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Drew Brees' proud night fails to mask Saints' issues

On a special night for Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints won their first game of the season and watched their quarterback make NFL history.

That can't be taken away from this team, but it's hard to believe this can last.

The Saints played with emotion in Sunday's 31-24 win over the San Diego Chargers, but their 1-4 record is an accurate reading of where this team stands five weeks into the season.

Darlington: Passing the torch

Joe Unitas watched Johnny Unitas' TD record fall to Drew Brees. The legend's son was thrilled, Jeff Darlington says. **More ...**

The night drew to a pause to celebrate Brees topping Johnny Unitas' mark for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Brees has thrown one in 48 consecutive games, many of them glorious wins for Saints squads better equipped to travel through an NFL season than this one.

The problems in New Orleans begin and end with the defense, which is a messy outfit but one that finally applied some pressure Sunday, sacking Philip Rivers five times, including defensive end Martez Wilson's game-sealing drop of the Chargers quarterback, which came at the expense of visibly hobbled left tackle Jared Gaither.

A bright spot, but New Orleans came into the game allowing an NFL-worst 463.2 yards per game. Another 427 were surrendered to San Diego. The personnel hasn't clicked in Steve Spagnuolo's system. We saw funky coverage on Rivers' second scoring strike to Robert Meachem just before halftime. Safety Malcolm Jenkins appeared to bite on play-action and never recovered. There's too much confusion on this side of the ball.

In the past, the Saints' offense was overpowering enough to mask the imbalance. That's not happening this season, and 1-4 is no myth. This football team is wandering.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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