Under Sean Payton, the Saints have been extraordinary in primetime. In fact, Drew Brees had won nine straight Monday Night Football games. But that streak came to an end last night against the Seahawks in a game that Jim Henderson ranks at the bottom of the Sean Payton era:
"I think they played the Colts in 2007 in the season opener as I recall and that was one-sided but with as much at stake as this one had and as much buildup as this one had, to be that flat and to be beaten that badly in every aspect of the game...it's been a long time looking all the way back to that Colt encounter where I can remember a game like this where the Saints were beaten and beaten up so physically and so dominated in every way."
The previously stingy defense gave up 429 yards as Russell Wilson carved up Rob Ryan's unit through the air and on the ground. With two matchups with Cam Newton on the horizon, the formula exposed by the Seahawks could continue to be an issue for the saints:
"They did a pretty good job on Marshawn Lynch, that was their main concern coming in, as it has been the last couple weeks. They did such a good job on Frank Gore and Steven Jackson. We had a stat that the two of them, combined, had rushed for just over one hundred yards against the Saints in those two Saints victories so obviously they were keying on Marshawn Lynch and they did a pretty good job against him but then Russell Wilson made them pay in the passing game and he is a huge running threat. He hadn't been running recently. In the last two games, I think he'd only run the ball like five times, certainly he's capable of that and now they see the same thing again this week with Cam Newton coming to town."
After being front-runners for much of the season, the Saints now share the lead in the NFC South with the Panthers. With Carolina coming to town riding an eight game winning streak, the Saints will have to bounce back stronger than ever:
"Sean Payton said afterward and the Saints players said 'well we'll go back at the tape, there's a lot to learn from this. I know in previous games, the Saints have played opponents who had played so poorly the week before that they had thrown the tape out, they just wanted to completely flush it out of their minds. Now I can't see the Saints doing that but in as short a week as they're going to be faced with, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea."