Road challenge continues for Saints with crucial game at Carolina on Sunday

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - Playing road games has brought misery to the Saints. It started early on Sunday when Drew Brees tossed back-to-back interceptions, one that led to a Rams touchdown and another one that cost the Saints a possible touchdown.

That second pick should have never been thrown, Jimmy Graham was surrounded by three Rams defenders.

St. Louis would eventually jump out to a 27-3 lead into the 3rd quarter before Brees and company tried their best to pull out a road victory.

It didn't happen. The Saints offensive line was awful, giving up four sacks and Brees was rushed throughout the game.

Head coach Sean Payton was so upset with offensive tackle Charles Brown, he benched the young man.  Payton said he's concerned for the entire team with a crucial road game at Carolina on Sunday.

Payton stated,"I think it will be very revealing for a lot of us, not just one position.  You have a game like that and all of a sudden you're coming down the stretch here with two games left and an important game this week, over a period of time, I think these experiences are very revealing for all the players and the coaches."

Garrett Hartley missed two field goals, although one was blocked. Will he consider a change at kicker?

"I think we're looking closely at very element," stated Payton. "I told the players today at the team meeting we're looking closely at each aspect of this team.  I think whether it's a tackle position, whether it's a player on defense, I think the one thing I know I don't want to do is repeat the process over and over again.  We're going to look closely at what our options are and what gives us our best chance to play this coming week and one week remaining."

Let's hope the loss won't cost the Saints home field advantage in the upcoming NFC playoffs.

The 10 and 4 Saints and the 10 and 4 Panthers hook up this coming Sunday in Carolina. Yes, another crucial road game.

Payton said,"The challenges Carolina present, they're a real good football team.  We played them just a week ago and both teams have a lot at stake.  I think it's important that we have a good plan going in and are able to handle the challenges of noise, weather, whatever it is, we're going to be tested with it."

New Orleans is 3 and 4 in road games this season and the Saints-Panthers winner takes over sole possession of first place atop the NFC South Division standings with one regular season game remaining.

The Saints entertain Tampa Bay on December 29 inside the Mercedes-Bentz Superdome while Carolina will travel to Atlanta on that Sunday closing out the regular season.

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