Saints Streaking Despite Committing Turnovers

If the past is prologue, the New Orleans Saints are hoping a statistical oddity continues to work in their favor.

Only two other teams in modern NFL history have followed an 0-2 start with a six-game winning streak -- as the Saints have done. Those teams were the 1993 Dallas Cowboys and the 2007 New York Giants. Both the Cowboys and the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.

"We're still striving to play our best, and I don't think we've achieved that yet," quarterback Drew Brees said after New Orleans beat Tampa Bay 30-10 to improve to 6-2 on the season. "We're continuing to make strides in the right direction. There's still a lot of things we can do better. The road only gets tougher."

The Saints have won even though they have committed nine turnovers in their last four games. That's something for head coach Sean Payton to harp on as the Saints get ready for a road test against Buffalo next Sunday.

Both Ted Ginn Jr. and Willie Snead dropped punts after calling for a fair catch.

"With each game, you're hopefully getting better as a team, but there are a number of things we've got to be better at," Payton said. "We got to be able to catch a punt without it being a fire drill. But I'm encouraged by some of these young guys.

"I think we've got really good leadership throughout the locker room, and when you start winning some games, you start wanting to play for each other more than for yourself. That's always a challenge in today's game. I like that. We talked about that a little bit this week."

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara said he needed to respond from a second-quarter fumble at the Tampa Bay 28 that killed a scoring drive and led to a field goal by the Bucs. Kamara finished with a career-high 152 yards from scrimmage.

"It stinks about the fumble, but it happened last week with Mark (Ingram)," Kamara said. "We are human. I just had to shake it off. Everybody was supportive. I just had to move on to the next play."

With two master's degrees, rookie cornerback Justin Hardee is plenty smart, one reason he has been a special teams ace. The rookie from Illinois broke through to block a Bryan Anger punt and return it 7 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

"They blocked down, they left me free," Hardee said. "I saw a clear path. I was so surprised that it was so clear. Coaches talked about it all week. I was just so glad I was in the position. I had enough speed to get to the ball."

The Saints will have to wait and see how safety Kenny Vaccaro reacts this week to a groin injury. Vaccaro has played well during the Saints' six-game winning streak, grabbing three interceptions in five games.

Copyright © 2017 TTWN Media Networks LLC Photo: Getty Images

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