Sean Payton: 2 Straight Losses a ‘Gut Check’ for Saints

Sean Payton: 2 Straight Losses a ‘Gut Check’ for Saints

So much for the idea that the New Orleans Saints’ continuity would give them an advantage this season.

The Saints fell to 1-2 with a 37-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the Superdome. They have lost back-to-back games for the first time since an 0-2 start in 2017.

“It’s been a while since we felt that, but three years ago, we were 0-2. A little bit of a gut check, and yet we aren’t playing well enough. Let’s not fool ourselves,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “We’re making too many mistakes. We aren’t playing disciplined enough on both sides of the ball. That’s really just the truth.

“You’re frustrated as a coach because that starts with us. We have to do a better job. We have to get ready to play a better game against Detroit [on the road next week].”

Running back Alvin Kamara almost single-handedly carried the Saints to victory with a career-high 139 receiving yards on 13 catches, a total of 197 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Drew Brees found more of a rhythm than he did in Monday’s loss at Las Vegas, throwing for 288 yards and three TDs.

But the Saints couldn’t make up for two deep passes from Aaron Rodgers to Allen Lazard (72 and 48 yards) or a costly fumble by read-option QB Taysom Hill in Packers territory in the fourth quarter. Plus, they added to their NFL-leading penalty yardage total with eight penalties for 83 yards.

“I think we just gotta find more,” Kamara said. “We gotta find more on offense, we gotta find more on defense, we gotta find more on special teams. We all gotta do more. We gotta correct the mistakes. It’s little things killing us — penalties, some of the same stuff that went on last week. We just gotta play smarter. We gotta play better.”

Kamara is certainly doing his part. He joined Roger Craig as the second player in NFL history with three rushing TDs and three receiving TDs in his team’s first three games, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.

Kamara ranks fourth in receiving yards (285) by a running back through three weeks in the Super Bowl era. He has already set the Saints franchise record with 16 multitouchdown games just 48 games into his career.

“Listen, he’s a special football player,” Brees said. “It’s nice when you’ve got a weapon like that, that you just get the ball in his hands in space, and he’s tough to tackle, and he’s just kind of a human highlight reel.”

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