It couldn’t get any simpler than this – the New Orleans Saints are 0-3 so far this season, losing to three teams (Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs) who are 0-6 against everyone else.
Is this showing just how important Sean Payton was to this football team? How important a head coach is, in general? How Drew Brees is following up a historic, record breaking season with a mediocre one, and not for the first time?
The Saints are the the eighth team in NFL history to start the season 0-3 after winning at least 13 games in the previous seasons. All of those teams never finished better than 8-8. And even if Drew Brees and the offense get over the fact that Sean Payton isn’t on the sidelines and start producing some serious numbers on offense, there’s the whole transition the defense is going through which simply isn’t working.
The Kansas City Chiefs are marked by many as the worst in the NFL. Matt Cassel had a bad game, but when Jamaal Charles sets the franchise record for yards on the ground for the second time, it’s enough to cover up for another bad game from your quarterback. Charles ran for 233 yards on 33 carries. That’s some big numbers, but running backs who get used up like that don’t often have long and productive careers. Just ask Larry Johnson, the previous record holder for the Chiefs, who carried the ball 416 times in the 2006 season. After two years of 1700 yards, he never rushed for over 1000 again.
And the Saints? It seems like there are so many problems they don’t know where to begin. The offensive line protecting Drew Brees, or at least giving him enough time to make plays; the running attack, gaining only 83 yards on the ground between Sproles, Thomas and Ingram; the defense, which is the worst in the NFL, with the 27 points they’ve allowed being the fewest they have all season.
And then there’s the confidence, that seems to be shaken up, almost broken, dropping an 18 points lead, very late in the third quarter. The Chiefs only scored one touchdown in their comeback, the rest done by Ryan Succop and four of his six field goals on the day.
Aaron Kromer, the Saints’ head coach, said it best – We’re obviously disappointed, but not disheartened. We don’t know how we’re supposed to act right now.