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Drew Brees, Saints players talk about the loss to Atlanta Falcons

QB #9 DREW BREES
(on the instant replay decision of the possible Jimmy Graham touchdown) "All I could see was the replay up on the jumbotron. That seemed to be the right angle, but it's not clear from the field. It really felt like where his arms were, and obviously the ball was in his arms, were across the white line. It sure looked like it was going to be a touchdown. You guys probably saw it better than I did. Did it look like a touchdown? You go back and say it's huge. It's seven points or it's not seven points. We ended up getting the ball back and driving and scoring within one possession. Life goes on. You have to find a way to overcome whatever happens out there."
(on the offense being ineffective) "We've had two home outings like that unfortunately. We have to find a way get a better tempo, a better rhythm created in the first half. It does so much for our team, it so much for our offense when we are able to do that. So we have to find a way to do that. We'll look at the film but again third down efficiency was really poor in the first half I know. You have to be able to convert third downs. You have to go make some plays. I know we missed some big play opportunities in the passing game. You just have to sustain drives. We've always said that if we get that first, first down, we can get two or three going into the drive, that's when we really start clicking and finding our rhythm, start laying the defense down and you're able to get some points. We just haven't been able to do that at home those two times."
(on finality of season) "I don't know if that's in the register yet. I'm more just disappointed in the outcome of the game. I'm feeling like despite the way we played offensively in the first half, our defense battled and put us in a position to win that game in the end. We're down six points with two and change and we were not able to win the game. That was disappointing."
(on situational turnovers shadowing good statistics) "That's been frustrating and disappointing. I don't know where we stand in regards to turnovers overall and how that matches up with years past. I'm not thinking about that though/ I'm more in the moment and how did it affect this game. We could very easily look back and say there were many, many chances where we had chances in the end and we were not able to capitalize. I'd say in every season, the difference between being a 12-4/11-5 team and a team that's 8-8 is a fine line: did you win some of those close games or did you lose them? Fortunately in the past I feel like we've won some of those. Unfortunately, this year we have not won many of those games."
(on getting older and running out chances to win another Super Bowl) "I think that's stating the obvious. I am not getting younger, none of us are. I'm not thinking about anything other than the opportunity that's right before you season to season. I feel like all of the pieces are in place here to do that."
(on hearing Carolina won and playoff chances were done) "I really didn't hear that until just walking in here. It's disappointing. It's disappointing to know that with two games left, we controlled out own destiny. If we win, we're in. And we were not able to do that."
(on if he can put his finger on why there was no consistency with the offense from week to week) "No I can't right now. We will reflect on that at the end of the season. But for now, we want to be as good as we can be in the next game and be professionals. Even though we are not playing for a playoff berth, we are still playing for a lot."
(on the interception on a possible game winning drive in the fourth quarter) "It's about as bad a feeling as you could ever have as a quarterback."
(on the offensive line struggling to protect the quarterback) "I feel like we have one the best offensive lines in the league. I feel like we've had that for a long time and we'll continue to have that with the guys that we have: their character, the way that they work, and certainly their performance. Pass protection is not just on the five guys in front of me: there's tight ends that are included in that, there are running backs. I am very much included in that because there are times where a play is meant to take this long and so the ball needs to come out at this time. And if it doesn't, then that's my fault. There are times where guys are going to get free so I either have to make them miss, have to get rid of the ball, or take a sack, live to play another day and come back on the next play and make up for it. There's so much that goes into pass protection. Certainly I wouldn't put anything on those guys. I think that they've done a phenomenal job all season."
(on fumble in first half to lose field goal position) "The unfortunate thing about that one it the guy that sacked me was not a blitzer: he was the guy who was covering the running back. The running back got caught up and he just activated on it. We had a play that was a double move for Jimmy where he has to come all the way down the field with an opportunity for a big play. And unfortunately it was bang, bang. I wasn't able to get it out because the back gets caught up and that guy comes. Again that's one of those examples of protection where the O-line did everything they needed to do, they took care of all of their guys. They weren't responsible for that guy that came. It just happened at a bad time on a bad place on the field."
(on as bad a feeling that you could ever have) "It's in any situation where you have a chance to win and the ball is in your hands and there's any type of a turnover or you just don't accomplish it. If you don't accomplish it when the ball is in your hands, that's as bad a feeling as you can have as a quarterback."
(on ending season with that kind of turnover being theme of season) "Well the season's not over, we still have next week. But the way to finish this (last home) game of the season, it was very disappointing."
(on getting caught up in disappointment before season's over) "I really never look too far ahead. I will be approaching this week of preparation just like I would be if we were undefeated and trying to keep the undefeated streak going or if we had won this game or in this case if the season's going to end after this game."

T #64 ZACH STRIEF
(on the Jimmy Graham non-touchdown) "It was points off the board and a big momentum shift. It is a tough deal. I wasn't able to put my head under the curtain. Obviously, we thought he was in."
(on the disappointment of not winning today) "You play this game for a lot of folks. You play for your family. You play for the people that brought you here and believed in you. You play for your teammates. You play for the fans that support you. So, you feel like you let everybody down. You feel like you let down everybody that walks out of the stadium. That's tough. We deserve it. We got what we deserved. It's disappointing.

TE #82 BENJAMIN WATSON
(on why the consistency eluded them this year) "No. I can't (answer that) other that the fact that it's the NFL and you aren't going to win every year. For whatever reason, it's not our year to do it. We went into the season with high hopes. We worked hard. We did all those things, but it still didn't manifest itself to wins. You never know when the work that you invest in is going to ring true."

OLB #93 JUNIOR GALETTE
(on the finality of the season) "It's tough to finish a year this way. We have to find a way to learn from this."
(on what did the Falcons do effectively on offense) "They gashed us one time on the running play. Going into the game we wanted to outplay their defense and we didn't outplay their defense."

CB #28 KEENAN LEWIS
(on the finality of the season) "It's always difficult when you are sitting at home during the holidays watching other teams compete for the goal. It's always tough, but we have to come out and be professional next weekend and play hard."
(on describing the season) "It was tough getting over the hump. Some games we would start out slow. It was like that most of the season. Hopefully, next year we can get it fixed."
(on the play of the defense today) "I thought we did alright. They didn't come out with 500 yards or so at will. We came out today and competed. It wasn't like it was the first game we played them this season.

NT #92 JOHN JENKINS
(on the stopping the Atlanta offense) "We just didn't go out and execute enough to win."
(on losing the game at home) "It's bad to lose anywhere when you put as much work as you do into it. It hurts when you don't get the result that you want."
(on describing the season) "I think as a whole we didn't come out and plan on doing what we wanted to do. We'd put it up on the board, but didn't execute on the field. It just wasn't quite right for us this year. We just couldn't get over the hump."

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