2-2 is certainly not a record to throw a parade over. But it sure beats the alternative if the Saints hadn’t gotten the job done in London against the Dolphins.
1-3 vs. 2-2 is the difference of one NFL game. But for this team that one game is absolutely everything.They know exactly what happens when they start a season losers of three of their first four. For three straight years they tried to overcome it, and for three straight years they’ve failed to do so.
Thankfully, there won’t be a fourth. To be free of that early season mental burden that drained everyone in the organization as the calendar barely touched October has to be refreshing.
Make no mistake, this is not the time for the Saints to pat themselves on the back. We’re not quite sure where this team stands in the hierarchy of the NFL. Are they good enough to contend? That’s still way too early tell.
But it’s also true that their confidence is growing. Regardless of opponent, they’ve played two stellar games on defense. A shutout is a shutout in the NFL. The league is designed for even the worst offenses to score points.
As for their own offense, they’ve found some rhythm after two early season embarrassments. They also seem to have gotten a solid grasp who should be doing what on that side of the ball. That’s good news for Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Not so much for Adrian Peterson.
All in all, the current vibe is understandably good. But where they go from here is what’s most important. What good is a five hundred first quarter if in the next three quarters they fall short?
They’ve only begun 2-2 one other time in the Sean Payton era, in 2008, and finished 8-8 that season. That won’t be good enough after three straight 7-9 campaigns.
The road to the finish line of this Saints season is still a long one. But for the first time in a long time, the Saints finished the first quarter still very much in the race.
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