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How will the team respond to another heartbreaking end to the season in 2018?

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Will it be baggage or motivation?

New York Giants v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Minnesota Miracle. The call so egregious the NFL rules committee fundamentally altered what players are subject to review moving forward.

The New Orleans Saints have had back-to-break heart-breaking, soul-crushing ends to Super Bowl runs in 2017 and 2018. The Saints were able to respond well after 2017 and made a deeper run in 2018 as the #1 seed in the NFC. The question now for the Saints, and what Bleacher Report has called the biggest question for the team, is “how will they respond again this year?”

For the second time in two years, the New Orleans Saints had their postseason end in heartbreaking fashion. This time, it was a blown non-call against the Rams. As we’ve seen in the past—the Falcons’ 28-3 Super Bowl collapse is a prime example—the hangover from a devastating postseason loss can loom large.

So are the Saints ready to move on and focus on the coming season? Perhaps not, but maybe they can learn from it.

”You always try to take your experiences from the year before and turn it into something positive,” quarterback Drew Brees said, per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “Use it as momentum, use it as motivation, a chip on your shoulder, unfinished business—whatever you want to term it.”

For players like Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Cam Jordan, and Michael Thomas, will another instance of coming up that close finally wear on their psyche? We’ve seen how they were able to respond after one such instance, and it seemed they did just fine. On the other hand, we’ve seen how players like Marcus Williams have seemed to let the loss affect them, so it’s to be determined how players like Tre’Quan Smith, Marcus Davenport, and Demario Davis will rebound. At the same time, there are players like Jared Cook and Latavius Murray who weren’t a member of either team.

Gone are the veteran locker room presences of Ben Watson and Mark Ingram. Will the 2019 Saints be able to buckle down and stay focused on the grand prize? Or will another instance of coming up short be a distraction for the team moving forward? Let’s hope not.