopped Florida’s offense deep in their own territory. So far, so good.
Then came the “Freaky Friday moment.”
Late in the first quarter, Tiger punt returner Chevis Jackson muffed a punt that the Gators recovered at the Tigers’ 19 yard line – and the “mystical powers of The Swamp” – where Florida seldom loses – came into play. More bad moments were just waiting to happen for LSU.
But in spite of a critical fumble by Russell – and numerous miscues and poor tackling by the defense – the Tigers were still in the game at halftime, trailing just 14-7.
But then, again, we saw a “Freaky Friday moment” when Tiger kickoff man Early Doucet fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half that resulted in a safety.
After that, it was game, set and match for the Gators.
Let’s face it, the Tigers proceeded to play the worst game in the past four seasons against Florida, and there is plenty of blame to go around to everyone.
The offense couldn’t generate much of a running game. JaMarcus Russell was erratic throwing the football. The vaunted Tiger defense was shredded by Florida coach Urban Meyer’s estimable offensive game plan. And the Tigers’ special teams were atrocious.
The Tigers were beaten soundly in every phase of the contest and that includes coaching.
Yes, the Gators are a good football team and well coached, but to be honest, the Tigers beat themselves in the “hardest-to-take” loss of the Les Miles era.
Watching the Tigers play last Saturday was like watching the Saints, or should I say the old Saints’ teams.
The ‘new’ Saints aren’t like the ‘old’ Saints
The Saints were favorites to win by seven points. But Tampa always plays New Orleans tough, and this was a game ripe for an upset for the Buccaneers, but 2006 looks to be a different year for the boys in black and gold.
The Buccaneers and Gradkowski played hard and actually pretty darn well. At one moment near the end of the game it looked as though they had pulled off a major upset.
But again, the Freaky Friday moment happened.
With less than five minutes left to play the moment Saints fans had been waiting for finally happened when 2005 USC Heisman trophy winner Reggie Bush returned a punt 65-yards for a touchdown – (his first in the NFL- and the Saints defense finished the deal and the team won 24-21.
The Saints didn’t look pretty, they gave up over 100 yards rushing to a halfback for the second straight week to “Cadillac” Williams and they generally didn’t play at a high level, especially early in the fourth quarter, but they found a way to win.
It was Deuce McAllister’s 123 yards rushing, Drew Brees’ pinpoint passing and the defense holding up late that won it for the Saints and, oh yes, Reggie Bush’s punt return.
But more importantly, it was finding a way to win when things weren’t going exactly right for you, something LSU could not.
Who would have thought before the football season started that the Saints would have fewer losses in early October – one – than LSU, which now posts a 4-2 mark.
It was certainly a role reversal weekend for LSU and the Saints.