Can you gain confidence in defeat? It certainly stands to reason that you can lose it when defeated.
Both the Browns and the Saints lost to their most bitter rivals on the road last week on a game-winning field goal. A loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh wasn't unusual for the Browns. They haven't won on the road there in 11 years. Nor was a season-opening loss unusual for the Browns. This marks 10 straight seasons that they've lost their opener.
But what was unusual was the way the Browns overcame a 24-point deficit to tie the Steelers and the way that quarterback Brian Hoyer completely turned around his game in the second half. It was like the difference between night and day.
For the Saints in Atlanta last Sunday, it was the difference between day and night. They squandered a 13-point lead in the second quarter, allowing 17 unanswered points to the Falcons, eventually losing to a rival they have recently dominated both home and away.
Considering the way the Browns battled in defeat and the Saints' defense was strafed in their upset by the Falcons, this game doesn't seem nearly as much an easy win for the Saints and as one-sided a loss for the Browns as it might have appeared to the fans of either team one week ago.
Sunday we'll find out if there's a positive hangover for one or a negative hangover for the other after the way each played. In the end, of course, only the result will matter - not how it occurred.
As new Browns Coach Mike Pettine put it in Pittsburgh, "There's a phrase for almost winning. It's called losing."