The New Orleans Saints have been a bit a surprise this season, and it’s not because of their usual offensive explosiveness, it’s because they look like a shell of themselves en route to two consecutive losses to bring their record on the season to 1-2.
The Saints dropped Sunday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers which marked the first time that they have lost back-to-back games since 2017.
Now, head coach Sean Payton says it’s gut check time.
“It’s been a while since we felt that, but three years ago, we were 0-2. A little bit of a gut check, and yet we aren’t playing well enough. Let’s not fool ourselves,” Payton said, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “We’re making too many mistakes. We aren’t playing disciplined enough on both sides of the ball. That’s really just the truth.
“You’re frustrated as a coach because that starts with us. We have to do a better job. We have to get ready to play a better game against Detroit [on the road next week].”
Despite the epic performance of Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who poured in a career-high 139 receiving yards on 13 catches, a total of 197 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, the Saints still took the loss.
“I think we just gotta find more,” Kamara said. “We gotta find more on offense, we gotta find more on defense, we gotta find more on special teams. We all gotta do more. We gotta correct the mistakes. It’s little things killing us — penalties, some of the same stuff that went on last week. We just gotta play smarter. We gotta play better.”
“Listen, he’s a special football player,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “It’s nice when you’ve got a weapon like that, that you just get the ball in his hands in space, and he’s tough to tackle, and he’s just kind of a human highlight reel.”
Brees saw a return to normalcy, a bit, throwing for 288 yards and three TDs.
“We called a couple shot plays today, and unfortunately, again we just got bad looks,” Brees said. “Ironically, the second one was the one where I threw it to Alvin Kamara, and he went 52 yards for a touchdown.
“So I don’t care how far I have to throw the ball down the field. My job’s to make good decisions. I’m not gonna force it if it’s not there.”
It’s fair to note that the Saints have been without superstar wide receiver Michael Thomas, who has been out since Week 1 with a high ankle sprain.
“If you’re a veteran player in this league, you know you are not guaranteed anything year to year,” Brees said. “You come out and have to earn it. Based on the last two losses, we need to take a hard look here. What we’re doing, how we’re doing it, we need to be doing it better, bottom line.
“Listen, I love our team. I love the way we work, the way we prepare. But obviously, there are things that need to be corrected so we can get back on track.”