Rapid Reaction: New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 41-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

What it means: Forget the mathematical possibilities. The Saints (5-8) don't deserve to make the playoffs after taking their struggles to a colossal new low on Sunday. They've now lost four straight games in the Superdome for the first time since 1999, and this was by far the ugliest yet. It might have been the ugliest in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era.

The Saints turned the ball over twice on their first three offensive plays (a Mark Ingram fumble and Brees interception) and it snowballed from there, with awful performances from both the offense and defense.

Stock watch: This was by far the worst performance of the season by Brees and the offense overall. Through three quarters, Brees was 11-of-24 passing for 64 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 35.4.

All year long I've written that Brees still looks sharp and that his biggest problem has been too many turnovers when he's trying to force things. However, Brees wasn't sharp at all on Sunday, missing on deep and short throws alike. His interception was an underthrown deep ball for Joe Morgan.

It didn't help that Ingram fumbled away Brees' first pass attempt -- or that Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson, Marques Colston, Josh Hill and Pierre Thomas all appeared to drop passes.

Rob Ryan job watch: Who knows what to make of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's stock? He and Payton spent the week insisting that there's no personal feud or ill will between them, and I haven't heard anything from sources to suggest otherwise. But after Ryan's unit dropped another bomb Sunday, his seat's gotta be feeling awfully warm.

The defense wasn't the Saints' biggest problem on Sunday, but it's the worst unit in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information's efficiency ratings. If changes are imminent, that's a natural place to start.

Game ball: The only Saints player who did anything worthwhile was punt returner Jalen Saunders, who had returns of 32 and 30 yards in the second quarter. Unfortunately for the Saints, those returns led to a total of three points.

Up next: The good news for the Saints is they head back on the road, where they've actually won two straight games. They play at the equally reeling Chicago Bears (5-8) on "Monday Night Football" next week.