New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton joined Bobby Hebert and Zach Strief on the Saints Radio Network on Monday night to discuss his team's Week 8 performance at Chicago.
"I, to some degree, was rooting for the elements," Payton said Monday about the Saints game plan heading into the 26-23 overtime game in Chicago. "The temperature wasn't a big deal, but the high winds, we felt like were going to make it a ground game. And look, if there's a game where you're going in short-handed at receiver, might as well be a game where there's going to be 30 mph winds and it's going to be more difficult to pass and force you to run the ball a little bit more."
With star receiver Michael Thomas inactive for the sixth straight contest, and fellow receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Marquez Callaway also sidelined, New Orleans relied heavily on running back Alvin Kamara in the pass game.
"Alvin's having a fantastic year," Payton said. "And so you're constantly looking for touches, whether it's running plays or plays where he's out of the backfield. They played us in a little bit of a five-man front and forced us to throw it. And when they were in that package, we had one-on-one matchups with man-to-man, and Jared (Cook) won a number of those. Alvin won a number of those. The big run in overtime obviously was significant. That put us right in field-goal range. You know you want to get the ball in their hands, and I think that process begins at the beginning of the week."
Defensively, Saints linebacker Demario Davis had an opportunity to seal the win in regulation, but a forward progress call allowed Chicago to maintain possession after Davis forced and jumped on a fumble.
"Obviously, when a runner is tackled, his forward progress is stopped," Payton said. "On that play, when you watch it, the question I have is do you want that whistle right away? Then we can find 20 plays over this past weekend where there's a defender kind of beginning to tackle somebody. And if you want that whistle at that moment, then you're going to have a lot of plays that never materialize.
"Demario does a great job. The receiver catches it, and before his third step hits the ground, it's punched out. I think it's a fumble. It looked like one, it smelled like one, it tasted like one, it probably is one."
The Saints travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers at 7:20 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8 on "Sunday Night Football."