From a dramatic goaline stand to a last minute game-winning drive to an offensive explosion on Monday Night Football, the Saints (5-0) have enjoyed a variety to their wins this fall. Against the Bears, the Saints defense set the tone early, while the Black-and-Gold took Chicago out of its comfort zone.
"That game was much different than other ones we've won earlier in the year," coach Sean Payton said. "I think it's just understanding and being able to play smart football."
Safety Malcolm Jenkins added, "To get that kind of start, get our offense the ball and more opportunities early, because we knew their defense was going to try to force turnovers and get stops, they have a good defense, so for us to get off to a fast start was big for us."
The Saints gradually built a double-digit lead before the half, and then grinded their way through the end, picking up the 26-18 victory, their first win in Chicago under Payton. The coaching staff has preached that the formula to winning changes week by week.
"They're not all played the same way, and understanding as a team what it takes to win that specific game, is something that if your team gets, and I think we're beginning to, is an important trait," Payton said.
And one of the biggest keys to the Saints win yesterday was protecting the pigskin, not turning the ball over once, for the first time this season.
"It's tough to get wins on the road when you play a good team like that, there are going to be certain things you have to do to give you a chance to win, and that's one of them," Payton said. "I felt like throughout the course of the game, it wasn't loose out there. There was one time on Pierre's touchdown, it kinda came free and he recovered it, but I thought we handled that element real well."
The Saints are 5-0 for the fourth time in franchise history, but the players are not ready to say they've done anything extraordinary.
"Five wins only gets you five wins, you know?" Jenkins said. "You would be an idiot to listen to that stat and think that you're automatically going to the playoffs. Winning five games literally gets you nothing but five games. People are going to throw that around and look forward, but right now we're just trying to get six."
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