The following day one of Horn's teammates, halfback Deuce McAllister, experienced a similar sensation while getting an up-close-and-personal view of the aftermath. He had traveled to New Orleans from Jackson, Miss., with a trio of Salvation Army volunteers, and on a raised section of Interstate 10 in the heart of the city, he watched as a young man in a black Yankees cap and tattered T-shirt helped soldiers lift a motionless, elderly man from a wheelchair onto a stretcher. The young man looked on silently as the soldiers then loaded the man onto a military chopper, which soon sped away. Recognizing McAllister, the guy in the ball cap approached him and explained, "I'm just trying to get my grandpa up out of here." McAllister nodded and told him to keep his head up. The young man turned to leave, then walked back toward the running back. "I like the way you're playing," he said, smiling broadly. "Hey, did y'all win the Raiders game?"
Later, McAllister marveled, "You talk about die-hards. This guy's hanging onto his life, like so many others, and he's worried about what the Saints did? It's very humbling."
Inspired by the devotion of their fans, the Saints arrived in Charlotte as seven-point underdogs against the Panthers, a trendy Super Bowl pick. New Orleans opened with a 15-play, 80-yard drive, which was capped by the first of two McAllister touchdown runs. After Carolina rallied to tie the game with just more than a minute remaining, the Saints, fueled by a lunging 25-yard catch from Horn, won 23-20 on John Carney's last-second, 47-yard field goal.
Late that night, after arriving at the team's makeshift headquarters at a hotel along the San Antonio Riverwalk, Horn had a vivid understanding of the impact of the Saints' triumph. "All of them were on our minds and in our hearts," he said of the fans, his voice choking up with emotion. "We knew, to a man, that we had to win that game by any means necessary."
Suddenly, you could almost hear Horn's words in the Astrodome on that emotional Saturday afternoon in early September. Y'all take care of each other. We gonna roll through this, no doubt.