1 WHAT WE LEARNED: After a two-game winning streak, the Saints reverted into being the team that can’t overcome its own mistakes. San Francisco played with a purpose after a sickening loss to St. Louis last week. But New Orleans can point to two Drew Brees interceptions thrown into coverage and his fumble at the Saints’ 17 in overtime, letting Michael Crabtree roam free for a 51-yard fourth-down reception to set up the tying field goal in regulation and Jimmy Graham’s pass interference to end regulation to negate a winning TD pass as reasons for their demise.

2 TRENDING NOW Graham pleaded innocence, or at least an absence of serious malice, on the pass interference penalty that erased his 47-yard TD pass from Brees as regulation ended. “It’s interesting how guys can grab me all over the field and I literally put two fingers on somebody and you make that call,” Graham said. Actually, it was two hands, not two fingers, and though Perrish Cox certainly sold the shove it was a flag-worthy act. Graham may well have made the catch without the shove because Cox wasn’t in great position to affect the catch.

3 FINAL THOUGHTS Maybe we’re getting used to the Saints’ losses, but at this moment a 4-5 New Orleans team isn’t in much worse shape than if it was 5-4. The Saints squandered some momentum acquired with their last two wins, but unless the Panthers upset Philadelphia on Monday night, New Orleans would still be at least a game up on Atlanta and/or Carolina in the weak NFC South. If the Saints can win their next two home games over Cincinnati and Baltimore, they’re still on track to win the division.

Scott Rabalais