New England Patriots

Saints Demolish Patriots: Can New England Rebuild?

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 30: Scott Shanle #58 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates a defensive stop against the New England Patriots at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Mike GleasonCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2009

I don't think I've ever seen a team demolished like that.

There's really no other word to describe it. The Saints took every part of this Patriots team and smashed it to the ground.

The defensive backs couldn't cover anybody. The defensive line couldn't generate pressure on Drew Brees. The linebackers couldn't stop the Saints' running backs.

The offensive line couldn't protect. The receivers couldn't get open. The running backs couldn't gain consistent, positive yardage. Tom Brady couldn't throw the ball accurately.

Every unit of the team was prone to boneheaded mistakes and miscues.

Did the Patriots do anything well? (This is not rhetorical. I'm dying for something positive to take from this game.)

The mind-boggling thing about this season is the fact that the Pats could still wind up 12-4. 12-4? For a team that has looked so utterly hopeless at times?

If the Patriots do indeed end up with that record, it will seem (even to Pats fans like yours truly) fraudulent.

This team has had the good luck to play some truly awful teams and a bevy of mediocre ones. They have failed nearly every test they've come across (except against the Ravens, who are a legitimately tough team).

They would enter the postseason tournament as this year's paper tiger—the one team every year that looks impressive, but does so because it's dealt with subpar competition all year.

I'm sure this isn't pleasant to read (it sure isn't pleasant to write), but can anyone who watched last night's game still hold out Super Bowl hopes for this team?

It seems to have become easy to throw this team's offense out of sync. Teams still respect Randy Moss a bit, but I think they've increasingly realized that Brady has lost his deep-ball accuracy.

Therefore, they've decided to stop Wes Welker, tackling him immediately after he catches short patterns, the bread-and-butter of this Pats offense.

They've started to cover both receivers well, and the team's next options at receiver aren't very scary (Sam Aiken? The suddenly disappeared Julian Edelman?).

Laurence Maroney is probably the one Patriot who you could say played well (trust me, that's weird to say), but he's not the type of workhorse through which one could run an offense.

The less said about the defense, the better. I think, had Brees and company simply been playing against air, they would have had a tougher time of it.

Bill Belichick has said he believes the problems with this team are correctable. I hope so, because week 13 is a little late to rebuild a team.

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