WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVUE) - There was a nostalgic feel when the Saints entered FedEx Field Sunday.
The last time they were here in December of 2009, they pulled off one of the most improbable victories of the Sean Payton regime. It truly was a surreal win in a surreal season that ended with the ultimate glory.
As the Saints exited Sunday 4-6 following a disastrous 33-point loss, we were all reminded of just how special that season truly was and just how far away this organization currently is from those glory days.
It's been a tough year for Saints, no doubt. But this feels deeper than that. This team, this run and this era appear to be on it's last leg.
It's funny how it all bubbles up at once. Just two weeks ago, nearly everyone was almost back on board with a team that appeared to be turning things around. But deep down, did anyone REALLY believe it?
The holes on the roster are too big. Despite six draft picks spent on defense and several free agents on that side of the ball in recent years, they're somehow worse off. Yes, it will likely cost Rob Ryan his job at some point, either in-season or shortly after. He'll deserve it. But it will do nothing to address why New Orleans seems to be the destination where defensive coordinators come to die.
The offense is productive but not nearly as lethal as in year's past. Plus, having to score 40 points to win every game is not a formula for success.
Add it all up and this team is not good enough to consistently overcome their weaknesses. They can't play a subpar game and still win. That team I described above could. In fact, the last time they were here, that was the exact scenario. Washington outplayed them but the Saints still found a way.
Zach Strief told me earlier this week that what he learned from 2009's wild win was that good teams always find a way to win.
On Sunday, he and other players had that similar solemn look in their eyes. That not just a season but an era may be coming to an end sooner than they would like.