It represented a fourth consecutive loss for the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where the team started the year 3-0, including a win over the Green Bay Packers. Since then, home games have been a disaster for the Saints, but none more so than Sunday's showing against the Panthers.
One week after earning a 35-32 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers that improved the team to 5-7 and kept the team even with the Atlanta Falcons at the top of the division, Saints head coach Sean Payton said the team played an "embarrassing" game against the Panthers. After affording themselves some breathing room with the win over the Steelers, Payton was asked after the game if the Saints relax some after wins.
"They shouldn't. We're not that good," Payton said. "I don't know if it's being not able to handle a little bit of prosperity or a little bit of success. We're not that good."
It wasn't until less than six minutes remained in the fourth quarter that the Saints were finally able to score against the Panthers. The touchdown came after New Orleans dug into a 41-3 hole against a Panthers team that entered the game 3-8-1 and climbed back into NFC South contention with the win.
Payton said after the loss the performance was bad enough to warrant the team rethinking how it goes about preparing for games:
"You pick an area, you pick a phase and it was awful. You're not going to have a chance to win when you turn it over that frequently in the first quarter, you don't tackle, you give up almost 300 yards rushing, (and) jump(ing) offsides. You name it, check it off. Here's the thing I told them, let's make sure we're crystal clear. It's not a question of, ‘What do you think?' It's crystal clear. There's no question as to why. It's right out there, we just saw it. We have to look closely at everything: preparation, who we're asking to do it starting with me. It isn't a giant mystery. To win in this league, we did all the things that keep you from winning."
Next up for the Saints is a Monday Night Football matchup on the road against the Chicago Bears in Week 15.