At the end of the first quarter Sunday, the New Orleans Saints led the visiting Los Angeles Rams 13-0. The crowd was raucous, and it appeared the Rams could barely hear themselves think. The Saints looked good, if not great, opening with a strong drive and capitalizing on Rams mistakes.
Unfortunately for the Saints, that is also about the time the game stopped coming to them easy. The second quarter consisted of two Rams scoring drives, one ending in a field goal, another in a touchdown. The Saints had to real opportunities of their own in the quarter (and a third drive that started with just :23 left on the clock), and managed to gain just 14 yards. At half, they led by just 3.
While the Saints would open the second half with another strong drive, they made little noise the rest of the game. The Rams had successfully turned the affair into a slugfest (or followed the Saints down that path) and to the surprise of many, were able to hold their own playing the sort of tight, close affair that typically favors the team with the more seasoned playcaller (the Saints), more established quarterback (the Saints), better defense (the Saints), and home field advantage (I like this device, but am calling it quits). Instead, the Rams were able to close regulation with a game-tying field goal and, after intercepting Drew Brees in overtime, kick again for the game winner.
Some may protest, noting that the Rams were not called on an admittedly egregious pass interference that qualifies among the worst non-calls in the last 20 years. It truly was an admirable display of restraint on behalf of the referee crew:
Others, however, would point out that this is America. And that in America, complaints of unfairness only get you so far. That indeed, it is up to each of us to be a man, a Real Man, and take care of business ourselves. After all, if you want something done right, there is just one person you can rely upon.
And those folks who take that view would further note that the Saints were leading the game with 1:41 left in the fourth quarter, and an inexperienced quarterback taking the helm on the other side. And that their fans are loud, so loud that as noted, early in the game the Rams could hardly think, let alone execute. And they may also say that despite these advantages, the Rams rather easily moved the ball into position for a game tying field goal. And is saying these things, those Americans would be correctly recording the facts.
As to this writer, well, sure, you would like to see the home team take control after getting a double-digit lead and put the game beyond the refs. But a screwjob is a screwjob, and this one qualifies as such. Unfortunately, some folks seem to believe that this means pass interference calls should be subject to video review. However, football already has a “is this fun to watch?” question, and more review would not help the product. As such, Saints fans will just have to live on in bitterness, wondering how it is that four supposed professionals missed the easiest call of the game.