By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief
So much for my prediction the New Orleans Saints will finish the season at 0-16.
The Saints are 1-2 after looking really good Sunday in a 34-13 victory at Carolina, where the Panthers looked surprisingly bad.
I thought for sure the Saints would lose this game because of the no defense and little offense they showed in their first two games. I figured if they lost to the Panthers, they would clinch an 0-16 season.
During their 0-2 start, they played like one of the worst teams in franchise history, and no matter the Super Bowl success in the Drew Brees-Sean Payton era, the notorious legacy of losing should never be overlooked.
This time, they put it all together. Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas and everybody else on offense clicked and the defense intercepted Cam Newton three times and gave up just one touchdown.
Now I’m starting to think the Saints might have more than one win.
Wide receiver Willie Snead is coming back from a three-game suspension. That helps build optimism after so much pessimism.
Snead has said he’s focused on becoming a deep threat, and the Saints need someone in that role other than Ted Ginn Jr., whose bad-hands reputation overshadows his ranking as one of the fastest players in the NFL.
Brees and Ginn, who is a veteran in his first season with the Saints, connected Sunday on a long ball for the first time this season and the result was a 40-yard touchdown.
It came against one of Ginn’s former teams and the Saints’ next opponent is also among his former teams.
Perhaps Brees and Ginn will connect again in the London game at Wembley on Oct. 1 against the Miami Dolphins (1-1).
The Wembley reference allows me to interrupt this fine piece of sports journalism for a Buddy D. moment of imagination: “You’re a squirrel if you think Brew Drees and the Saints will finish 14-2 after beating the Dolphins at Wimbledon.”
At least Freddie Gee, a Dolphins fan and Facebook friend from Miami, expects Brees to filet the secondary.
“Through (eight) quarters of play, the Dolphins are allowing enemy passers to complete 78.7% of their passes for 9.4 yards per attempt,” Freddie says. “If you know football, that is NFL record woeful. Next up is Drew Brees. Fountain of youth next week for Brees.”
OK! Well, New Orleans is also allowing 9.4 yards per attempt, but as long as the Smoking Turnover Machine known as Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler doesn’t find the fountain of youth with his new team, the Saints will win for the second week in a row.
And here’s what the Saints will do the rest of the season.
Oct. 15 host Lions L
Oct. 22 at Packers L
Oct. 29 host Bears W
Nov. 5 host Bucs W
Nov. 12 at Bills L
Nov. 19 host Redskins L
Nov. 26 at Rams L
Dec. 3 host Panthers L
Dec. 7 at Falcons L
Dec. 17 host Jets W
Dec. 24 host Falcons W
Dec. 31 at Bucs L
W total: Six.
After an 0-2 start, that’s a sign of overachieving. Almost half full in the W column instead of empty.