New Orleans storm sneaking up on NFL
By By Richard Dark / EMG sports writer
Sept. 24, 2002
NEW ORLEANS It all smacks of so much irony.
When asked Monday about his comments concerning the status of the ominous, yet slow-moving storm Isadore in the southern Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Haslett's feelings aptly mirror those of anyone you spoke to this summer regarding his team's chances this year.
That would be a good way to put how this current Saints squad still undefeated at 3-0 after Sunday's rousing come-from-behind 29-23 road win over the Chicago Bears was viewed by everyone in the media before the season began.
And yet, just like Haslett did after his aforementioned statement, many that oversee the sports world, along with fans, are backtracking.
One time that seemingly has come is the Saints ability to persevere and stay in games. After falling behind 20-0, quarterback Aaron Brooks was just one of many key ingredients that led to the team leaving the Midwest with a still unblemished record.
And even though it goes against his usual somewhat business-like behavior, Haslett showed his pride, which was sprinkled in with still, a day later, surprise.
But the coach says it's still too early to get excited. This team has enjoyed hot starts before. Three times to be exact. They finished with a winning record only once in those years in 1991 when they were 11-5 and won the NFC West.
Instead, according to the coach, just keep on scoring touchdowns instead of field goals when you get in close.
Conversely, their opponents were inside the Saints 20-yard line five times and came away with three field goals, a touchdown and gave up an interception.
That much was certain, as the Bears made sure they stuffed the running game for the most part. With Ole Miss alumnus Deuce McAllister held to only 45 yards rushing on 17 carries, Brooks was able to pick apart Chicago through the air with
But, yet another reason to give Saints fans hope would be a closer look at Sunday's win. The win in Champaign marked the first time the Saints had to play from a substantial deficit since last season. Special teamer Jerry Wilson's recovery of a muffed punt that caromed off the facemask of Leon Johnson led to the shift in momentum.
It was the second-biggest comeback in franchise history, only taking second by a single point. More importantly, it left the Saints along with the Carolina Panthers, as the only two NFC teams still undefeated.