Haslett perfectly happy with ugly victory

By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
Dec. 2, 2003
METAIRIE, La. Although Sunday's 24-20 victory by the New Orleans Saints over the Washington Redskins may have seemed ugly to the casual NFL observer, Saints coach Jim Haslett deemed it anything but a day later.
And the fact is, the hard numbers bear that out.
The defense allowed only 13 points. The penalty number (3-30 yards) was significantly lowered, as was big plays by the opposing offense. And the turnover figure was non-existent. Those are just the improvements areas. Consistency in the form of RB Deuce McAllister (31 carries for 165 yards, his ninth straight game over the century mark) goes without saying.
In fact, he used the win, which leveled his teams' record at 6-6, to take a shot at the media for the perception that his is an up and down football team that no one around the squad, fans or otherwise, can get a handle on. And to rebut fears of another December collapse.
But there is no gray area in the won-loss ledger.
All six of the Saints wins have come against teams with losing records, while the losses have come at the hands of teams with better than .500 marks. New Orleans plays host to the fast fading Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) Sunday.
The Saints have three of their final four games at home. Three of the four teams they have left also have losing records and the lone winner, Dallas, who New Orleans finishes the season with; seem to be falling back to earth. They'll need to run the table and hope either the East and/or North division second place team continues to fall in order to have a outside shot at the playoffs.