Newcastle was outpossessed (54.8 to 45.2), outpassed (342-455, 75 percent to 288-377, 76 percent) and outchanced (10 to 5) by a Norwich team that was also far from its best. Newcastle failed to craft the sort of premium scoring chances required to crack a Premier League defense, a familiar problem this season. The point left United in 16th place in the league table, just two points above the relegation places.
That's the glass-half-empty view.
Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I'm choosing to see Saturday's performance through the glass-half-full view.
It wasn't a work of art, and it wasn't how this Newcastle team should perform when at full strength. But we all know that hasn't been the case for some time.
I was simply relieved to see Newcastle defend competently, stay organized and display some grit. Unlike the previous three Premier League matches - losses to Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton - I didn't expect Newcastle to concede every time the opposition attacked.
There's obviously still work to do if Newcastle is to avoid following the 2008-09 squad in plummeting into the Championship. Papiss Cisse needs to rediscover his confidence and the attack as a whole needs fortifying. The latter project is underway, with news breaking Sunday that Newcastle had agreed a fee with Marseille to buy French forward Loic Remy (confirmed by the most reliable news outlet of all: Joey Barton's Twitter account). Newcastle also needs to find a way to address Fabricio Coloccini's family issues and hang onto its captain and unquestionably best center back, while also adding defensive depth.
But, at the very least, Saturday's scoreless draw laid a foundation for further improvement in the coming weeks. For all our sakes, I hope that's not merely the viewpoint of an unrealistic optimist.