When it comes to disappointing performances for the Saints under Sean Payton, the voice of the Saints, Jim Henderson said Sunday tops the list:
"With so much on the line and so much to play for and the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with a victory...to come out with this flat of a performance truly is shocking. When you look back at the 2011 season at St. Louis, it's in the middle of the season...you're facing a winless team, you're leading your division...yeah, you can afford a loss, yeah, they're going to beat somebody some time, not to excuse it but you can look at that loss and say 'yeah, I kind of understand it.' This one is hard to understand and hard to put in perspective."
The 27-16 loss further enhances their reputation that the best way to beat the Saints is to face the Saints away from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"You look at the loss in New England against the Patriots, Tom Brady and the Patriots are almost impossible to beat on their home field in the month of October, you can kind of excuse that. Nobody beats Seattle any time of the year in Seattle, you can kind of excuse that although the Saints played awfully poorly there. The Jets game...that was a disheartening loss and to me, yesterday's game, in many ways, reflected that."
Sunday's loss got a different reaction from coach Payton. He was direct and frank in his postgame remarks about their performance and certain personnel, particularly left tackle Charles Brown, who was benched in the beginning of the third quarter for poor performance. According to Henderson, benching a starting offensive lineman midway through a game was a first for Payton.
"This, as you mentioned, was a sign of Sean Payton we'd never seen before. He had every opportunity to trump up some kind of excuse for Charles Brown and we never would have known the better of it. He could've said he had flu like symptoms, or he was getting dehydrated, or his back tightened up...we would have never had an answer as to whether that was true or not. Instead, this is the first time I can ever remember him calling out a player. We talked about this all after the game, our broadcast crew did. Hokie Gajan, to his credit, has been on Charles Brown all season long. From preseason on, this guy is not a good left tackle, they should be thinking about replacing him one way or another with Armstead or someone so he was saying 'I'm so glad Sean did this because he needed it, he needed to be called out, and the players need to know this type of effort is not acceptable.' The other school of thought is that this is the first guy he's ever called out so in possibly lighting a fire under Charles Brown, do you also extinguish whatever confidence he had. In the locker room, what are other veterans saying about 'did you hear what he said about Charles Brown?' so does that perhaps divide your locker room? Does that push the coach away from the players?"