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New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton offers blunt assessment of Philadelphia loss

'I don't think we played well in any phase'

Gallery_Game_Action_Week14_Saints_Eagles_20201213_046
Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles matchup in Week 14 of the 2020 NFL season.

Early Monday afternoon, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton still was re-watching film of the Saints' 24-21 loss to the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, and it was no more appealing on the re-watch.

The Saints (10-3) had a nine-game winning streak snapped and remain one victory – or a Tampa Bay loss – from winning the NFC South Division for the fourth consecutive season.

Noticeably for Payton, Sunday's across-the-board lack of execution continued to replay before his eyes, the totality of which the Saints had been able to avoid during the two-and-a-half months of consecutive wins.

Rather than a lack of preparation, Payton said, "I said, 'Man, we looked flat, we didn't look ready to play,' and that's a reflection on me. And that's upsetting. And so, I've got to do a better job of making sure – I don't think we played well in any phase.

"I'm watching it again right now – offensively it's sloppy. Screens, the naked (bootlegs), the run game, it looks awful.

"And defensively, they're still running. The quarterback (Jalen Hurts) is outside the pocket. All the things we didn't want to allow happen, happened in that game. We can't kick a field goal early in the game two weeks in a row, that's a problem. So, that's where we start."

The Eagles ran for 246 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries, with two 100-yard rushers: Hurts (18 carries for 106 yards) and Miles Sanders (14 for 115 and two scores).

"It was a completely different type of attack offensively, and so there were a handful of things we probably would have done differently, looking at this tape," Payton said. "We didn't handle the quarterback run, the quarterback contain. Obviously, when you give up 240 yards rushing, there aren't a lot of things you did well."

Payton said there were specific defensive calls designed to contain Hurts.

"We were slow playing the zone with the ends," he said. "The more upsetting element, there were some times with a five-man rush, we were rushing to contain and we didn't do that effectively. That should be easier to do when you're rushing five, is to keep the quarterback where you want him. And we didn't do a good enough job of that. So obviously, we didn't get enough good work at it."

Offensively, the Saints were scoreless in the first half and the three touchdowns in the second half weren't enough to overcome a costly interception and lost fumble, both by quarterback Taysom Hill.

"I thought he played all right," Payton said. "He's still slow on a few decisions, he's to the wrong side of the field a few times relative to making decisions. And I don't like the fact that the ball was out again (on the fumble).

"The screen pass needs to be out quicker, with a little bit less velocity, a little bit easier. If they're rushing, if there's a blitz he's faced with, back up and just dump it off to the running back. There's some things that he's got to clean up."

But there wasn't much help provided in terms of protection. Hill was sacked five times, while completing 28 of 38 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns.

"(Left guard Andrus) Peat's gotta play better," Payton said, when asked about the line's play. "He's gotta play better. I don't think any one of them played particularly great, but we'll keep working here."

The work this week will involve preparation for Kansas City (12-1), the most recent Super Bowl champion, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes, the NFL Most Valuable Player in 2018 and a front-runner for the award this season, has completed 68.4 percent of his passes this season, for 4,208 yards and 33 touchdowns, with five interceptions. He also has 52 carries for 250 yards and two touchdowns.

"They give you everything formationally," Payton said of the Chiefs. "They give you a lot of movement. The quarterback is very good at extending plays. They give you a bunch of looks. So it's on to a different attack, obviously, a challenging one."

"They're on the schedule, it's kind of what it is," Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. "We know what's at stake. We know who they are. At the end of the day, we'll focus on us.

"So, we got to go back to the drawing board and go back to what we do. And we know if we go out and execute and do the things that we can do, that we know we can do, we're putting ourselves in the best position to win games, no matter who's out there."

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