The New Orleans Saints pieced together an incredibly impressive signature win on Sunday, besting Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the shocking tune of 36-27. The victory moved the Saints to a spectacular 5-2 record through seven games and into the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff picture. It unfortunately wasn’t all good news for head coach Sean Payton and the Saints, as starting quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending knee injury. It represents a monumental blow for an offense that is now tasked with finding its way in the wake of a disheartening injury.
Winston was replaced by backup quarterback Trevor Siemian, who performed admirably in his absence. The former seventh-round selection completed 16-of-29 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. Jack-of-all-trades Taysom Hill figures to factor into this conversation, but the dual-threat quarterback continues to deal with a concussion. As things currently stand, that leaves Siemian as the favorite to start New Orleans' crucial Week 9 contest against the Atlanta Falcons. With New Orleans' season beginning in such impressive fashion, it would be a fool's errand to entrust the remainder of it to the 29-year-old Siemian.
Don't look now, but an extremely intriguing candidate appears to be waiting in the wings. Philip Rivers, a currently retired and future Canton-bound quarterback, is apparently willing to listen to the Saints should they be interested in adding him, he recently told Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Farmer. The Saints have no reason to avoid exploring the possibility.
It may sound chaotic, but stranger things have happened. When asked about a potential return to the NFL in 2021, Rivers hit reporters with the wide-open response of: "Who knows?" It was wise of Rivers, who undoubtedly still possesses the competitive juices necessary to play, to leave the door open to joining a playoff-contending team should one be in a bind at the quarterback position, and one just revealed itself in the Saints.
The 39-year-old Rivers performed beyond admirably as an Indianapolis Colt in 2020. The nine-time Pro Bowler completed an impressive 68% of his passes while throwing for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns versus just 11 interceptions. The Colts finished a healthy 11-5 and earned a much-deserved playoff spot in the AFC.
Rivers may not be the gunslinger he once was, but his 7.7 yards per attempt is a full yard greater than Siemian's career average of 6.7 yards per throwing attempt. Even in his current semi-retired form, there is no question that Rivers is better suited to lead the Saints to the playoffs than Siemian or Hill are.
For everything Rivers has accomplished throughout his extremely illustrious career, his failure to capture a Super Bowl title is haunting for a fiery competitor such as himself. It's precisely why Rivers is willing to listen to a pitch (confirmed by Rivers himself) by the uber-respected Payton and his 5-2, playoff-bound Saints. Although nobody considers the Saints favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVI, adding a highly-decorated signal-caller like Rivers would certainly increase their chances of doing so. Their shared burning desire to win should ultimately bring Payton and Rivers together.