Did you have some sympathy for Broncos coach Vic Fangio, Sean Payton?
Sympathy at all, considering the guy was forced to trot an offense, in an NFL game, without the services of an NFL quarterback?
“Yeah, listen, I think it’s tough for all (teams),” replied the Saints coach. “Look, it’s a tough year. I felt bad for the cardboard fans. But that’s what it is.
So in other words … In. Not much.
The Saints (9-2) did not apologize for dancing on the grave the Broncos attack had dug for itself. Or, if you wish, the grave the NFL dug instead, given that New Orleans’ 31-3 rout at Empower Field went as planned despite the home team not having healthy and active quarterback available.
Jeff Driskel tested positive for coronavirus last Thursday, and the prior contact of starter Drew Lock and backups Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles at Driskel earlier in the week also made them ineligible to play under the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. . The decision was made on Saturday afternoon.
“It was a little weird,” Alvin Kamara said of the Broncos’ predicament. “It was a strange day, a strange atmosphere for the game. But a victory is a victory. ”
The closest thing to sympathy for the hosts came from Saints full-back Latavius Murray, who traveled 124 yards. Murray after the game rocked his hat to Broncos emergency quarterback Kendall Hinton, a practice team wide receiver and former college quarterback at Wake Forest.
“I gave them a lot of credit for even having the confidence to come on the field and do what (Hinton) did,” Murray said of the Broncos draw, who completed a pass in nine attempts. and has been withdrawn twice.
“I know it was difficult for him. But I have a lot of respect for them. But that’s the kind of season it’s been.
The NFL’s decision not to delay the game didn’t just rub Broncos loyalists the wrong way. A win in gift wrap for the Saints tightened New Orleans’ grip on the NFC playoff No.1 seed, a scenario that angered Packers, Seahawks and Rams fans, all battling New Orleans for the top spot.
“Yeah, I don’t think ‘weird’ is the right word,” Payton said. “Look, everything about this season is unique. So, we kind of eliminate the things that we can’t control.
New Orleans quarterback Taysom Hill was more empathetic, himself a former college quarterback at BYU before taking shots at tailback, wideout, tight end and on squads. special as a pro.
Hill, who was only making his second NFL start behind center, said his directive from Payton “changed dramatically” on Saturday when the Saints’ coaching staff found out the Broncos were going to have to field an attack without a quarterback. natural rear.
“I think going into the game there was so much uncertainty; (we) didn’t know how this was going to play out, ”said Hill, who threw for 78 yards and ran for 44 with two touchdowns. “Offensively, I’m not surprised that the game went like this.”
A stingy defense from the Saints, ranked fourth among NFL defenses in sack percentage and ninth in opponent’s score, was going to prove to be a challenge whether or not Lock was in the fold. But it was clear from the start that New Orleans intended to clutter the box and challenge someone – anyone – from the Broncos to try to pitch.
Knowing full well that they couldn’t.
“It was a little crazy,” said Saints linebacker Kwon Alexander, whose recovery from a groped trade between wild quarterback Phillip Lindsay and center Lloyd Cushenberry late in the second quarter shattered an odd competition. . “(We) knew they couldn’t do too much, especially (with Hinton) being a quarterback for just one game.”