The New Orleans Saints entered uncharted waters in Sunday’s 40-29 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Playoff hopes, for the first time in years, officially feel more uncertain than not. Three straight losses are one thing. This was an implosion. While injuries excuse a lot, New Orleans’ downward spiral to 5-5 has taken on an identity of its own.
In their scrappy win in Seattle, it was apparent the season-long loss of Michael Thomas had implications past personnel groupings; a psychological element afflicting the receivers was hard to ignore. What no one foresaw was the impending loss of Jameis Winston – nor how quickly the house of cards would fall thereafter. Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia felt abnormally demoralizing for the number of games remaining.
Should we have seen this coming? In a span of three weeks, winning ugly in chaos took an abrupt turn. Factors lauded early in the season such as winning the turnover battle, controlling the clock, converting third downs with mobility, and error-free football suddenly became liabilities. Those risks saw consequences in all three phases of the game. All of which to a loss of any identity on the team at all: