NEW ORLEANS — Zach Strief and Curtis Lofton both blame the red Gatorade for their road woes.
Malcolm Jenkins thinks it’s a beefy mac recipe that’s light on sauce.
Others think there should be different food on the plane. Still others would rather travel in suits instead of warm-ups.
One thing is certain after Sunday’s bizarre and confounding post-game locker room session – the Saints are going to have fun with questions about their trouble playing on the road this season.
With a 42-17 win over Tampa Bay at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints finished with their second-ever perfect home campaign.
But because of a December slide that they’d like to forget, they’re now faced with three road games to get to the Super Bowl in New York.
That’s a possibility of three games away from a building in which they’ve outscored eight opponents by 147 points this season.
That’s a possibility of three games in someone else’s stadium, where they were outscored by a combined 37 points.
So they’re looking to do whatever they can to flip the script.
It started with the humor Sunday.
Earlier in the season, they boldly dismissed the idea that something was amiss on the road. Then they went for the honesty, admitting following a loss at St. Louis that there were having issues away from home.
Now it’s about deflecting the questions the only way they can figure out how, with humor, speaking about changing food products and making fashion statements.
Fact is, what they’ve tried before hasn’t worked, so it’s time to try something different.
“I’m serious,” Jenkins said. “We need to add more sauce. We added a little more to the recipe and played well today. I think we’ll just stick with that.”
Regardless of what they changed – the Gatorade, the cheesy mac sauce, the travel attire – they did the most important thing Sunday and that was to get a win and get it big.
For a team coming off of a stretch in which it went 1-3 and had lost two straight, New Orleans (11-5) needed something good to happen. It got it Sunday with a dominating performance.
The Saints outgained Tampa Bay by 178 yards. They held Tampa Bay to 23 percent on third down. They held the ball for nearly 10 minutes more than Tampa Bay did.
“I think we’re confident, especially after a game like this,” Jenkins said. “I think we know what we have in our players.”
“You want to play your best football towards the end of the year,” Lofton added. “Just having a game where you get your confidence up – you win and you’re in and that’s what we did.”
Now New Orleans can play the ultimate underdog card.
It has never won a road playoff game and is 3-5 away from the Superdome this season. Few outside the locker room likely will believe this Saints team of any will be able to break the road curse.
Strief is all right with that.
“These playoff games are different,” he said. “They’re played differently. It’s a unique kind of atmosphere. And, look, I like our chances with this team going in, feeling like no one expects you to win. I like putting this team in that position.”
They’ll begin their march by controlling what they can.
It started by changing the beefy mac recipe Sunday.