1 WHAT WE LEARNED

It gets dark early in Philadelphia. Sunday’s loss felt like the lowest point in a season that has been full of mostly low points. After putting together some positive moments last week against the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans went to battle against another team that had only one victory and got punched in the mouth. There’s no other way to put it. The Saints say they still believe, but it’s getting exceedingly difficult — if not impossible — to feel the same way about this team. New Orleans simply has not looked like a good football team very often this season. And now time is running out.

2 TRENDING NOW

The only things trending right now, from a big-picture point of view, are going in the wrong direction. On a more micro level, it was encouraging that Drew Brees was able to connect on a couple of deep passes. The vertical elements of this offense did not exist earlier in the season and were part of the reason the offense looked so stale. The problem is that nothing else was really working for the offense Sunday. It’s also encouraging that Willie Snead continues to make plays for this offense. But those moral victories are unlikely to make anyone feel better about the result.

3 FINAL THOUGHTS Maybe it’s time to start focusing on how the young players are performing and developing instead of the actual results. This team would need a miracle to make the playoffs. Instead of worrying about if the Saints beat the Falcons, maybe instead the focus should be on how Delvin Breaux performs against Falcons receiver Julio Jones or how rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony reacts in coverage. If the wins come, they come. If not, then there’s nothing lost. There are good young players on this team. The team just isn’t that good right now.

— Nick Underhill