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Story Archives: Under pressure...
My son told me two weeks ago he thought it would be best if the New Orleans Saints lost a game before the playoffs.
I told him with Drew Brees at quarterback, the Saints would always be focused and that a perfect season would not add to the pressure.
After Saturday night, I hope he is right.
The pressure is off - but then again so is some of the swagger.
The Dallas Cowboys behind Tony Romo disassembled the Saints as the Dallas defense did a number on Jermon Bushrod and the New Orleans offensive line.
Romo was brilliant. I wonder if Britney Spears was in the stands cheering him on. Surely some local pop diva had to be looking on for inspiration.
Brees had a lot of pressure and forced a lot of throws. His uncanny ability to step up or back in pocket to avoid sacks kept it from being a whole lot worse.
I believe he also put a lot of extra pressure on himself for the city of New Orleans. Brees knows how much an undefeated season would have meant to New Orleans fans and he is one pro athlete who puts the team and fans first.
I became concerned a few weeks ago when the injuries starting piling up.
It's tough losing your left tackle, especially when his has been an All-Pro. Jammal Brown had surgery to repair a sports hernia and also suffered a hip injury.
Before Saturday night, Bushrod had been doing a good job in filling in for Brown. That was before Anthony Spencer got to know Brees way too well in the Dome.
Bushrod, a fourth-round draft pick out of Towson in 2007, had never played tackle in a regular-season game for the Saints. He started the final three preseason games in Brown's place.
Playing the position glorified in the book, "The Blind Side," Bushrod got some needed advice from Brees in his first start.
"I just told him to give me that lookout call if I need to move a little bit," Brees said.
Brees needed to move quite a bit Saturday night.
But give credit to the Cowboys. Brees became the fifth consecutive quarterback to have a quarterback rating of less than 90 against the Cowboys. Only two quarterbacks — Eli Manning of the New York Giants in the first meeting of the season and Denver's Kyle Orton — have had a rating of 100-plus against the Cowboys.
The Cowboys had four sacks, two each by outside linebackers Spencer and DeMarcus Ware. Brees had taken only 15 sacks in the previous 13 games.
Now Brees and the rest of the Saints can relax - and hopefully get healthy.
I have to say I loved the Saints' crowd cheering the team when they left the field. As bad as the effort was, the Saints kept clawing until the end.
Besides, when is the last time folks were excited about the final two games of the season in New Orleans?
You could be a Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Detroit or St. Louis Ram fan and have nothing to look forward except the 2010 Draft.
Then again, been there, done that.