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New Orleans Saints players on win against Seahawks

Tim Hightower, Zach Strief, Craig Robertson, Cam Jordan Willie Snead IV, Max Unger and Nate Stupar spoke about win against Seahawks


RB Tim Hightower

(On how well they executed their game plan today)
"We did exactly what we needed to do and what we wanted to do. We knew coming in here that it was going to be a defensive game. Seattle has had arguably one of the best defenses in the league in the past couple of years. When you watch the film, you see that, so for the offense, we know we have to sustain drives and control the line of scrimmage. We have to give the team a chance to win in the fourth quarter, and I think that we did that.'

(On if this game suited his strengths)
"I think I definitely thrive in these situations. I pride myself on being a physical runner and trying to set the tone. There are a couple of games every year, when the schedule comes out, that you look at and really pay attention to. You definitely want to win them all, but I think this was one of the games that you know coming into it, all throughout the week, that this game is going to be physical. I think for me, I just needed to prepare myself in my mind that I am built for this type of game. I'm old school; I like the physicality of the game, and that's what this [game] was."

(On if beating a team like Seattle shows Saints' potential)
"I don't know. What I do hope is that we can take some things from this game. I think we did a great job of playing complementary football, and that's what it takes down the stretch as you start to get into November, December and the playoffs. It's not about one side of the football; it's about playing complementary football. You just have to keep plugging away. The big thing that we did well today was that, when things didn't go well early, we stuck to our gameplan. They gave us some tough looks running the football, but we stuck to our plan and stayed patient. We took what they gave us, and in the fourth quarter, we put ourselves in a position to win the game."

(On preparation when workload for game is unknown)
"It is tough. However, I always go back to when I was out of the game for a while, and that helps me keep the perspective that you always have to stay ready. It is one thing to say it, but what does that really mean? It means that, when you are working out in the summer, you are visualizing and putting yourself in those situations where it is the fourth quarter, and the game is on the line, and you make every single rep count. That is what I try to take in my approach to practice and film and in the offseason. Every single rep, every sprint, every time I go in the weight room, my team is going to be counting on me, and it helps you live for these opportunities."

(On if he talked to Mark Ingram after the game)
"Absolutely. I've been in his shoes. It's easy to forget what you came from. I've had some of those rough games; I've had games where I put the ball on the ground two times, and it hurts. We work hard in this game, and when of our own is down, the rest of us have to pick him up. That's what I tried to do, and I told him that he is a heck of a running back. We are going to need him, just like today they [the Saints] needed me. We're going to need him; we're going to need [Daniel] Lasco; we're going to need all of us. This is a long season, and he just needs to keep his head up and keep working."

(On bringing the Saints victories during his two 100-yard games)
"Let's keep winning. I try not to put too much on stats. Whatever it takes to win, that's what I want to do and that's why I'm here."

(On getting extra carries helping with his rhythm today)
"It helps a lot. I think every running back would say that, the more you are out there, the more things slow down. The game moves fast, the reads move fast, and the longer you are in there, you can kind of see what the defense is doing. You get a chance to talk to your linemen and see what the defense is trying to do and where the open seams are. You can kind of get a feel for what exactly is going on, and to be able to do that, and then get a chance to consistently call some of the same runs back-to-back, you can see how they are playing you and those plays, and it slows everything down a bit."

(On Seattle having a tough goal line defense)
"They play a good defense. They play sound football. You can see it on film. You do not see a lot of busted coverages or missed assignments. They play sound, fundamental football, and they play very fast and physical, so that is something that you have to be patient with. You cannot try to work outside the confines of the offense by bouncing outside and cutting something back. I have to stay true to my reads, and they make you stay true to your reads. You do not see a lot of guys jumping outside of the gaps. They're going to play physical and sound football, and you just have to be patient. You cannot get antsy. I get a little frustrated when I could not get into the end zone on a couple of those runs, but I just know that that is the type of defense they are. We have to outlast them and match their intensity, and you will put yourself in a good position."

(On if he felt like he was ready to go for a long run at any moment)
"I always feel that way. I work too hard not to, and that's what I told my guys. I told the linemen to keep working for me, because I'm running hard and they are going to get tired. In that fourth quarter, I looked over on that sideline and I saw a couple of those guys on their knees and I knew that that was exactly where we wanted them. When you're training in the offseason and during the week, you do an extra rep for these kind of games. You do an extra sprint or an extra set when you know that you need to have that energy in the fourth quarter to pull these games out."

(On if he has any juice going against a former NFC West rival)
"No, I just want to win."

(On if their strategy was to let Seattle set the intensity early on and then to match it)
"Absolutely. You see it on film. This team [Seattle] thrives off of chaos. Those guys talk a lot of trash and bring a lot of high energy. They're trying to get you to respond and play into their game, which is creating turnover and chaos. The challenge for us was keeping our poise; letting them do what they do and bring their energy while we just keep knocking on the door and being patient and see where we are in the fourth quarter."

(On what makes Drew Brees so good on third down)
"He is probably gone through every scenario that he could go through about 100 times. He is so prepared. I have never been around somebody who prepares as he does. He literally goes through every scenario. It's funny to see him in practice, because he's telling our defense where they're supposed to line up, and that just shows how much of a student of the game he is; that he knows the situation and where guys are going to be. You can trust a guy like that; he is going to get us in the right place and find the right guy at the right time. You just need to be in your spot and do your job, and he is going to find you. His preparation is second to none."

(On what the primary strategic benefits were for running as much as he did)
"I think a little bit of everything. You keep our defense off of the field, which gives them a chance to be fresh going into the second half, but also, with a team like that, you can't run away from guys like that. You have to put your foot in the ground and run straight at them. They are a physical team, and you can't try to make a physical team finesse. You have to match their intensity, and you have to pound them and lean on them. When you do that, you wear teams down. Any defense that is on the field when you sustain drives like that is going to get tired, and we controlled the time of possession today, which helped with that. Anytime you play a team like that, you just have to wear them down and play their football, and I do not know if they were quite prepared for that kind of game. We knew, coming into this game, that they had played a long game last week. They played a lot of plays in that overtime game, and they still were tired from that game and making that trip all the way across the country. All those things factor into a win like this."

**T Zach Strief

(On if the Seahawks were surprised that they stuck with the running game)**
"We knew this was not going to be a game where we threw it 50 times. They have good pass rushers, so I do not think it surprised them that we were run-heavy. Maybe the fact that we stuck with it through the entire game caught them off guard, but that's a compliment to Sean [Payton] and the coaching staff, because I think it paid off in the end."

(On what makes the Seahawks so tough on the goal line)
"It's an aggressive defense. I think the first time we got a run through on it, and that is an instinctive play by that guy, which kind of bounced the play further than we wanted it. We probably had our best chance on that first one, but they have a good defense with great players and instinctive players that fly around. When you're that tight and you have that few options and they have so little to defend, it's tough, so we didn't execute great down there, and that's disappointing, because I think that might have made this game a little closer than it could've been, but they are the number one red zone defense in the league for a reason."

LB Craig Robertson

(On overall thoughts on the win)
"They are a quality team, and to win in this league is hard anyways, so just to beat anybody is big. Seattle is definitely a huge team and huge win for us, but, we have a 24-hour rule, so we have to flush this win and move on to San Francisco, because we've got more games that we have to stack up."

(On effective defense throughout the game)
"I think we were pretty effective. We just have to figure out what we need to do in the second half, because they finished with about 75 yards (rushing), so we have to shut them down in the second half, because if we can do it in the first half and hold them to just three yards, we can do it in the second half as well."

(On if defense is starting to come together and get things right)
"We're starting to get things right, but we still have to stay consistent on our path, because you don't want to get too high with a win like this. You know you have a game next week, so you have to stay even-keeled and be ready to play next week."

DE Cameron Jordan

(On defensive performance overall today)
"Nick [Fairley] had a couple of good plays, and just as a defensive line we tried to make this a statement game for us, just always putting them in the backfield. I think we held (them) to under five yards of rushing in the first half, and I don't know what they ended up with, but it wasn't enough to get the win, and that's what we are excited about. Our defense stood up where it counted and we got off the field enough times to give it back to Drew [Brees]."

(On holding them off on their last drive to come up with the win)
"No doubt. They came in with two minutes and no timeouts, so we knew things were headed in our favor. We knew had to keep them off the sideline and keep the ball down, so that's what we tried to do. To their credit, me and Paul Kruger hit them on that last series at least three times, and he still got the ball off. We knew it was going to be a game for quick throws, and that's something we tried to get an emphasis on."

(On how big this win was)
"We were aware of Christine Michael, so knowing that he was coming into our building, we knew we had to make their running back our advantage. We tried to get as many turnovers as we could, and we ended up with one on the day to match their one as well as their defensive speed. I think we really set the tone for our guys, and that's something we have to do every week."

WR Willie Snead

(On beating this defense saying something about Saints' receivers)
"That we are not scared of anybody, and we will take on any challenge. If you ask me, I feel like we are the best receiving corps in the league, because we are young, tough and we are going to get at you hard no matter who is on the field. I respect that defense a heck of a lot more after going against them, but at the end of the day, we control what we control, and that's what we did today."

(On if it feels like they are getting a consistent team performance the last few weeks)
"Yes, absolutely. We just have to keep doing the little things right, and just playing for each other. I think that's been the difference the last couple of weeks. We are pushing each other and playing for each other, and we have the confidence that we are all going to go out there and make the plays that we need to make when he need to make them, on offense, defense and special teams. If we keep going with this mindset, 1-0 every week, we are going to be doing some special things."

C Max Unger

(On how this team has responded after being considered out of it early on)
"It's a long season, and I haven't watched any film of San Francisco yet. It's going to be a tough game and it's a road game on a West Coast trip, so that's difficult, but we are going in the right direction. I think that this was a big win for us against a very good team. Like I said earlier, I have a lot of respect for this team, and we were able to put a good gameplan together and go out and execute it today."

(On what the difference has been the last few weeks in winning three of the last four)
"I think we're just recognizing that we have a lot of talent and we have the tools to be able to compete. I think that we're getting the guys along and to buy into our philosophy as a program, and this staff 's been here for a long time, and I think they have a proven record. They know what they want out of us, and it is just up to us to play catch up and get everybody on the same page."

LB Nate Stupar

(On his interception)
"It was a good play, and I'm excited that I could do it for the team."

(On what was going through his head during that play)
"I was just reading Russell's [Wilson] eyes, and as soon as he took his hand off the ball, I just reacted and got my hands on it and caught the ball. I'm glad I caught it, because I had a little cast on my hand, so I'm happy I could keep two hands on it and secure it."

(On how important it was to get that turnover margin back even after the early fumble)
"Turnovers are huge in this game. Games are won and lost on turnovers if you're up one or down one, so that was a big turning point to swing the momentum into our favor and get points back on the board for us. I'm glad I was able to do it. It was a great play, and I'm glad the offense scored and took advantage of that opportunity."

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