An excellent football team played a bad game.
They came out flat, made mistakes, were fundamentally unsound, and got beat in the trenches. This football team – one that was nearly universally regarded as being one of the best teams in the NFL – let itself get beat by the Philadelphia Eagles, a three-win team led by a rookie quarterback in his first start.
The game was hard to watch. The Saints made the kind of mistakes that are supposed to decay and freeze over by winter, at least for good teams. This loss is the kind of loss that sometimes makes it hard to maintain perspective. The Saints surrendered possession of the first seed, and all mistakes appear magnified when you avert your gaze from the wreckage and see Patrick Mahomes on the horizon, about seven days away.
After a loss like this, it's hard to maintain perspective, to remember the Saints have gone 3-1 with a backup quarterback, despite being on the road three weeks in a row. It might have been sunny in Philadelphia, but this performance brought too much shade to see bright sides. Not immediately after a 24-21 loss to this Eagles team. Not with Mahomes coming. Not after losing the No. 1 seed.
The Saints lost this game knowing how it was going to be played. Earlier this week, Sean Payton highlighted the issue with playing the Eagles. He noted the Eagles are unique in their ability to create consistent pressure with their front four, which allows them to drop seven players in coverage.