Nobody gave the Dallas Cowboys much of a chance.
On paper, they seemed like they were in over their heads.
After all, they haven't won in December in ages, and they were about to go into New Orleans against a high-powered offense in the unfriendly confines of the Superdome.
The story of this game wasn't necessarily the Saints kissing their perfect season goodbye.
It was DeMarcus Ware's courageous effort.
This, mind you, is the same DeMarcus Ware who was carried off the field on a stretcher just one week ago.
But Ware toughed it out, and turned in one heck of a stellar performance.
Two sacks, along with two forced fumbles, one of which ended the Saints' final drive, made Ware the unquestionable star of this tilt.
It was enough to make a rabid pro-Saints crowd leave in stunned silence.
There were other stars too. Tony Romo threw for 312 yards, and Marion Barber turned in a solid performance with two scores.
As for the Saints, they'll be defined by Drew Brees' lackluster effort, getting sacked four times, losing a fumble, and throwing a pick.
It is important to point out that the No. 1 seed in the NFC has meant nothing over the past two seasons, as both teams to who held that seed lost their first playoff game.
But like the city they play in, the Saints have the ability to bounce back and finish strong.
I just wouldn't punch their ticket to Miami quite yet.
Elsewhere in Week 15 action:
- Give the Jaguars credit, they hung in there and made their loss to the Colts an entertaining game.
- Brad Childress had good intentions in wanting to bench Brett Favre to protect his body. Favre, however, is too much of a competitor to want to take a seat. Even at his advanced age.
- If only the Jets' offense could have found a pulse, they'd still be breathing down the Patriots' necks.
- Give Phillip Rivers a lot of credit too: Driving a team down the field in 51 seconds to set up a game-winning field goal is no small feat.
- My prayers and sympathy go out to the Bengals, their fans, and the Henry family for the unfortunate tragedy that occurred last week.
- While it was true that Randy Moss bounced back, his self-righteous discourse in comparing himself to Atlas by saying he could carry the world on his shoulders, was a bit much for my taste.
- Talk about a turnaround! It may not be enough to land them in the playoffs, but the Titans getting back to .500 after a horrid start is something.
- The Steelers Mike Wallace did a great impression of teammate Santonio Holmes by making a great catch with no time left on the clock to win the game.
- No defense puts their offense in a position to score points better than the Baltimore Ravens. Evidence of that is that they scored 24 of their 31 points off six Bears turnovers.
- How do you celebrate a playoff birth if you're an Eagles fan? Easy, throw snow on your fellow fan.
- The Cardinals saved themselves the embarrassment of blowing a 17 point lead to the Lions, and clinched their second straight NFC West title.
- Forget that Josh Freeman has thrown nine interceptions in two games. The important thing is his team won by taking advantage of a battered Seahawks' defense and the careless passing of Matt Hasselbeck.
- Imagine how bad the Texans would be if they didn't have Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, who probably won the game by themselves.
- At the very least, Mike Holmgren should find skilled players to build the Browns' offense around the explosive talents of Joshua Cribbs and Jerome Harrison. Both had a field day with the Chiefs in the Browns' victory.
- JaMarcus Russell may be remembered as a draft bust when all is said and done. However, he did rally the Raiders to a victory over the Broncos. So maybe Silver and Black supporters should consider that their Christmas gift from the team.
- What will define Jim Zorn's coaching legacy with the Redskins? That he was inexperienced for the job, or the absolutely ridiculous fake field goal he called out of desperation last night to end the first half?
- I'd like to wish a fan of my mine, Zander Freund, nothing but the best in his future endeavors. The mere fact that a co-founder of this website approved of my work enough to become a fan of mine meant a lot to me. Best of luck to you Zander!
- As for you, may you have a very merry Christmas and get everything you want.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!