Check out some game action shots from the New Orleans Saints road game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Oct. 21.
They've won pretty.
They've won ugly.
They've won via complete domination.
They've won on a walk-off in overtime.
They've won by three-plus touchdowns.
They've won on a missed point-after attempt.
They've led wire to wire at home.
They've come back from 10 points down, in the fourth quarter, on the road.
By whatever means, the New Orleans Saints have won, a streak that reached five straight after Sunday's 24-23 victory over the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. They've proven to be as resilient and versatile a team as there has been this season in the NFL, not owing to one method the path to wins, not being so inflexible that they can't adjust on the fly and figure out how best to walk away as winners.
"I think it's kind of something you build a little bit," Coach Sean Payton said Monday. "Obviously, you want to have that confidence and that only comes after you've done it a few times. Once you've done it a few times, you do feel like you're in a game."
The Saints haven't been out of a single one.
The lone loss, a 48-40 free-for-all in the season opener against Tampa Bay, wasn't decided until the Buccaneers converted on third down with 2:42 left. All the rest have been exhibitions in adapting.
Cleveland (21-18 victory) was the lipstick-on-a-pig entry, a victory helped by the Browns missing two field goals and two extra points. Atlanta (43-37 in overtime) was a last-possession shootout, with the Saints winning on Drew Brees' 1-yard touchdown run in overtime.
The victory over the Giants (33-18) was an ode to the Saints' defense, and the one over Washington (43-19) was the offense at its finest.
The latest entry, over the Ravens, was the NFL equivalent of a fistfight. The Saints exerted their will and scored 17 fourth-quarter points against a defense that was allowing 12.8 points per game, and hadn't allowed a second-half touchdown in its first six games.
It was yet another mode of transportation to a win for New Orleans.
"The more battle-tested you are, the better," Brees said. "Winning a game like this on the road does well to build this team's character. I think there is something special about this team. We are very young in some areas, but we also have some veterans who have played a lot of games and won a lot of games."
THE LATEST CAM: Defensive end Cam Jordan and receiver Cam Meredith weren't the only "Cam" contributors on Sunday. Offensive lineman Cam Tom joined in against the Ravens, playing left guard for part of the second quarter and the entire second half after Josh LeRibeus (ankle) left and couldn't return.
Tom practiced at right guard all last week as Larry Warford (back) worked through his injury; Warford started against Baltimore and LeRibeus, an injury replacement for Andrus Peat, started at left guard. When LeRibeus went down, Tom entered and helped the Saints run for 134 yards on 39 carries.
"These guys are paid professionals and they're training just like everyone else," Payton said. "You know you're in a game that's going to have injury, (and) you know you're in a game that's going to have some things take place. The Ravens, too, had some challenges with their offensive line and both teams had to manage playing some guys that maybe don't normally get to play as much, and I think in both cases played pretty well. That's one of the challenges with the work week. You're not just developing your starters. Obviously, you've got to be developing the whole roster and your practice squad."