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Friday, December 12, 2008
Summing up the Saints' season

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Vince Masi, of ESPN Stats & Information, just sent an e-mail in which he pretty much sums up the New Orleans Saints' ill-fated season.

Vince points out things could have gone a lot differently if their special teams had been a little bit better. And their defense, too. Quite easily, the Saints could be 10-4 right now, if things had gone a little differently. In fact, they could be even better than that because five of their seven losses have been by five or fewer points.

Here's a look at Vince's synopsis:

The Saints obviously don't agree with Schoolhouse Rock's thought that "3 Is A Magic Number." Three times this season, the Saints have either had game-winning field goal either miss or be the victims of a field goal that ended the game. It's these three games that will most likely prevent the Saints from making the playoffs and, most likely, put them in last place in the NFC South.

Week 3 at Broncos
The Saints were down 21-3 early in the second quarter but rallied to get within two points and had a chance to win. However, a 43-yard field goal by Martin Gramatica which would have given the Saints the lead went wide right. Saints lose 34-32.

Week 5 vs Vikings
Reggie Bush's two punt return touchdowns gave the Saints a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Bernard Berrian's touchdown reception tied the game but the Saints went right down the field. Again, Gramatica missed a late field goal, this time from 46 yards with 2:04 left. Minnesota gets the ball back and kicks its own game winning field goal with 13 seconds left for a 30-27 win.

Week 15 at Bears
The Saints rally from a 14-point deficit to take a three-point lead with just over three minutes remaining. The Bears go right down the field and end up tying the game on a field goal by Robbie Gould with no time left in regulation. Then after a questionable pass interference penalty, Gould kicks the Bears to a 27-24 OT win with a 35-yard field goal.

In total, five of the Saints seven losses this season have been by five points or fewer.