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The 2001 New Orleans Saints Season – part 3

Regular Season
Sep 9 Buffalo W 24-6
Sep 16 No Games due to
911
Sep 23 BYE WEEK
Sep 30 Giants L 13-21
Oct 7 Vikings W 28-15
Oct 14 Panthers W 27-25
Oct 21 Falcons L 13-20
Oct 28 Rams W 34-31
Nov 4 Jets L 9-16
Nov 11 49ers L 27-28
Nov 18 Colts W 34-20
Nov 25 Patriots L 17-34
Dec 2 Panthers W 27-23
Dec 9 Falcons W 28-10
Dec 16 Rams L 21-34
Dec 23 Buccaneers L 21-48
Dec 30 Redskins L 10-40
Jan 6 49ers L 0-38

So at 7-5 a second consecutive playoff appearance was within reach.
The Rams…… in the Super dome……. on Monday Night. What else could Saint Fans hope for, especially after the last encounter with the Rams resulted in a wild come-from behind victory?
By the third quarter, with the Rams leading, 28-14, the Saints appeared to get their magic going again. They closed the gap to 28-21 after a 28 yard strike from Brooks to Willie Jackson. What made it special was that it was third and goal from the 28 after 3 straight offensive penalties had pushed them back from the Rams 4. Indeed, it looked like another rally was about to happen. On the following Ram drive, Ernie Conwell was stripped of the ball by Sammy Knight at the Saint’s 6. But the Saints offense could not capitalize. Jeff Wilkens added 2 more field goals before the game was over as the Rams clinched a playoff spot with the victory. New Orleans dropped to 7-6.
With the playoffs still a possibility, we traveled to take on Tampa Bay, also sporting a 7-6 record and entertaining possibilities of a playoff berth.
Tampa apparently wanted it more as they rolled up New Orleans 48-21. Aaron Stecker returned the opening kickoff 86 yards to set up the Bucs first score and it just went downhill from there. The Saints didn’t score until half-way through the third quarter, and by then it was 30-0. Brooks was sacked 3 times and threw 4 interceptions. The Saints had no sacks. No turnovers.
Despite the 2 straight losses, there was still an outside chance at a wildcard playoff spot and it was the struggling Washington Redskins next on the schedule. The Saints jumped out 10-0 after a 22-yard TD reception by Deuce McAllister and 29-yard John Carney field goal.

That’s when Washington came to life. Giving up 40 unanswered points, the Saints were officially knocked out of playoff contention after the 40-10 romp. New Orleans appeared unprepared and unmotivated. Aaron Brooks, sacked 3 times, had but 127 yards passing and threw 3 interceptions. Jim Haslett’s response was that he thought they played a good first half.
The 2001 New Orleans Saints NFL season ended with an atrocious performance against San Francisco. Ricky Williams fumbled 3 times and Aaron Brooks threw 4 interceptions as we were literally turned over and spanked 38-0. It was the worst home game defeat since the 1973 62-7 trouncing at the hands of the Falcons. The deepest penetration by the offense was the 49er 34 and that drive ended in an interception.
The San Francisco loss ended a 4-game losing streak where New Orleans was out scored 160-52. We didn’t score a point the last 7 quarters of the season and gave up 78. Even the 1980 season wasn’t as bad.
With the hopes of building upon the success of the 2000 season many thought the Saints moment had finally come. The 2001 New Orleans Saints season, for many, would be one of the most disappointing seasons in Saints History. The emotion of the previous year seemed to be replaced with complacency. Even Jim Haslett’s once fiery sideline outbursts disappeared. By year’s end the team almost as a whole seemed uninterested and unmotivated. Joe Horn went as far as saying game film of the Washington game would show some teammates half-stepping. At another time Horn stated he felt that the team suffered from “chemistry problems”. Incidents such as Albert Connell’s theft of almost $4,000 from rookie Deuce McAllister didn’t help the situation. Connell was arrested and later claimed it was just a prank.

In my opinion, the 2001 Saints season began a period of inconsistency that frustrated fans for the next 4 years. How the same team could score 18 points in a comeback a powerhouse like St. Louis one week and give up 40 unanswered to a team like Washington another week was baffling. What didn’t help matters was that Jim Haslett’s attitude seemed to be that everything was OK and under control.

  • La' Roi Glover sacks Chris Chandler of the Atlanta FalconsLa’ Roi Glover made his second Pro Bowl
  • Ricky Williams 2001 New Orleans SaintsRickey Williams became the first Saint with back-to-back 1000 yard seasons

 

Two Saints made the Pro Bowl. Sammy Knight, with 6 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries, 120 tackles and 1 sack made his first. It was La’ Roi Glover’s second with 8 sacks.
Ricky Williams became the first New Orleans Saint runningback to have back-to-back 1000 yard seasons as he led the team in rushing with 1245 yards and 6 TD’s averaging 4.0 yards a carry. Joe Horn led in receiving with 83 catches and 1265 yards. He also led in touchdowns with 9. Willie Jackson was right behind with 81 catches and 1046 yards, 5 touchdowns.
Aaron Brooks, while tying Jim Everett’s team record of 26 passing touchdowns in a season also tied Archie Manning’s record of 22 interceptions in a season. He did have 3832 yards passing (third best in team history) and completed 55.9% of his 558 passes. John Carney led the team in scoring with 113 points – 27 of 31 field goals and 32 extrapoints

Defensively, Charlie Clemons had 13.5 sacks (tied for 3rd in the NFC), 123 tackles and 1 interception. Joe Johnson was second on the team in sacks with 9 (65 tackles). Sammy Knight lead with 6 interceptions and was second in team tackles with 120. He also had 10 passes defended.


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