I don't know how else to explain it. It has to be the work of this team's past demons. Things were supposed to be different this year, and I don't even mean that in an overly positive, "I blindly thought my team was going to win the Super Bowl" kinda way. By all counts, the unit that was a major cause for concern was the offense with what proved - over the entirety of the offseason - to be an asinine inability to provide it's future HOF quarterback with even the slightest of protection. I don't think anyone had any illusions that a defense that just last year was worthy of it's own old school bloopers VHS tape was going to set the league on fire, but they had certainly showed a marked improvement over the course of the summer.
That's what made what transpired yesterday feel so unforeseen. I guess the Saints fan in me wasn't surprised by defensive ineptitude. Still, when that game started I was too busy wiping the sweat from my palms worried about Kahlil Mack and company turning the Saints offensive line into their own personal whipping boys. Instead what happened is what has happened so many times before. Drew Brees (after an early, inexcusable turnover) and a wide receiver core that has all the makings of a 3-headed monster carried the team down the field time and time again and put them in a position to win so often that it's a miracle they actually still had time to lose within the restraints of the game clock.
The 2016 Saints, despite endless evidence that this team had transformed into a different, debatably better version of itself, put forth an effort that looked no different than those that made the last two 7-9 seasons so incredibly hard to watch. An effort that left a rookie running back casually dancing through arm tackles en route to a 70+ yard touchdown on the first fucking carry of his career. An effort that left the Raider's top receiver running freely in their own secondary. An effort so uninspiring that it actually inspired a predominantly defensive coach to do the unthinkable and go for the two point conversation instead of kicking the extra point and heading to overtime. When you see things play out as they did - for the umpteenth time- it's impossible to believe that they aren't just organizational flaws that are inherently built into this team's DNA.
Now, I can't ignore that the Saints were notably worse on the backend once Delvin Breaux left the game. That isn't a surprise considering the Saints cornerback "depth" boasts an impressive amount of inexperience. Still, if losing ONE defensive player for ONE half is the difference between average and incompetent then it's very clear you don't have a very good defense to begin with. Sadly, it appears it's just the different chapter of the same old book. Which is great if you enjoy watching Drew Brees play hero, but it's not so good if you're the type that can't handle your hero failing more often than reigning victorious.
P.S. The fact that Wil Lutz almost overcame everyone of the Saints comical amount of errors with a last second 61 yard kick that just veered off track is enough for me to forgive him for missing a 50 yarder prior. Obviously every unit had it's shortcomings, but it's the unit that showed nothing but promise over the offseason that wasted no time snatching it right out from under it's fanbase. They're the ones that should be looking at themselves most closely in the mirror, although - after such a nauseatingly familiar choke job - there really isn't one person in the building not named Drew Brees that shouldn't be.