NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Monday night was supposed to be the New Orleans Saints' bounce back game.
The circumstances were too perfect.
An emotional anniversary. A bitter rival in prime time. They would have even moved into first place in the NFC South with their inevitable victory.
The start was flawless. Drew Brees was on point. Mark Ingram ran inspired. Coby Fleener became a factor. The Saints scored and went up, 7-0. The crowd was jacked. The black and gold were on their way. The defense even responded with a stop.
Then, the Falcons punted. It should have been a fair catch with the Saints taking over. Instead, De'Vante Harris collided with Marcus Murphy then foolishly decided try to catch the ball off the bounce and fumbled. The Falcons recovered and went on to score a touchdown.
The Saints were never the same again. Atlanta would finish their next four drives with touchdowns and won big, 45-32.
There was a time when a Monday night game, against the Falcons, at home, with this head coach, wouldn't have been a question of 'if' but by 'how much' would the Saints win. But those days seem light years away.
Presently, a new normal has emerged. A new normal where a first quarter miscue can derail an entire game. A new normal where the month of September is one where the losses mount. A new normal where one of the most feared home field advantages in football has become the place where the Saints could go 4-11 in their last 15 games.
There's still time to fix it. But, sadly, we know where the new normal of an 0-3 start usually takes the Saints.