NEW ORLEANS — Remember the hard-luck Saints of old – that mistake-prone franchise that routinely crumbled in crunch time?
In their first three games since coach Sean Payton was suspended in the NFL’s bounty probe, the Saints have started to resemble that franchise again, and even Drew Brees has been helpless to do anything about it.
The Saints were unable to protect an 18-point, third-quarter lead, and fans in the Superdome watched in dread as Kansas City’s Ryan Succop, a former South Carolina star, booted his club-record sixth field goal to lift the previously winless Chiefs to a 27-24 overtime victory over New Orleans on Sunday.
The Saints have now lost twice in the Superdome, where they were unbeaten a season ago, and which will play host to the Super Bowl next February.
But New Orleans now looks like a long shot to be playing for a championship after opening with losses to three 1-2 teams.
“We are far from talking about the Super Bowl right now,” Brees said. “What we need to focus on is getting one win.”
Next week, the reeling Saints (0-3) travel to Green Bay.
The Chiefs (1-2) meanwhile, went home feeling a lot better about themselves.
“The best part is our guys never gave up,” said Succop, whose six field goals ranged from 25 to 45 yards.
After Jamaal Charles’ 91-yard touchdown run started Kansas City’s comeback, the Chiefs defense thwarted a Saints scoring chance when Stanford Routt intercepted Brees’ underthrown pass for Devery Henderson near the Kansas City goal line late in the third quarter.
Brees, who was 20 of 36 for 240 yards and three TDs – never had another completion after that, and only attempted six passes because the Saints also never got another first down.