Saints head coach Sean Payton
"It is a tough way to lose a game. Tip your hat to Atlanta. I thought they played better than us today. You can focus more on the result of that game. As a coach, our jobs are to focus on what caused the result. We did not do enough things well today. That always bothers you as the coach because you're wanting to see your performance be more consistent, better, but there were too many penalties, too many long yardage situations. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball a number of times on offense in the first half. We finally put together a few drives at the end of the game. We did not do the things that winning teams do consistently in our league. We have to get that corrected. We have to do a better job coaching. That starts with me and being more consistent in some areas. Our third down numbers, now two-three weeks in a row, have been just average at best. We kind of go from there. It is what it is."
On the speed of the game in the second half
"We sped up the tempo in the fourth quarter. There was a point in which we were down more than two scores. Quickly, we got into a two-minute mode. Fortunately, we were able to score. We kind of stayed with that the next drive. Once the time was in our favor, we kind of went back to a more traditional approach on the final drive when we scored. That happened on the third to last drive, fourth to last drive of the game."
On the reason for the tempo adjustment
"You're looking at the scoreboard and saying you can't just meander along here and run handoffs and huddle up. We need to get moving a little bit."
On if the Saints would have let the Falcons score on the last drive:
"Yeah. Typically, you take a knee there. They took a knee on the next play. We got it punched out. I do not know who did it. It is hard to see. When it's that close, you've seen us in that position before -- run the clock down, kick the field goal with no time left. [Mike Davis] was smart enough where he was going to not score."
On Trevor Siemian's performance
"Overall, he played well. We missed some pickups. He had a few throws in there that were not primary receivers and played with poise, brought us back. I thought, overall, I felt like it was good. Of course, we will look at it and grade it. I thought we dropped a few balls, more than our fair share. Like I said, we were third-and-long, I don't know how many times with the penalties in the first half, frustrating."
On if the Saints could have done anything different in coverage on the last big play
"Yes, you want to stay on top of your coverage in that situation. We were playing in a three-deep zone."
On using Taysom Hill today and his contributions
"We had a package (for him). I thought he gave us some energy when he came in. We had a run; we had a handful of plays. It was just kind of how the game went. Look, if you're not converting third downs, then your number count is not going to be 70-something offensive plays or 80. You are going to have a shorter amount of plays. He is part of the plan."
On the sequence with Hill
"I think it was the second half. There was a sequence of plays. We were getting a lot of single-safety, man-to-man looks. We got to one of his runs earlier. Then, we got to some play-action passes. A lot of it was by design."
On if there was a thought of changing the quarterback
"It wasn't changing the quarterback. That's a fair question. It was more of trying to get to a play that we had that he was taking the snaps of."
On C.J. Gardner-Johnson's injury
"He's a good football player. It's always difficult when you lose a starter like that. We had to make some adjustments. Hopefully, he can get back on the field quicker than later. It's tough. No update. We will keep you guys posted."
On if the Saints had to get out of their game plan
"No, well the time you would say you were out of your game plan a little bit is when we were in that hurry-up offense. The minute we got into no huddle, you kind of got out of your game plan there. You're having to react according to the score on the game and the time left on the clock. The next series, we were still in hurry up and scored. That final series, we were back in our game plan. The time was in our favor."
On Alvin Kamara's run on the failed two-point conversion
"It's hard to tell. We have to see the film. It was a running play. It happened so quickly. We'll watch, make corrections on it and see what happened."
On if it is fair to say that the Saints did not do enough to affect Matt Ryan today
"Yeah, I think that is fair to say. I don't know what his numbers were, but they were pretty good. Yeah, I think it is fair to say that"
On the dropped passes
"It wasn't just receivers, I saw other guys dropping balls."
On if it was hard to get in a rhythm after self-inflicted wounds:
"Yeah, it just felt like we were one play away numerous of times. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done, especially early. Seemed like every time we got something going, something came up the other way. So, we have to get that fixed."
On if the drops are frustrating:
"Not really. You are worrying about the next play, and I told the guys I'm going to keep coming at them. Unfortunately, in the first half we just have to be better."
On what changed offensively and allowed the Saints to get rolling later on:
"The urgency picked up quickly. For whatever reason we got it going but too little, too late. Can't spot a team that many scores and expect to win."
On how he felt for his first start in a long time:
"I felt okay. There's certainly some plays I want back; it wasn't perfect. Just anxious to get into the game. You have first drive, second drive, and you feel like you are in a football game again. Just wish we could have done a little more in the first half, but it felt good."
On if it Is a battle to remain levelheaded and not get frustrated:
"Yeah I think so. It's frustrating for all of us. You're worried about the next play, and we've got to get it fixed. The urgency certainly rises, but you do what it takes to get it right. Worrying doesn't really help the cause so just focus on the next play and getting it right. We've got good players, so guys are going to make plays and we just have to give them opportunities."
On what happened on the strip sack in the second quarter:
"I told Terron (Armstead) I thought I was probably too deep. I have to look at it, but I thought I could have stepped up."
On what his perspective is on this team:
"We've got a really good team. We must take it one week at a time, but I don't think there is anything we can't do. Everyone in the locker room realizes that but the things that we didn't do well today we have to get fixed. Next week is coming and I'm anxious to get back out and play. I wish it was tomorrow or the next day, but we've got to get it fixed and I think we will get it right."
On if the battle of inconsistency is something they have to focus on:
"Sure, but that's the name of the game. If you're consistent and did everything right all the time you'd be 17-0. That's how this league works. You have to expect everyone's best every game. We have to be ready to go next week."
On if success in the 4th gives him a better feeling about the day:
"No, we lost."
On what the whiplash is like being up late in the 4th and to lose in the final seconds:
"I knew there was a lot of time left and the game wasn't over when we scored at the end. Looked like (Cordarrelle) Patterson made a really good play on the sideline and it was a good throw. There was a lot of time left, so you're still holding your breathe a little bit."
On if he could feel momentum shift in the Saints favor as they got it going late in the game:
"There was some drives we stayed on the field and we got a couple big plays. We got the momentum back and that was big. For us, you just have to find a way to capture that earlier in the game. You don't have to be in 2-minute to do that either. I think we will get it right next week."
On CJ Gardner-Johnson's injury:
"He is obviously a huge part of what we do on our defense. He made a bunch of plays early in the game, a great matchup in the slot, pressures well. He does everything, so missing him is going to be a big deal. But I thought the guys, we put them everywhere and I thought they played well. Bradley Roby and (Paulson) Adebo out there, playing some (different) roles as well. It just calls for guys to be up, but I think we played well. Even though we lost, we feel good."
On his read on the Saints team right now:
"All things considered, we've had an interesting first half of the season. I think we've competed well, I think we've shown ourselves that when we execute, we can play with anybody. The biggest thing for us that I would say we don't like is the inconsistency. We're a team that doesn't make excuses, we don't care about what's going on outside of who's on the field. For us, if we want to be the team that we want, we have to figure out how to continually be consistent, even, obviously, there are going to be some adverse situations. That is not uncommon. We have to come out more on the winning end of it than losing."
On concern of letting the guard down after a big, emotional win over Tampa:
"I think it's easy to point to that. We had the Super Bowl MVP here last week coming off of a game in Seattle, that it's one of those games that we let our guard down. I really don't think that's the case. I think realistically as a team, our margin for error if we want to succeed is going to be smaller. We tried to put ourselves in that position, and we just didn't come out with it."
On issues of keeping the Falcons contained today:
"It was self-inflicted wounds and penalties. Some mishaps and mis-execution. I think we did a good job of converting some first downs, but the big third downs we just couldn't stay on the field and sustain drives, especially in the red zone. Penalties pushed us out, so mostly self-inflicted wounds."
On importance of executing a clean game with a new quarterback:
"I mean, any game, every game, every week. This is the NFL. It's a small margin for error, and we keep committing those errors and putting ourselves in a bad starting spot. I think we responded well, cleaned up some areas, started to put some points on the board, but ultimately we just came up short."
On Trevor Siemian as starting QB running tempo offense:
"Trevor Siemian is great, very composed, in control of everything. In the pocket he was great, good decisions, everything. I'm a huge fan."
On the team having a small margin for error with some of the injuries:
"We don't want to make those mistakes, regardless of it we have (Jameis Winston) and the others, we don't want to make those mistakes. Especially the self-inflicted ones. You come into a game and things happen, but those guys make plays as well. The things we can control, we try to get that squared away during the week so when we come out on Sunday, we don't have those mistakes. I would say this team has a different margin of error from others, and that discipline, technique, fundamentals, everything – that carries along no matter the personnel."