NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS. CAROLINA PANTHERSSUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2012 ● MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOMEPANTHERS POSTGAME QUOTES
Head Coach Ron Rivera
(opening statement) "Very emotional. It was a great win for our team. Our players played hard and that's all you can ask for. Offensively we did so many good things and gave ourselves the opportunity to win the football game. We stayed steady; we did things the way we're supposed to. Hat's off to Cam (Newton) and how courageous he was. Hat's off to the offensive line, patchwork as they were. The job that John Matsko and Ray Brown has done is tremendous. It was outstanding. I thought our running backs ran their butts off; kudos to them. It shows just what we can become as we go forward, and I was very proud of that. Very proud of what we did defensively. We held a very good offense in check early. They're going to make their plays. Drew Brees is one of the all-time greats in this league and you know he was going to get his, it was just a matter of time. The thing we had to do is make sure that we controlled it, which I thought our guys did a heck of a job doing. That last screen pass to Darren Sproles, that's who Darren Sproles is. But again, we stayed with it, we were resilient, and good things happened."
(on the bond shared with his team) "I'm proud of the fact that those guys showed up every day to work and do the things that we asked, and did them very well. It's a good group of men; it really is. They deserve this. They deserve the opportunity to win four in a row like they did. They came to work every day, they did what we asked of them, they practiced hard, and they played hard. It's who they are. It's a good group of men. I'm very proud of them."
(on what happens next) "I will sit down eventually with Mr. Richardson and we will evaluate this season. The process is going to begin when we get back to Charlotte. Like I said, Mr. Richardson has been fair and I appreciate the opportunity that he's given me and we'll see how things unfold."
(on why this win was so emotional) "Because they showed up and played. They've done that all year, and that's all I've asked."
(on whether or not he believes he will be back next season) "Well, I want to be back. We'll see."
(on the momentum shift following the Greg Olsen play) "You need something good to happen once in a while, and something good did happen at that point. We took advantage of it and we made a play, and then we made another play, and we kept going and that was the best thing. It could've gone the other way, but it didn't. As I said, our guys were resilient, they kept fighting and fighting and fighting. It's a good tribute to those guys in the locker room: that they played for themselves and they played for each other.
(on DeAngelo Williams) "It was awesome. I know this much: we found some really good things in terms of what we did today. I thought (Rob Chudzinski) made great adjustments. We hit a couple of runs early and we stayed with it. We were able to pound it, and pound it, and pound it. Probably the best thing is that DeAngelo was able to use his abilities and he made some plays for us."
(on what team has done better in recent weeks) "Handling adversity. Like I said we got a couple of breaks, you go and look at a couple of the games we have played. The Atlanta game, we had a couple of breaks. We've made some plays, that's also the big thing too. When you get into these crunch times you've got to make plays and we did. That's probably the biggest thing is that we made plays. We are learning how to make plays. The big interception by (Charles) Godfrey, we went out and scored. We took advantage of those things, and that's probably the most important thing."
(on the Jonathan Vilma interception return for a touchdown) "Great call by Steve Spagnuolo. He played us for screens, so he played man coverage. Jonathan Vilma made a great read and when Cam came off of the fake, he turned and expected DeAngelo (Williams) to be there and Jonathan stepped in front of it for the interception and the touchdown. The biggest thing and the best thing is that we came back. We didn't let that crumble us."
(on his message to the team afterwards) "Thank you."
#58 LB Thomas Davis
"This was a hard fought divisional game that was really important to us because of what they (Saints) did to us last year. I mean they tried to run the score up on us both games last season, and as a player and as a team you look at that stuff and it's in the back of your mind. We didn't talk about this during the week leading up to the game today but it was something that definitely motivated us."
#30 S Charles Godfrey
"The bottom line was we came down here to win a football game. We owed them one and we got the victory."
(on the Interception in the third quarter against Drew Brees) "One of the things I pride myself on is watching film and knowing what's going on out there. By watching him (Brees) over and over again I knew it was coming. It was nothing spectacular as I just made a play on the ball and got the pick."
#34 RB DeAngelo Williams
"I have to give all the credit to the offensive line. They opening the holes and I ran through them. We had a lot of success against them (Saints) the first game this season on the ground and we committed to the run all day today."
"This was a very emotional win for us. Coach (Rivera) hugged all of us as we left the field after the game and told us here in the locker room how proud he was of all of us for fighting and finishing the season like we did. It's not how you start but how you finish. And with us winning the last four games against some really good teams shows the type of players and team we have."
#2 QB Cam Newton
"This victory was real big for us for a lot of reasons. There's a lot out there that's evident that shouldn't be said, but you have to tip your hat to everyone out there: the coach, us as players - everybody. It's been a real tough month for us, as a lot of people could say we aren't playing for anything. But there's a lot of things we can do; to get back on that winning rhythm and that's what we did today to end the season."
(on getting hit and getting hurt) "The first time I got hit - I don't know by who; and I injured my ribs. The second one I was in shock by the way my ankle bent. I was in shock and I didn't know what was happening. But thank God everything was functioning well and I was able to come back in the game."
"Looking back at the first game, we had a lot of success running the football against them. And we came out here today being balanced, by running the football when we had to. And we were running it even though people knew we were going to run it. And then we passed it well too. DeAngelo (Williams) did a great job running today by breaking tackles and so did Mike Tolbert. And it's because of those two guys that we got the big win today."