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John DeShazier: Quick turnaround has Saints players focused on Falcons

Players focused on next game not the one they just played

A compressed schedule that climaxes with a nationally televised, Thursday night game against Atlanta ensured that the remnants from New Orleans' 39-17 loss to Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field couldn't be dwelled upon.

For the New Orleans Saints players, perhaps, it's just as well that Sunday's performance remain buried in the past quicker than usual. Because the second half, in which the Saints (1-4) saw the Eagles score 29 straight points, is one New Orleans quickly hopes to leave behind as it prepares for Thursday's game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the NFC South Division-leading Falcons (5-0).

"I think that's the case," Coach Sean Payton said Monday. "I know, coming off a tough loss, you're anxious to get back and have success and eliminate that bad taste

"(Players are) off today, we're game-planning, there's a lot that goes into today's study. They come in tomorrow and there's a quick turnaround for a Thursday game, but I think, to some degree, yes."

Said defensive end Cam Jordan: "The advantage (of playing Thursday) is you don't harp on what happened the prior week as much, because you don't have the time to. You focus strictly on the game ahead, and that's something that has proven to help us and I'm hoping it'll do the same this year."

The Saints have won their last two Thursday night games, both on the road, 17-13 against Atlanta two years ago and 28-10 against Carolina last year. Two years ago they won all three games they played in the 11-day stretch that comes with a Thursday night game, and last year they won two of three.

However, both of those times, they entered Thursday night carrying the momentum of a Sunday victory.

This time, the 24-hour rule that the team has in place regardless of result – one day to reflect on victory or defeat – may well have been half or one-third of that, given the desire to not relive every minute of its most lopsided result of the season.

The Saints tied the score at 10-10 on Zach Hocker's 21-yard field goal with 11:12 left in the third quarter, and then watched the Eagles score 29 straight points (three touchdowns and three field goals), aided by three second-half turnovers by New Orleans.

"I think we did a lot of good things in the first half," Jordan said. "We were worried about the tempo and I think we matched that quite well.

"That being said, the second half, they did a couple of adjustments, did a little more outside zone runs on us and that's something that we needed to address."

The addressing will come in the form of relating it to preparation for Atlanta.

"We had to watch the film and see what we can improve on and get us ready for Thursday," running back Mark Ingram said. "It's a quick turnaround, division opponent so we have to put that behind us and get ready to play them on Thursday.

"We're fortunate enough to be able to play Thursday, (but) you still kind of take that 24-hour rule. We'll be ready to play Thursday.

"We just try to uplift each other. We try to encourage each other, keep each other positive because if you're negative it's just going to be negative, it'll stay negative. The only way you can do better and improve is to stick together and have each other's back. So that's our main thing – we're trying to stick together and not let everybody else break us up."

Photos from the Saints at Eagles game on Sunday, October 11, 2015. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)

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