Oct 30, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton left celebrates with his team after a win against the Seattle Seahawks in a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Seahawks 25-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
REACTION TO ADVERSITY
The 2014 Saints came into the season being touted by many as Super Bowl contenders. Coming off a playoff berth (and a hard fought loss to eventual champion Seattle), they had assembled a squad that featured established stars like Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston, up and coming studs like Junior Galette and Kenny Stills, high priced acquisitions from previous seasons like Ben Grubbs and Curtis Lofton, and newly added Jairus Byrd and Champ Bailey.
But — the team struggled during the season’s first half, but thanks to being a member of one of the NFL’s worst divisions in recent memory, yet were still in the division race going down the stretch (eventually won by Carolina with a 7-8-1 record).
Seemingly week after week, the Saints had opportunity to take division control by the proverbial throat; yet week after week the team failed miserably to do so.
Rumors of locker room selfishness subsequently surfaced, as did lack of work ethic by some of the above named players.
Fast forward to this year. In Week #2 at New York, a short handed Saints secondary controlled a Giants receiving corps that is among the most talented in the league after being torched by the Oakland Raiders the week before.
After a Week #6 loss at Kansas City that was full of errors, New Orleans bounced back with a Week #7 victory over a Seattle team thought by many to be one of the top teams in the NFL.
Mark Ingram, after being benched for two crucial fumbles, bounced back with perhaps a career best performance against the 49ers.
Even last Sunday, after falling behind by 10 against the Broncos, against the best pass defense in the league, New Orleans rebounded to to have victory a mere kick away.
The mental toughness of this group bodes well for this Thursday night’s HUGE opportunity against rival Carolina on Thursday Night Football.