1 -- WHAT WE LEARNED

Amid mounting frustrations and shocking failures, the Saints are inventing ways to lose. Sunday’s 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions was a new low point, as New Orleans blew a 23-10 lead with four minutes left in what was until then the Saints’ best overall effort of the season. New Orleans moved the ball, especially through the air, and defended well, but was doomed by two critical late mistakes: Corey White going for the ball instead of Golden Tate on a 73-yard TD pass and Drew Brees getting picked by Glover Quin to set up the game-winning score.

2 -- TRENDING NOW

At 35, Brees’ arm strength has drawn increasing scrutiny this season. Sunday he threw plenty of authortative passes, like the skillful 46-yard floater to Kenny Stills that put the Saints up 17-3 early in the third. But it’s Brees’ decision making skills that have really betrayed him this season, his desire to gun passes into claustrophobic spaces or attempts to make plays that aren’t there. Both issues were in evidence on the pass Quin intercepted that was intended for Marques Colston. Brees said he didn’t see Quin until it was too late.

3 -- FINAL THOUGHTS

Good teams find ways to win and bad teams find ways to lose. With three of their four losses by a combined six points, the Saints are doing the latter. The NFC South, which Carolina leads with a 3-3-1 record, is still there for the taking, but first the 2-4 Saints have to find a way to make a step forward. Unfortunately for the Saints, they keep falling over instead. This is the kind of defeat that can linger, though the Saints have no time to mope with Green Bay calling Sunday night.

-- Scott Rabalais