The New Orleans Saints began of the worst stretches in team history on this date, 12 years ago.

On the other hand, immediately after that awful stretch ended, the Saints began the best run in franchise history.

I guess you could say that it began as a nightmare, but ended as a fantasy.

On Monday night, September 19, 2005, the Saints lost to the New York Giants, 27-10, the beginning of a stretch in which the team would lose 8 of 9 games, before finishing the season at 3-13.

Of course, that was the Katrina season, so there was a little bit of a legitimate excuse, but 2005 is a season that most Saints fans will be unable to forget, even though they'd like to.

A lot of people forget though; the Saints actually got off to a good start in 2005, defeating the Carolina Panthers, 23-20, in their season opener.

The game against the Giants was originally scheduled to be played in New Orleans, but was shifted to Giants Stadium, due to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

The Giants jumped on top early, taking a 14-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdowns run by Brandon Jacobs, prior to a 6-yard touchdown pass by Eli Manning to Tiki Barber, and never looked back, en route to the 17-point win.

If you remember the game however, the Saints, had they hung on to the ball, could have easily won.

New Orleans actually outgained New York, in terms of total yards, 422-257, including a 375-165 advantage in passing yards.

Think about that; the Saints outgained the Giants by 165 yards, yet lose by 17 points.

The reason was simple; turnovers.

The Saints turned the ball over to the Giants on six different occasions, including three fumbles and three interceptions.

New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks threw for 375 yards, but was picked off three times, while Deuce McAllister was held to 47 rushing yards.

It was an incredibly frustrating loss, but the worse was still to come, as the Saints finished with the second-worst record in the league that year, the final one under former head coach Jim Haslett.

Sometimes, one play can change the entire complexion on a game around, and sometimes, one game can change the entire complexion of a season around.

What if the Saints had protected the football better and defeated the Giants? At 2-0, could their season had turned out entirely different.

Playing home games at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, as well as Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, probably not. That likely would have caught up with them, at some point, but at least the ugliness would have been kept at bay a little while longer.

I mean, there was talk that the Saints wouldn't even return to New Orleans.

2-0 would have been great, but you have to believe that the downward spiral would have begun, at some point. It just happened to begin on that night, in front of a prime time audience.

Then again, the ugliness that began on September 19, 2005, had somewhat of a happy ending.

One year later, the Saints had a new head coach (Sean Payton), a new quarterback (Drew Brees), were back in the Superdome, helping rebuild the city of New Orleans, and turned their fortunes completely around, going 10-6, and appearing in the NFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history.

Few would have ever imagined, just four years after that Monday Night Game, a home game in New York, that the Saints would win the Super Bowl.

If you were watching on Monday, September 19, 2017, you probably had no idea of what was coming, both bad and good.

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