NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As crazy as it sounds, I think the Saints put forth one of their best efforts of the season Sunday.
They truly played their hearts out.
The defense forced three takeaways. One resulted in a touchdown, one in a missed field goal, the other prevented a likely score.They even made history when Stephone Anthony returned a blocked extra point for two points.
It didn't matter. They still left with their eighth loss of the season.
When Delvin Breaux went down, the Saints secondary suddenly became Swiss cheese. And that was all Cam Newton needed. He caught fire and the Saints could do nothing but match score for score.
Give the Saints credit, they gave the Panthers ALL they could handle.
Even when Mark Ingram scored with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, you could just sense in the Dome that a Newton-led touchdown drive was inevitable.
Which leads me to the entire theme of this season: the saints just simply aren't good enough to overcome the natural adversity that arises in a game. They truly have to play near perfect to win.
Cam Jordan acknowledged as much after the game.
"We have to have everything go our way to get these wins. We didn't do that today."
They haven't done that enough all season. And not because of coaching or officiating or tough luck. It's because of talent. The Saints are not as good as the majority of their opponents.
League parity will always give them a chance. But the teams with less talent have a smaller margin of error for victories. That's where the Saints get into trouble.
This more than anything else is the reason the Saints lost Sunday. It's the reason they're now 4-8, and it's the reason they'll have their third non-winning season in four years.