Even though I predicted the Saints win yesterday, and even predicted Nick Toon’s first-ever NFL touchdown, I wasn’t anywhere near as impressed with the Saints’ performance as the T-P writers seem to have been. The Saints D gave up 538 yards, even with Ben Roethlisberger noticeably off target for the entire rest of the game after hurting his hand on a follow-through against Curtis Lofton. Indeed, had Big Ben been on target, the Steelers might have put the game away pretty quickly. SO many times the Steelers’ receivers were quite open on key plays, only to have Big Ben miss them (usually on overthrows). This was not good defense; it was lucky defense. Meanwhile, our return teams still can’t generate a single big play. Our defenders still drop too many potential interceptions. Our D seems to tire late in games: Giving up 16 points in the final three minutes is inexcusable, especially on a 98-yard drive, even if you are protecting a lead of 19. And the performance on third-and-long on D, before Roethlisberger’s injury, remained rather weak.

Fortunately, the Saints play a reeling Panther team this coming week, a team that has lost seven straight. And we usually beat them when we’re at home, as we will be. So we might grab another win even if we keep performing so inconsistently. But anybody who thinks we’re suddenly a good team isn’t thinking straight. To make the playoffs, even against a schedule of three weak opponents in the remaining four weeks, will require a hard slog, with lots of anxious moments.


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