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In 47-14 loss, Saints' struggling defense makes Skins QB Kirk Cousins look pretty perfect


LANDOVER, Maryland — New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and their players managed to turn Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins into a perfect player.

The Saints are turning porous, poor-tackling "D'' into an art form.

Giving up yards and points in chunks yet again, the Saints allowed Cousins to throw a career-best four touchdown passes and register a highest-possible passer rating of 158.3 in Washington's 47-14 victory over New Orleans on Sunday.

"We want to be the No. 1 pass defense — the No. 1 defense — in the NFL," cornerback Delvin Breaux said, "and unfortunately, that's not happening."

Um, no it's not, Delvin. Not even close.

Over the past three games, opponents of the Saints (4-6) have accumulated 130 points and more than 1,400 yards. That's most scoring against New Orleans in a single-season three-game span in team history, according to STATS.

"We can't allow this to keep happening," safety Kenny Vaccaro said.

Now the question put to Payton and several players after the team's second loss in a row was whether there will be coaching staff or personnel changes during New Orleans' bye week.

"We're sitting here after a game and we're not going to discuss any of those type of changes, certainly not right now," Payton said.

Linebacker Stephone Anthony said: "I'm behind Rob Ryan 100 percent, man. I think any time when you're in this situation and anything that goes wrong, everybody points the finger at you. He hasn't caught a break yet. It's on us to play better."

Cousins hadn't completed a scoring pass of longer than 7 yards this season. On Sunday, he was 20 for 25 for 324 yards and zero interceptions, along with TD tosses of 78 yards to running back Matt Jones, 16 and 8 yards to tight end Jordan Reed, and 11 yards to receiver Jamison Crowder.

The Saints didn't put up much resistance when the Redskins ran the ball, either. Washington's Alfred Morris came in having gained 51 yards on 29 carries in his previous four games; this time, he wound up with 92 yards on 15 carries.

"We didn't do a whole lot well," Payton said about his defense. "We struggled tackling, and it seemed like one big play after another."

Asked how Cousins should be viewed after this performance, Redskins coach Jay Gruden cracked himself up, replying: "Maybe you should write a positive article on him, for once, you know?"

The Redskins (4-5) led 37-14 at the end of the third quarter, then tacked on more points 42 seconds into the fourth on safety Dashon Goldson's 35-yard TD return of an interception of Drew Brees.

Coming off a pair of games in which he accounted for 10 TDs and nearly 900 yards, Brees went 19 for 28 for 201 yards, two TD passes (both to Brandin Cooks) and two fourth-quarter interceptions.

"I'd say that we know we can be much better in a lot of different areas," said Brees, whose team had reached .500 by winning three straight games until last week's overtime loss to the lowly Tennessee Titans and this week's rout against the Redskins.

"First of all," Brees said, "the most important thing is just stick together."

Notes: Saints CB Keenan Lewis injured his left knee. ... Cousins is first Redskins QB with at least 300 yards passing and a rating above 150 since Sammy Baugh in 1948.


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