Entering this season, Sean Payton's home winning percentage in New Orleans was just under 76 percent, 44 wins to just 14 losses, but in the past two weeks, the Saints have gone 0-for-0 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Sunday's loss to the Bengals was a head-scratcher, and even Payton was left looking for answers.
"You can be frustrated, you can be disappointed," Payton said. "A lot of times for me, you look closely in the mirror. We talk about it all the time as coaches. Hey, we're responsible to get these guys up to speed to give them the best chance. We're responsible to give them that plan that's necessary and then carry through the work week and get ready to play your best game. Oftentimes you take it personally. It's tough when you play a game like that."
The frustration does not just lie with the coaching staff, but in the locker room, where safety Kenny Vaccaro was most vocal with his disappointment.
"I think everybody needs to be critical of themselves, look yourself in the mirror," Vaccaro said. "Get that corrected, not change the whole scheme. Everyone's gotta do their job. It's apparent on tape, just individuals."
Payton added, "Quite honestly, everything he said, it wasn't really out of line. It was just that frustration of wanting to get results and wanting to get the win. So absolutely, it's important to him."
Before this two-game skid, the Saints appeared to have turned their season around, having reached .500 at 4-4 with wins over the Packers and Panthers. But that may have been fools' gold.
"We can't be reading the newspaper, reading the articles," cornerback Keenan Lewis said. "We won two games, and oh we back. You can't ever get comfortable. Gotta feel like the underdog. I'm pretty sure Drew will challenge us this week, don't worry about other cities, just play our game."
Payton added, "We gotta find a way to get a win this week. That's what's most important."
The Saints (4-6) host the Baltimore Ravens (6-4) on Monday Night Football.