New Orleans train wreck

Kyle Riviere
Saints running back Pierre Thomas can't get away from Chief defenders in New Orleans' 27-24 overtime loss.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Saints, they just did on Sunday.

New Orleans blew a 24-6 second-half lead to the lowly, winless Chiefs and ultimately lost in overtime 27-24 to fall to 0-3.

It's their first 0-3 start since 1997 when they finished 6-10.

Even with the "Bounty Gate" cloud looming over them in the offseason, this kind of start wasn't expected. Though head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire season, the Saints were still looked at as a playoff team and possible Super Bowl contender. That's quite a far-cry now.

Sitting in a tough division and facing a brutal schedule, New Orleans desperately needed to win their first three games. All three opponents were non-playoff teams from a year ago. In fact, the Redskins, Panthers and Chiefs finished with a combined record of 18-28 last season.

The Saints now sit in a hole that any team would have a near-impossible time digging themselves out of--especially one without a head coach.

The Saints have struggled in all phases of the game.

The offensive line has failed at protecting Drew Brees. He has been sacked seven times through three games and has constantly been under direst.

Brees hasn't exactly been himself either. He's only completing 54 percent of his passes--down 11 percent from his career average and 18 percent from what he completed last season. In addition, he's already been picked off five times.

One huge factor in Brees' poor play could be their lack of a running game. They have a stable of backs that includes: Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory, yet, they're only average 92 rushing yards per game--ranking them just No. 22 in the league.

And defensively, it's been a total nightmare for the Saints.

The addition of Super Bowl-winning defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was supposed to give a much-needed boost to the struggling unit, but they're worse than they've ever been.

Through three games, their defense ranks dead-last in total defense and dead-last against the pass. They're not that much better against the run--ranking No. 25.

Unless these stats improve on both sides of the ball, it's hard to see the Saints being able to turn things around. They haven't done anything exceedingly well that they can hang their hats on through three games.

And things are just going to get tougher.

They are at Green Bay this week. And further down the line, they have games against: the Chargers, Broncos, Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Cowboys and two games against the Falcons.

Maybe once they get that elusive first win they'll catch fire. If so, they desperately need to win and win soon.