In the winning Carolina Panther locker room, tight end Greg Olsen was saying, "We've seen what we're capable of."
If more than the team captains had stuck around the Saints' locker room, they might have said the same. We've all seen in the first 13 games of the season what the saints are capable of, too. Better than some of the best, worse than some of the worst, and never more graphically than the last two weeks.
Winning is the world's best deodorant. A week ago in Pittsburgh, the smell was roast turkey on Thanksgiving morning. Yesterday in the Dome it was the equivalent of finding last year's fruit cake in the attic.
Drew Brees led the "who dat" chant to fire up the crowd in pre-game. More appropriately for the offense, he might have led the crowd in "now I lay me down to sleep."
The annoying siren to fire up the crowd when the Saints needed to make a third-down stop might have been replaced by a funeral dirge. The Saints legion of gloom defense put up all the resistance of cheap wrapping paper in the hands of a 6-year-old on Christmas morning.
The Panthers averaged 5 yards per carry - before first contact. Two-hundred of their 271 yards before being touched. Jonathan Stewart's longest run of his career, second best rushing day for him in five years. Cam Newton, the second-most-sacked quarterback in the league – unsacked - virtually untouched. That's Stewart running and Newton passing behind the only offensive line besides the Raiders' that hasn't snapped the football once all season with a first-round draft choice as a member of that offensive line.
There's more. A lot more. But let's be charitable. After all, it's the holiday season. Let's look ahead to the Atlanta Falcons' visit on Dec. 21, when the Saints will try to end a drought of 56 days between home wins. And let's hope both they and we will remember that despite some of the wretched setbacks, the goal is not to end this journey in 2014 but to extend it to 2015.
'Tis the reason for the season - a season from which reason took a holiday.