“A screaming comes across the sky.”
– Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
The arc of that gorgeous 2nd-and-7 pass from Drew Brees to Jimmy Graham for a 38-yard gain the first quarter of last weekend’s preseason game against the Colts was just, well, a perfect parabola. Lofted firmly but gently from the pocket, it sailed over the Mario-like chasing linebacker and settled into a sprinting Graham’s hands like a newborn passed from a maternity room nurse to the waiting mother. If it had been a golf shot, it would have stuck six, maybe seven inches from the hole.
You knew what you were seeing from the off-season, the training camp stories, Junior Gallette’s tweets, the draft choices and UDFA’s fighting for time and spots like 17 piglets on an 12-teat sow, Mark Ingram running downhill as if he had been a first round pick. And you wanted to believe. And now Brees, back, and perfect.
For some bizarre reason, Saints fans are always looking backwards and making comparisons. Maybe it’s the city’s obsession with history. Maybe it’s that we can never break the old 1970s habit of staring at the train wreck of the previous season in disbelief. Maybe it’s because we can’t believe how far we’ve come, like the fellow who finally hit it big and can’t resist the occasional discreet drive through the old neighborhood.
After Saturday’s beatdown (and it was) of the Colts, I decided to go back and look at the third preseason game from 2009. (You DO remember 2009, right?) Trying to set a tone for the season, a tone that Sean Payton started setting with four games left in 2008, the Saints went to Oakland and ran to a 31-0 halftime lead and a 45-7 win. (I am sure all of you fondly remember P.J. Hill’s two rushing touchdowns, and Joey Harrington’s TD pass to Skyler Green.) Yeah, I know it’s preseason.
Well, get ready to come up screaming again.