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Four takeaways: The Saints' season has reached rock bottom

The Saints' season might as well be over at this point.

NEW ORLEANS — I'd call this one rock bottom part two. Last week was rock bottom part one.

The Baltimore Ravens destroyed the Saints, although I think you could make the case that this week was worse because unlike the Ravens, the Steelers are not a playoff team.

Technically the Saints are still in the playoff hunt. Football Outsiders has their chances at 5.3%...that's roughly a one-in-19 chance.

Based on how the Saints have played the last two weeks...one in a million seems closer to accurate. 

There were so many problematic areas, but let's start our four takeaways with this.

#4: Rushing defense falters

The Steelers simply ran over the Saints. Najee Harris and the Steelers rushed for 217 yards Sunday, and here's the thing.

Before this game, Pittsburgh was averaging 108 rushing yards a game. They were 22nd in the NFL in rushing offense, and they got five yards a carry against the Saints.

217 yards is by far their best rushing effort of the season.

#3: QB change badly needed

The offense was actually worse. And the Saints have to make a change at quarterback. 

The Saints have two choices - either give Jameis Winston the chance to let it rip and throw downfield, or give Taysom Hill the chance to just run over people.

But either way, this isn't working. The Saints had 186 total yards in Pittsburgh. That's a season low, and it's just exceptionally bad.

And last week against the Ravens was just as bad. After the game was over the Saints put together a long touchdown drive that made the numbers look a little better than they were, but this is two straight weeks of lifeless offense.

I know the injuries hurt, but at this point in the season, everyone has injuries. And I'm not saying that a quarterback change will help, but I'm just saying that you can't get any worse than this.

#2: Howie wins

Howie won. I'm talking about Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman. Philadelphia has the Saints' first-round draft pick in 2023 due to a trade and right now, it's a top-six pick in the draft.

Roseman wins this trade because he turned a late teens pick into what's now a top-six pick, and Philadelphia still gets the Saints' second-rounder in 2024.

Trevor Penning may turn into a great player, but he hasn't played a down this season, and you'd certainly rather have a top six pick in April.

Few teams regularly trade away draft picks like the Saints do, and in this case, it'll greatly hamper a rebuild.

Because it sure looks like that's what's coming. We still have seven more games in this season, so we'll dive into rebuilding topics later...but my number one takeaway from Pittsburgh is...

#1: Brees-Payton era is over

Drew Brees. Sean Payton.

We miss you. 

This duo brought New Orleans a lot of joy and a lot of wins. And the run lasted so long and had so many waves that we all got used to it. But the fact is, in sports, eras end. 

And it sure feels like the greatest era of Saints football has ended and a restart is coming.

But I also think how the Saints play over the next seven weeks will determine how much of the current structure gets blown up.

And that's my four takeaways from the sad, sobering loss in Pittsburgh.

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