Saints struggle at home in 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions

Drew+Brees+speaks+to+reportes+in+a+press+conference+following+the+team%27s+28-13+loss+to+the+Detroit+Lions.+The+Saints+now+stand+at+5-7+on+the+season.+Photo+credit%3A+Ryan+Micklin
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Saints struggle at home in 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions

Drew Brees speaks to reportes in a press conference following the team's 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Saints now stand at 5-7 on the season. Photo credit: Ryan Micklin

Drew Brees speaks to reportes in a press conference following the team's 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Saints now stand at 5-7 on the season. Photo credit: Ryan Micklin

Drew Brees speaks to reportes in a press conference following the team's 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Saints now stand at 5-7 on the season. Photo credit: Ryan Micklin

Drew Brees speaks to reportes in a press conference following the team's 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Saints now stand at 5-7 on the season. Photo credit: Ryan Micklin

Ryan Micklin

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The New Orleans Saints struggled immensely in a must-win game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Dec. 4 in the Superdome. One stat can sum it all up for you: Drew Brees failed to throw a touchdown pass at home for the first time in 7 years.

“For us offensively, you have to convert third downs and score more points and we didn’t do that today,” said Brees.

Brees, uncharacteristically, threw 3 interceptions in the 28-13 loss and failed to throw a single touchdown pass one week removed from his impressive 310 yard, five touchdown outing in the a dominant 49-21 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

“We looked sluggish. It looked like we came off a short week or something. It starts with me. We have got to be better,” said head coach Sean Payton.

The Saints failed to score a touchdown in the first half for the third time in their last four games but the Saints defense tightened up in the redzone and forced the Lions to settle for field goals—keeping the Saints within reaching distance as the Lions entered the fourth quarter with a 19-6 lead.

The Saints clawed back and constructed a seven play, 75 yard scoring drive in the early stages of the fourth quarter making it a 19-13 ball game with 13:32 remaining in the game.

On the ensuing possession, the Saints forced the Lions into a critical third and long play, but subsequently gave up a 66 yard touchdown pass as Matthew Stafford connected with Golden Tate on a busted coverage that sealed the win for the (8-4) Lions.

Payton, who was rather irritable in the post game press conference, told reporters “Obviously, we’ve been up and down. Listen, I just finished telling you. Up and down. Last week, we came out and played well. This week—I just finished saying it—it was poor, a poor start.”

In an interview with ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Saints receiver Brandin Cooks acknowledged the team’s inconsistent play and compared the team to that of a yo-yo.

“Like Coach said, we can’t be that yo-yo team. And that’s what we’ve been doing. When we play at our level, we’re special,” said Cooks.

Cooks, who has been one of the Saints most productive receivers since being drafted in the first round in 2014, expressed his frustration with his role in the offense after last week’s blowout victory over the Rams—a game in which he garnered zero targets from Brees.

Shortly after, reports about Cooks and the Saints potentially parting ways began to surface but when Payton was asked about those reports after Sunday’s game he referred to them as “garbage” and quickly moved on to the next question.

This much is clear, the Saints remain two games behind both NFC South co-leaders—the (7-5) Atlanta Falcons and the (7-5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers—and because the Saints are scheduled to play both teams before season’s end; the Saints still contain legitimate playoff aspirations.

However, if the Saints can’t figure out how to overcome the slow offensive starts and inconsistent play; their playoff chances will vanish faster than you can say “Playoffs?”.

On Sunday, Dec. 11 the Saints will take on one of the NFC South co-leaders—the (7-5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers— in a must-win game. Kickoff is set 3:25 P.M.

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