NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Only next Sunday will answer the question: Was yesterday an aberration or the continuance of a trend?
For the second straight game, the Saints never led for all 60 minutes of regulation. But unlike a week ago, the Saints could never even draw even at any point yesterday...could never benefit from a blown call by the officials to force overtime...and could never overcome the injured absence of key defensive performers.
Despite returning the second-half kickoff, the Saints yesterday were scoreless in the third quarter for the second consecutive game and have been out-scored 16-3 in the third quarter of their three losses.
While missing both starting cornerbacks, and with Kenny Vaccaro looking nothing like his pre-groin injury self, the Saints surrendered completions of 53, 38, 31 and 31 yards along with a 48-yard pass interference penalty.
On this day in the match-up of the two most surprising teams in the NFC, the Rams were clearly the better team in all areas, deserving of the slight favorite's role the odds-makers had forecast.
In the next two games, the Saints must reheat quickly to match the temperature of the Panthers and Falcons, who recently have the Panthers on a four-game winning streak...the Falcons winners of their last three.
This is the kind of December crucible that has the NFL schedule-maker wringing his hands in delight. Four of the Saints' last five games against NFC South opponents...two of those being the Falcons in the space of three games. All four NFC South teams with three of their final five games at home.
The Panthers and the Falcons rounding into the teams everyone thought they would be. The Saints anxious to return to the team they have been...yesterday but a pothole on the unexpected road to the NFC South title.