The New Orleans Saints started the year 2-4, with three of those losses coming by a combined six points and one of those wins coming at home against lowly Tampa Bay – in overtime, no less.
Well, the Saints have since won two straight games – against Green Bay and at Carolina – by a combined 39 points.
“Well, we won some games,” Saints tight end Benjamin Watson said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “And we won a game on the road last week, which was huge for us. We hadn’t done that since last season. We had a big focus on being able to win on the road. If you can’t win on the road, you can’t do much of anything in this league. That was big for us moving forward.”
So is committing to the run. In their last two games, the Saints have rushed 68 times for 298 yards – an average of 4.4 yards per carry – and five touchdowns.
“If you look at our last couple games, we’ve run the ball very well,” Watson said. “We really want to put an emphasis on running the football.”
The offense, which has been one of the most consistent units in the NFL for the better part of the last decade, underwent a little renovation this season. New Orleans said good-bye to Darren Sproles, drafted Brandin Cooks and has endured injury issues with Jimmy Graham.
Nevertheless, the Saints (4-4) are atop the NFC South.
“Any good team that is not performing . . . up to their potential, there are things going on behind the scenes,” Watson said. “I mean, you can have the best guys, but if (they) can’t come out and play together as a team, it doesn’t matter who you have on your roster. So earlier this year, we struggled a little bit. And honestly, we have to keep doing things one game at a time to keep this winning thing going – because as you know, in this league, it doesn’t matter what you did last week or two weeks ago. It’s what you do the next week. You have to have guys that are able to have a singular focus, a narrow focus, on the job at hand and not look too far ahead.”
The Saints play their next three games at home, albeit against teams .500 or better – San Francisco (5-5), Cincinnati (5-2-1) and Pittsburgh (5-3). Then again, the 49ers have lost two straight games, the Bengals have looked shaky since their 3-0 start, and the Steelers have been inconsistent.
Indeed, it’s been an odd NFL season – one that seems more week-to-week than in years past.
“It seems like over the last five, six years, I can vividly remember every year there being a team that’s undefeated going into Week 6, into Week 7 – even into Week 8 and 9,” Watson said. “This year, I believe it was Week 4 or 5, nobody was undefeated. There’s really great parity at this point in time in the league because you don’t have a very dominant team.
“I think for some fans, it’s very frustrating,” Watson continued. “But for other fans, they also know that, hey, if my team isn’t doing well this week, we have a chance the next week.”