NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Let’s not sugarcoat what happened in the Superdome Sunday. The Saints did not play well.
They turned the ball over twice. For Michael Thomas, it was his second fumble in two weeks. Drew Brees misfired on two guaranteed touchdowns, and there were far too many penalties that stymied any semblance of offensive momentum in the first half. All in all, it was the kind of the game the Saints did not deserve to win.
Except, they did. And in the NFL, you take them any way you can get them. Moral victories don’t count in the standings. Ugly victories do.
Sure, the opponent certainly helped. The Browns keep inventing ways to not win games. It’s an addiction they can’t seem to kick. This time it was Zane Gonzales’ turn to step into their hall of shame. He missed four kicks, including two extra points. The second one after a miraculous throw from Tyrod Taylor to Antonio Callaway on fourth down late in the fourth quarter was particularly devastating. When the ball sailed outside the uprights, everyone in the stadium was stunned. They also had little doubt who was going to win at that point.
The reality of the circumstances surrounding the outcome were not lost on head coach Sean Payton afterward.
“I'm not real happy right now,” Payton explained. “Honestly, I’m glad we won but as a coach you see a lot of things that will keep you from winning more important games. We've got a lot of work to do.”
Anyone who watched that game would completely agree.
The Saints were very fortunate Sunday, and likely won’t get away with that kind of performance again this season. But whether it was their opponent’s collapse or his own team’s resilience, Payton knows wins are never easy to get in the NFL. And it’s a whole lot better waking up on Monday morning 1-1 instead of 0-2. Something they’ll do for the first time tomorrow since 2013.