Saints aren’t fun, and worse, aren’t even entertaining in blowout loss to Bills

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It’s so disappointing to see the New Orleans Saints go down like this. They were embarrassed in all phases by the visiting Buffalo Bills, with Sean Payton’s stubbornly Trevor Siemian-led offense demolished while his defense slowly fell to pieces in the second half. Even the special teams units struggled with a series of subpar returns from All-Pro specialist Deonte Harris. They lost by a final tally of 31-6, and they earned that beatdown.

Sure, the Saints were beaten up. Every team is beaten up this time of the year, though few others were missing as many starters as New Orleans. But it was so bad that Drew Brees opened the second half by demonstrating how Josh Allen’s mechanics have changed after a few years in the NFL. Mitchell Trubisky went into the game for clean-up duty with seven minutes remaining.

This is as embarrassing as it gets in the NFL. Especially for a team that once had playoff hopes. At this point the Saints will be very, very lucky to finish the year with a winning record. This four-game losing streak is their first since the 2015 season (and before that, the 2012 season). Another loss next week to the Dallas Cowboys would be their first five-game losing skid of the Sean Payton era, dating back to Jim Haslett’s last year as head coach.

At least teams before had been ugly and entertaining. The 2012 Saints team made every game worth watching with a high-power offense to match their historically-bad defense; so did the 2014 and 2015 squads. Issues on offense were prevalent in 2019 and 2020 but the defense was strong enough to keep it interesting. This team doesn’t have anything to hang their hats on.

So who is to blame? Sean Payton earned a lot of ire for keeping Siemian in the game so long, with the offense ending drives with five punts and two turnover-on-downs sequences. His late-game interception still wasn’t enough to get Taysom Hill in the game. This is one of the lowest moments of the Sean Payton era.

And on that note: the NBC broadcast repeatedly mentioned Hill wasn’t playing due to a foot injury, but that’s bunk. He’s healthy enough to dress for the game on the active roster. He’s healthy enough to back up Siemian in case of an emergency. But he isn’t healthy enough to play over him when Siemian is actively hurting the team? He isn’t healthy enough to do anything but stand on the sidelines in a ball cap and clap? Literally days after signing a big contract extension without explanation?

It’s a frustrating situation to say the least. The fact we won’t get any satisfactory answers out of Payton for his bizarre decisions makes it difficult to accept. This season is swirling around the drain, and there’s next to no reason to think it’s about to get better. Payton earned a lot of faith from his years of success. But that can evaporate in a hurry if he’s got no plan to get out of this.