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New Orleans Saints-New England Patriots postgame quotes: Sean Payton, Bill Belichick

Saints defeated Patriots 28-13

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton

Postgame press conference - Sept. 26, 2021

Q: Is this the formula for you all to win this season, defense, special teams, efficient offense?

SP: Yeah, listen, I know this, just being in this league long enough, sometimes that formula has to change. We felt like going in that we wanted to effectively run the football. Obviously ball security, playing in here, is a must when you consider their record at home. But I think it's too hard to say each week. I mean, it's going to vary based on the opponents. I thought we did a handful of the things we were trying to do. We're going to look at the tape Monday, I'm sure it's not going to be perfect, then we'll make corrections.

Q: You talked about turnovers earlier in the week. How much did you hammer home that point to Jameis Winston in particular?

SP: Well, to everyone. When you're 108 and 7 at home when you win the turnover battle, that's significant. Obviously, that's a testament to their program. We're mindful of it every week, but it had to be something that was put in our heads every day. I thought we took care of the football. I thought that was important.

Q: On the touchdown throw, did Jameis know there was a flag coming or is that a decision –

SP: I don't think he knew there was a flag coming. I think it was that complete or incomplete. We'll look at the tape. We were a bit fortunate there. Marquez (Callaway) made a play. Kind of a hold-your-breath moment.

Q: Before that last touchdown drive you put together, the offense hadn't really had much going in the second half. When you were going into that drive, what were you hoping you guys accomplished there?

SP: Look, naturally it was to possess the ball. I mean, momentum had shifted. They had just come off a score. It was a one-score game at that point. A field goal even really was going to give us some breathing room.

It was to change the field position as much as anything. I felt like we played with a positive field position for a large part of the first half, and even into the early part of the second half. But when you start a drive like that, you're thinking about making first downs. You're not in just a four-minute run-the-ball mode. You know you're going to have to throw it as well as run it. That was a significant drive.

Q: Was Taysom Hill on that drive, specifically considering what you wanted to accomplish, an in-game decision right there?

SP: Well, look, later in the game like that, you're going to get a loaded box. There's one way to lighten it a little bit, remove somebody, then directly run it with your quarterback. Part of that was to combat some of the heavier fronts.

Q: Your team is coming back home now. How would you say they handled this past three or four weeks? What did you learn about this team during this time?

SP: Look, I thought we've handled it well. Shoot, everyone at TCU, Texas Stadium, the hotel we were at, there were a lot of people that were fantastic and very supportive of us. It's obviously a challenge when you're not on schedule at home. But I thought we handled that part of it well. I thought we had a good week of preparation leading up to this game. It will be good to get home tonight finally, kind of get back to our facility.

Q: Have you liked the aspect of all of y'all on the road together?

SP: Yeah, look, it is what it is. I think starting off the season, relative to how training camps are, I think as challenging as it was for everyone, there is an element where you're focused on football, you're at the hotel, there aren't a lot of distractions. We got to keep getting better. We'll have a chance to do that again this week. We'll be back a little bit more to a familiar circumstance.

Q: The defense has been playing really well for a few years now. What have you really liked about the way they've set the tone in a couple of these games now despite having two rookie starters, newcomers?

SP: I thought we tackled in space well today, number one. I thought we affected the quarterback. When it became a little bit more one-dimensional, obviously it's a little bit more difficult to consistently generate the rush. Thought we kept the ball in front of us. Yeah, I'm sure when we watch the tape there will be some things that stand out. But I really thought we tackled well.

Q: Did you feel like you guys cleaned everything up on the protections that you wanted to this week?

SP: Yeah, look, that's a week-to-week thing. For the most part I thought up front we blocked them well. Terron [Armstead] went down early on. We jumped right in. James [Hurst] got in. But we were able to run the ball. I think that was important.

Q: Did you all see something on the blocked punt that y'all thought you might be able to get to one?

SP: I can't say that for sure. I think it was more of a by-product of probably really good effort and technique. That was significant. I thought all three areas, all three phases, did a good job. We had a handful of unique situations come up. I thought we handled them well.

Q: Have you changed your mind-set at all (indiscernible)?

SP: We still are smart about the reps. I don't know how many total snaps, but we talk about it between each series every series.

Q: On the last drive, Deonte Harris made two really big catches. One of them moved the chains. How crucial was he in keeping that going, eating up the clock there?

SP: Yeah, look, in order to do that you have to convert a third down or two, a third-and-six or seven, third-and-five I think it was, I'm not sure. He had a big conversion though on their bench. That was significant I thought.

Later came back, we had another underneath pass to him. That was a big drive.

The New Orleans Saints head East to take on the New England Patriots in Week 3 on September 26, 2021.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick

Postgame press conference

Sept. 26, 2021

BB: Give the Saints credit today. They were certainly the better team. They just did a better job than we did in every area and deserved to win. We've just got to play more consistently. We've got to play with more good plays out there and not as many that aren't good. That's what we have to do. We had some chances, but in the end, we just couldn't get it done. It's disappointing. There's no magic sauce here. Just have to go back to work and do better.

Q: We saw after the first punt, after Deonte Harris, after he had the 25-yard return, that Jake Bailey put an emphasis on keeping the ball away from him, whether through the end zone or at the sideline. Was that something you had as an emphasis coming into the game, or did that change after that first punt return?

BB: Of course we weren't trying to give him return opportunities, no.

Q: What happened with the special teams today? Allowing a blocked punt, kickoff out of bounds. How disappointing is the special teams performance today?

BB: We've got to be better in every area, including special teams.

Q: What have you assessed about the offensive line the first three weeks of the season?

BB: Again, just today we were inconsistent in every area. We've just got to do a better job. Go back and look at the film, make some corrections. Obviously, New Orleans has a good defense, but we've got to move the ball better than we did today. Play better in the defense. Play better in the kicking game.

Q: Have you had a chance to see James White at all either at halftime or after the game? Just how is he hanging in there?

BB: Yeah, I saw him at halftime. We'll see.

Q: The wind -- how much was the wind a factor? We saw a kickoff go out of bounds. We saw the time-out at the end of, I think, the first quarter maybe to make them kick to the open end there. How is that a factor in the decision-making or the game today?

BB: It's about what it was in Miami and Washington.

Q: What did you see on Mac Jones' interceptions?

BB: Well, probably the same thing you saw.

Q: Losing James White, did that have a domino effect in terms of what you wanted to do with the game plan going on after you lost him?

BB: We have contingency plans for everybody. Unfortunately, that's part of the game. Everybody has to have a backup. Brandon (Bolden) stepped in there and Damien (Harris) and J.J. [Taylor, and those guys are all good players. They'll get in there and compete.

Q: What did you think of just kind of the beating that Mac took in terms of maybe how he bounced up all the time or also just concern going forward that those hits take a toll and maybe he gets a little bit more -- I don't know if gun shy is the right word, but it's a lot to take.

BB: When you're having to throw every down, it's never a good position to be in. We don't ever want to be in that situation.

Q: The Bucs are next on the schedule. What kind of challenge do they pose next week and the return of Tom Brady?

BB: Obviously, they're a good team. Right now we're just focused on New Orleans. Look at the film, make the corrections on that, then we'll move on.

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