Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen
Opening remarks: "Obviously, wasn't good enough tonight. I thought defensively they got after us pretty good. We didn't get a lot of pressure on the quarterback and even at the times that we did, I thought… look, you got to give those guys a lot of credit because I thought they played outstanding on offense. I kind of knew going into this game that it was going to be a challenge and I knew (QB) Matthew Stafford was playing really good, but I don't think we played the way we needed to play either. I thought there was too many times where we talked a lot about eye candy early in the week and I thought it affected us on some plays. We certainly have to be better. I have to do a better job with those guys. Offensively, I felt like we moved the ball again, and I felt like there were some opportunities that we just didn't take advantage of… potential conversions, keep drives alive. I just felt like there were too many missed opportunities offensively. The first drive we're moving the ball well and end up turning the ball over on downs when we had a pretty good drive going. Anyway, I'll open it up to questions."
On the decision to go for it on fourth down: "We went for twice on fourth down I think in the first half. We came into this game wanting to be aggressive and knowing that the type of team that we were playing, the offense that we were playing, we knew that field goals weren't the way to go try to win this game yet we didn't want to be reckless but we felt like, in both those situations, we felt like we had plays that we liked and unfortunately it didn't work out. But there was a mindset going into it to be aggressive."
On what went into the decision to take CB Alontae Taylor out of the game: "I just felt like we needed to get (S) Ugo Amadi in there and give him an opportunity to go play."
On the decision to go for an onside kick at the end of the game: "I think it was 3:53, something like that to go in the game. We were out of timeouts. Honestly, we hadn't done a great job of stopping them up to that point so I felt like the onside kick was the right play. We didn't get it. We were going to have to stop him either way so we went for the onside kick to try to get it and see if we could and go down and tie the game."
On taking CB Alontae Taylor out and what he saw without him on the field: "I think they got him a couple times with his eyes and so I just felt like it was the right move for our team at that point."
On eye tackling and discipline being something that continues to come up for their team: "It takes a lot of discipline to do that and I think there's been times where it's been good and sometimes where it hasn't been as good. I think that's always been the challenge defensively even on the best defenses I've been a part of, that's always a challenge."
On how difficult Stafford is to stop when he has time: "He's extremely difficult. I think he's playing at an extremely high level. Some of the throws that you see him make… I saw a lot on tape that he's making pinpoint throws off his back foot, under pressure, all those kinds of things. He made a couple of really good throws today. He put it in a great spot. There were times where we had good coverage and they made plays and there were times when we weren't in good enough coverage and they made place. We'll go back and look at the tape and see where we could be better. Look, they were better than us tonight."
On why he thinks it takes almost desperation mode to see things kind of moving with the offense: "Yeah, yeah. I can't answer that question. I don't know the answer to that. I do know that our guys continue to fight. It can be a little frustrating that you'd like to think you could do some of those things a little bit earlier in the game. And like I said, we moved the ball at times early in the game. We just missed some opportunities to keep some drives alive. But look, we lost on the road to a good team and now we got to go regroup and get ready for Tampa Bay."
On what his message to the team is: "I think the biggest thing is we've got two divisional games left to play and so our focus is going to be on trying to win those two divisional games and then we'll let everything play out from there."
On if deciding to make the onside kick was a tough decision: "Yeah, look it was a conversation that we had and I felt like taking our chances on trying to get the onside kick it probably gave us the best opportunity to win and we didn't get it."
On if the performance of the defense was a reason for the onside kick: "Yeah, we hadn't done a great job of stopping them up to that point and that's part of what the conversation was."
On if the intent of the onside kick was to kick to try to get a better bounce: "Well, look, I mean they're challenging to get in our league now based on the way they make you line up and everything. I think we were kind of hoping they would kind of over shift a little bit more. I think the ball kind of bounced off his chest a little bit. We just weren't quite there to make the play."
On if run blocking an issue today: "Yeah, well we didn't run the ball well and we need to run the ball better because we can't just be a drop back passing team or a play action passing team. We need to be able to run the football better."
On what he thinks he needs to do to make the run game more effective: "Well, look, we'll have to go back to work at it, you know what I mean? I wish there was a magic formula, but we'll have to go back to work at it and see where we can be better."
On how he thought QB Derek Carr played: "Overall, I thought he played well. I think there's certainly some plays that he and we would probably like to have back. I don't know statistically how it finished up. I mean I thought there were some plays that he made and I thought there was probably a couple of plays in there that I felt like, ah, it wasn't where we needed to be. So, yeah, I thought he played okay."
On how he thought QB Derek Carr handled the pressure today: "I think he was fine. I think he was fine. I think, obviously, there's sometimes, again, where maybe get through his progression a little bit quicker, maybe hang in there a little bit more. There's a lot of things that go into it, but I thought overall, it was a solid game for him."
On getting WR Chris Olave back and if the pass game was what he was hoping it to be: "Yeah, absolutely. You want to be able to spread the ball around. Really when you're at your best is when you can call up a pass play and get through your progressions and get it to the right guy based on the coverage that we're seeing. That's what efficient offense is about and so being able to spread the ball around I think is good."
On if WR Chris Olave was limited: "Yeah, I'd say he was certainly not a hundred percent, but I was proud of him for coming in and battling the way that he did. He made some plays. I thought a couple plays, again, that he'd like to have back and we need to have back but I thought overall, there was a lot of good things I saw from him."
On the momentum change after giving up the late touchdown at the end of the second quarter: "Well, it obviously was a big play in the game, a big momentum changer in the game. At the end of the second quarter, I made the decision to go for it. I wanted to be aggressive. Obviously, they had three timeouts so to punt the ball away and give it to them, hopefully backed up, but they still got three timeouts in their pockets so again, we weren't all playing this game to try not to get beat. We were trying to play this game to win."
On the execution of the drive before the 2-minute drive and if he felt flustered or if it was just working against the clock: "No, I think that was probably just more against the clock. I didn't feel that at all."
On if he's disappointed with the team starting slow at this point in the season: "We certainly would've liked to have started the game better, played better, finished better but we didn't. I'm not into the percentages though, I'm really not. I'm just focused on… we let an opportunity go by and now we have to get ready for the things that we control which is getting ready to go play Tampa."
On if it's difficult to regroup after a loss like that: "No, we'll regroup. We're still in this thing."
Saints QB Derek Carr
On the team played tonight: "You have to give credit to them always first. They beat us and we did a great job of fighting back but it wasn't enough. Proud of our guys for that always with the way we executed at the end of the game in the second half. But obviously losing a game by eight points, it hurts because you think about every single play, what could have been. But it's tough. You tip your hat to them, to their coaching staff, to their players and they did a great job."
On the rushed tempo at the end of the second half: "We all felt better if WR Chris (Olave's) shoe doesn't blow up and we got a play there. He made a great decision on the route, exactly what we talked about. He ran a great route and then his shoe just rips apart and it's like, dude not the time for that but nothing he can do about it. I think that then after that, you're trying to make the play, make something happen and both times on the fourth down… I love the aggressiveness. DA (HC Dennis Allen) was very clear on that to the team and obviously against that offense you're not going win a lot of games kicking field goals against them. You play them 10 times, you keep kicking field goals, it's just going to be tough. We knew as offense we needed to execute and there was just a couple. We had opportunities to just, there was a couple. The second one I had to get it out quick and tried to guess where he was going to be and then the first one they just got in there. WR Chris Olave ran a great route and we would've had that one, but they made a play."
On how the offensive line held up under pressure: "We knew it was going to be tough. We knew it was going to be tough. More so than just (DT) Aaron (Donald) and what he's able to do by himself physically. They make it tough schematically because they know certain things you have to do without getting obviously all into it to make it hard on other parts of your protection. And they did, they made it tough at times, but I thought our guys fought and did a great job of trying to limit as best they could and really in the second half fought really well. That's a tough team to go two-minute kind of tempo against because of what they can do up front and our line kept us in the game and we were able to make plays for them."
On the Rams taking away the run offense: "The play actions were good and usually when that's good you would say the runs…It's hard for me to tell because I'm turning my back every time. That would be better for those guys to talk about but after I watch the film, we'll see. But they made it tough. Again, you have to give credit to their front. They did a good job on in certain areas and certain things, but I also thought our guys did good too."
On the third down efficiency: "It was tough. It was tough at the beginning. There were a couple plays where we were going to have to make some corrections because I was expecting one thing and we got another, but the positive is we've been able to talk about things and then get on the same page and do it better. So some things came up, something came up today that hadn't happened to us yet, and you're like, why today? But it did and we'll talk about that because then we could have had another one there. I think about, there was another one again, simple correction to make. Just sucks that with only three games left, that, ah, man, now we have to fix it now. But we will. We'll be positive about that. But I thought we did a good job of…the plan we loved. And so I thought we got going, started picking them up. We were close again on a couple others. But at the beginning, it was not good enough and that's just simple. It wasn't good enough by us as players."
On the mindset of these last two games: "Playoff mentality. That's been our mentality, but really like win or go home kind of thing. And so, thankful to be playing meaningful games in December, but we have to do our business. We can't worry about…again I've been in those scenarios. We have 1% chance and all that kind of stuff. I've lived that world and all you can focus on is what you can control. No matter how tough it is, no matter how much you want to watch everyone else, it really doesn't matter at this point for us. We have to win the last two. We have to win our games and it's going to be tough because it's two teams that have beat us. Hopefully everyone's mindset, get some rest, spend time on Christmas with their families. That's always good for your heart and for your mentals as money would say. You just have to keep pushing forward. After that, Tuesday we're coming in and we have to go. I'll be studying on my off time and getting ready for these two games for sure because they're big for us."
On the challenge of having to fix third down issues during the game in real time: "I wouldn't say it by now and I'm sorry. But that doesn't help you too much. It came up and it's like, dang, we haven't talked about that. When you haven't talked about it, it's a little frustrating. But it gave us an opportunity to say, 'Okay, hey I see you know, we're playing the game. I see what you're feeling, all that.' But, if I'm not expecting it, if we haven't talked about it, it's kind of tough for me to make that decision and cut it loose, especially with not knowing what's coming and certain things into play. So we got better from it and we'll continue to grow. But it's just hard and frustrating when it happens like this late in the year because it's like, dang, we needed that one and so it makes it hard. But I am going to be positive and keep pushing, keep fighting."
On the missed play to Rashid Shaheed at the end of the first half: "Well, honestly, 99 (Aaron Donald) was in the backfield immediately. And I don't know what happened. So I'm not trying to say why or anything like that. He was there and I saw 'AK' (RB Alvin Kamara) going, so I had to step up and as I was getting hit by someone else. I had to throw it way earlier than I wanted to. I threw it to where I expected but that's not on (Rashid) Shaheed either, because when he's running the route, he sees it and we've talked about what he did but I just didn't have the time to see that, to be able to read that out."
On if his arm was hit on the interception: "Yes, but I was trying to throw it over his head, seeing him drop, and I was trying to throw it back over his head but I just didn't get enough on it."
On if it's frustrating to see the offense play better only in the desperation mode part of the game: "I don't know. I felt like for a few weeks here now, minus a few times, I really felt like we've been doing a good job. We've been moving the ball, we've been doing things. Even today, I thought we were moving the heck out of the ball. We had a lot of explosives in the pass game. We felt very confident with all that and that felt good. But the execution of critical situations wasn't there, and it takes all 11 and that's frustrating. Yes, I am human like that does anger me but I'm trying my best to be positive and keep pushing forward because that's all I know to do. Because that's what's going to solve the problem. At the end of games, coach (Jon) Gruden always told me, he said, we're never out of a game and keep that right arm in it so I've always just had that mentality as a quarterback. I kept telling our guys, 'Keep believing, we are going to win, we are going to win.' Boom, we'd score, boom, we'd score. Then you felt the belief rise. But we didn't, we just ran out of time."
On how much of a momentum change was it on the missed fourth down conversion at the end of the first half: "You're exactly right. It was huge and it hurts. It's hard. We knew we were going to be aggressive in the game. 'DA' (coach Dennis Allen) was very clear with that laying out the plan. If they're doing this and it's going like this and we have got to be aggressive, you can't beat these guys kicking field goals. They're just too good and they are Super Bowl champions and they still got a lot of their guys. And so we knew that, we just felt bad that as an offense we could not execute that for them because then it makes it hard momentum wise and on the defense and we do not ever want to put them in that position."
On how much more difficult the passing game is when the running game is struggling: "It makes it difficult. Especially with '99' (Aaron Donald) over there, especially when he knows you have got to throw it. That makes it difficult on protection calls, because now they can do certain things because they know you are doing things for him and it absolutely makes it difficult. But I thought we threw it well. I thought our guys, for the most part, were where they needed to be. It wasn't perfect but it definitely makes it hard for a lot of reasons. I am not going to ramble on, but it definitely does stress things especially when you got a guy like that over there."
On if he feels the game was too one dimensional: "No, I mean I loved our play actions. I think we had, I can't remember off the top of my head, like four explosives in the first half, just play actions. And that's the threat of the way we have been running it, that's the threat. When I talked about that earlier this week, when I turned my back and they have got to make decisions and things like that and guys are winning, I thought that was a big part. I thought that was a good part for us, honestly. But I think it's hard for a play caller. He calls one in a second and 10, there's not a lot of calls that makes it easy. That's not efficient. So we'll look at that. Again, I'm turning my back to those so I don't know what was going on, but we'll look at it and try and correct these things for the last two."
On if there were not a lot of plays for TE Jimmy Graham in the game: "Yeah, there were a couple times where he could have got it in certain looks, certain coverages or matchups, and ended up getting the ball to somebody else. There was definitely a plan in place for him so I wouldn't say that nothing was there for him. It was just certain looks that the ball just happened to go to other people."