1 WHAT WE LEARNED: The Saints have a heartbeat. Facing the potentially doomsday scenario of yet another loss as they trailed Tampa Bay with 13:28 left, the Saints fought back to score 17 straight points and beat the Buccaneers 37-31 in overtime. It often wasn’t pretty, like when Tampa Bay scored 24 unanswered points, sparked by two Drew Brees interceptions (one a pick six), but to their credit the Saints didn’t fold. Even down 31-20, they got the critical drives and key defensive stops they needed to pull out a victory with the season on the brink.
2 TRENDING NOW: The Saints running game. If you knew the Saints would run the ball this consistently well, you would have thought they would be better than 2-3. But even without Mark Ingram for a third straight week, the ground game was effective. Yes, Brees threw 57 passes, but the Saints closed out the Bucs in overtime with runs on five of their last six plays, including Khiry Robinson’s 18-yard game-winning gallop. The Saints rushed for 148 yards on 29 carries, nearly 4.8 per attempt. When Ingram returns, this part of the Saints attack should get even better.
3 FINAL THOUGHTS: Before the season, a 2-3 start going into the Saints’ off week would have been unacceptable. After three gut-wrenching road losses, and Sunday’s comeback win, it doesn’t seem completely bad. The Saints won by overcoming some of the problems that derailed them before. Though they still have problems (pass defense, negative turnover ratio, and Sunday injuries), they showed they remember how to win. Two weeks of measured optimism lie ahead as they Saints heal and prepare for Detroit.
-- Scott Rabalais