- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW ORLEANS -- I’m heading downstairs for postgame interviews and will be back with a full column as quickly as possible.
But, first, here’s the Rapid Reaction for the Saints’ victory over Pittsburgh.
What it means: The Saints are alive. One week after a humiliating home loss to Cleveland, they bounced back with a victory against one of the best teams in the league. There’s still work to be done, and some injured guys need to get healthy for the Saints to have a true shot at repeating as the Super Bowl champions, but this game served as a reminder that the Saints still can play with anyone. At 5-3, they’re only one loss behind Atlanta and Tampa Bay in the NFC South.
What’s next: The Saints travel to Carolina next Sunday. That game may look easy on the surface, but the Panthers usually play the Saints well. New Orleans defeated Carolina by two points in the Superdome earlier this season. The Saints have their bye after the Carolina game.
Unsung heroes: New Orleans’ defense. Even when the Saints were winning big last year, they weren’t doing it with dominant defense. They won a championship with an opportunistic defense. Against the Steelers, the New Orleans defense was dominant most of the game, holding Pittsburgh to only one touchdown. But the defense also was opportunistic when it mattered most. With Pittsburgh driving in the fourth quarter, linebacker Marvin Mitchell forced a fumble by Heath Miller. Safety Darren Sharper grabbed it and that pretty much wrapped up the game.