They're 20-0 all-time under Sean Payton when they have no turnovers, including a 5-0 mark this season. That 5-0 mark in 2011 is just one of the reasons the Saints (10-3) are leading the NFC South by two games with three games remaining.
In a 22-17 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, their fifth victory in a row, the Saints, who had 13 turnovers in their first eight games, had a couple of close calls but did not turn the ball over for a fourth straight game. The four-game streak is the longest for Payton and the Saints, who had three-game strings in 2006 (twice) and 2009.
The current Saints actually have played 17 straight quarters without a turnover as the last one came on an interception early in the third period of a Nov. 6 game with the Tampa Bay Bucs in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The impressive stretch came after the Saints had six turnovers total in their last two losses – on Oct. 16 at Tampa Bay (four) and Oct. 30 at St. Louis (two). They also had a punt blocked against the Rams that doesn't really count as a turnover but is just as damaging.
"Just pointing out what wins and losses, and just understanding the importance of turnovers and getting takeaways and protecting the football," Payton said of what his staff preaches about the night before each game with regards to ball security. "Some of that starts with being real mindful of the protection for Drew (Brees).
"Some of it is ball security with the individual players that have it," he added. "It kind of falls on everyone. The same thing goes for special teams and your defense."
Brees, who's thrown 11 interceptions this season but only one in the last five games, said ball security was a big issue for he and his teammates after a 31-21 loss to the then-winless Rams.
"Yes, we look at that St. Louis game and say our three turnovers (counting the blocked punt) resulted in 21 points," Brees said. "You just sit there and say, 'That's what gets you beat.' That was disappointing. It was embarrassing for us to lose the way we did."