After Further Review: Unspectacular win only enhances Saints true growth
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Saints didn't play their best game Sunday. Yet, at no point did it ever truly feel like they would lose. That's when you know things are going right.
One look at the final stat sheet, and I did a double take. It certainly didn't feel like the Bears dominated the Saints on third down. It certainly didn't feel like the Saints lost the turnover battle.
When those things normally happen, the outcome of the game feels very much in doubt. That was not the case Sunday. Against the Bears, the fear of losing was never real. Even after Mark Ingram's two fourth quarter fumbles, the win felt imminent.
That is the biggest difference between the 2017 Saints and the 7-9 groups that lined up the last three seasons. In those years, the slightest sign of adversity spelled doom.
I think back to the near-perfect game they played against Carolina at home in 2015. Somehow, they still walked away with a devastating loss.
This season, the reverse is true. Not even multiple, self-inflicted wounds can shake the inevitable feeling of victory. It's a mindset this organization once had. After years of searching, they finally have it back again.
"It was a good team win, but nobody is real satisfied in that locker room right now. We still have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of room for improvement. We are not satisfied where we are right now. We still feel like we have a long way to go," Drew Brees said after the game.
It's a true but predictable response. Brees knows his team can play a whole lot better. He knows playing like that will get them beat against stronger teams.
But he also knows that in recent years his team was the one other teams were talking about playing bad and still beating. It's much better sitting where the Saints currently do. Brees knows he'd rather criticize ugly wins than put on the optimistic face after a heartbreaking loss.
He knows he's had to do that way too often the last three seasons. Last week I said it's getting harder to stay skeptical about this Saints team. This week I'm saying you're crazy if you still are. And it's not always because of good they're playing. On Sunday, it's because of unspectacular they were.
And yet they keep on winning.
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