1 WHAT WE LEARNED

The Saints can win when Drew Brees isn’t at his best and the offense is sputtering a bit. Sean Payton said earlier this year that this team doesn’t have much margin for error. There was margin for error Sunday, and the Colts nearly opened it up enough to come back. They didn’t. The Saints stood in, held on and picked up a win. There are signs of hope for a team that once looked left for dead a couple of weeks ago coming out of Philadelphia. Some style points are lost for how it finished, but New Orleans is displaying some qualities that are hallmarks of good football teams.

2 TRENDING NOW

The defense is up. Way up. Remember when we all thought the Saints couldn’t pressure a quarterback into sliding in a pocket, let alone coming up out of it? Those days might not be over. Maybe the past two weeks were inflated by the opponents, but it certainly looks like the Saints are figuring things out. A lot of the credit goes to the front seven, but a lot of that also has to do with the New Orleans secondary forcing quarterbacks to hold onto the ball and go deep into their progressions. Those things work hand-in-hand. And right now, both sides are doing their part.

3 FINAL THOUGHTS

We’ll resist the urge to get too high on the consecutive wins and start talking about the postseason. It’s too soon for that, and last year should have taught everyone not to look too far ahead. Things can turn back the other direction in a hurry. But if someone did want to look down the road, it’s worth being aware that the next three games are against the New York Giants, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins. New Orleans then has an off week and travels to Houston to play the Texans. That’s a favorable stretch of games for a team looking to go on a run.

-- Nick Underhill