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Postgame quotes: New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns | NFL Week 16

Allen: 'I thought our guys showed incredible grit'

New Orleans Saints Coach Dennis Allen

On if relying on the run game was part of the gameplan due to the weather conditions:

"Yes, that was the plan coming in. The No. 1 thing I want to say is that we talked all week that this game was going to be a game about mental toughness, and I thought our guys showed incredible grit. Starting out the game, we went down 10-0, but they fought back, got the field goal at the end of the first half, came right back out in the second half and got the touchdown, and then after the interception, we were able to take the lead. Then the defense goes out and finishes the game. I have a lot of respect for all of the guys that are in that locker room. I think they showed a lot of fight today. We knew the weather conditions were going to be a big factor, and we knew we were going to have to be able to run the football and run the football well. I thought all of the guys when we put the ball in their hands did an outstanding job of running the ball."

On if he could feel the Saints starting to gain momentum with the drive to open the third quarter:

"Yeah, we came back out to start the second half with the wind in our favor so we knew it was going to be important to take advantage of that to start off the second half. We talked in the locker room that we have the first part of it done by getting points at the end of the first half and we needed to capitalize there at the start of the second half. Our guys did a great job of going down there and getting points. It felt like the momentum kind of swung in our advantage at that point."

On if there was a reason why it took Taysom Hill so long to get carries:

"No, I don't think so. I know there were some plays earlier in the game where he was involved and some of them happened to be read plays or whatever. Look, I thought we did the things we needed to do to win the game. That was run the ball effectively and stop the run pretty effectively on defense. I think they were about 3.9 per carry or something like that (3.6 yards per carry). I felt we did those two things pretty well. If you are doing that, then you are generally probably doing something pretty well on both sides of the ball."

On the Saints defense getting stops and then a sack on fourth down at the end of the game:

"It was awesome. None of these games in this league are ever easy. That was a great job by our guys going after them, stepping up and making plays they had to make to seal the victory. I thought that was awesome."

On Saints safety Daniel Sorensen's interception:

"I know they were throwing an inside route. I couldn't tell exactly who it was that got their hands on it or how the ball got tipped up. I really just kind of saw it going into Dan's hands. Then I thought he had a hell of a run back on that play, too. Again, taking advantage of the situation and taking advantage of wind. Offense did a great job. It is one thing to get the turnover, but it is another thing to get the seven points off it so that was a huge play in the game and a big part of why we won the game."

On the mentality to come in and get a win and what it says about the team:

"Heart and grit. It is what they have. Do you know what I mean? That is what the New Orleans Saints have been about. I know that the wins haven't come like we had hoped, but our guys have never quit fighting. It is why I love coaching."

On how cold it was:

"Cold. It was cold. It was windy. We gave our equipment staff a game ball for providing us with enough to at least make it manageable for us. The weather was certainly a factor."

On how the team prepared for tough weather conditions:

"I am going to be honest with you, here is how we prepared: we said this game was going to be about mental toughness, and the most mentally tough team was going to win. Then we didn't really talk a lot about it because it was just another distraction to us. I thought our guys handled it great. It was a little bit of an eye opener and woke up on Friday morning and tried to walk outside. It was pretty (hard) to stand out there for very long. I thought our guys handled it awesome."

On if the weather conditions affected strategy:

"Look, we knew that the elements were going to be a factor so we definitely took that into consideration. We knew that there was probably going to be one direction that was going to be a little more difficult to kick and to throw. Then we knew that we would have a little bit of an easier time going in the opposite direction. Some of the game strategy as we went through the game and game management were really based on the wind conditions, not necessarily the cold but the wind conditions."

On if in hindsight the Saints should have run the ball more:

"I think every time these games are done, you are going to start off with a gameplan and then you are going to have to adjust. I think our guys did a great job of adjusting. We did what we needed to do to win."

On Saints cornerback Alontae Taylor being calm under pressure and if the confidence is rare for someone that young:

"A lot of it starts with confidence. He has a lot of confidence in himself, and we have a lot of confidence in him. He never panics when the ball is in the air. It is really good to see. He has been a welcome surprise, would be the word to say in terms of exactly what we have gotten out of him."

On if Saints defensive end Carl Granderson was in coverage on the last play:

"Yes, but he wasn't really in coverage. It was part of a four-man rush. We were just trying to get a hit on the tight end because we knew they might throw the ball to him down the seam. That is what we were doing on that play. He did a good job of executing his job, coming up and finishing it."

On Granderson being able to secure a sack on quarterback Deshaun Watson:

"It says that he was able to get Deshaun Watson down. Look, Carl is a good athlete. Carl has been a good player for us. He made a great play in that situation. There were a lot of people who got some rush in there and got him out of the pocket."

On how much the wind needed to be discussed during game prep:

"We kind of covered that a little bit. That was the major factor in terms of the weather – really the wind conditions. Honestly, we had no idea – I shouldn't say no idea – but you don't really know what you are dealing with until you actually get into the stadium and see what the wind is going to be like. There was certainly one direction where it felt like it affected us more than the other."

On Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore being closer to playing and when the team decided Lattimore would be inactive:

"He just wasn't ready to go yet so we went with the guys who we had that were ready to go. Those guys went out there and performed. It was awesome to see those guys play."

On Saints running back Alvin Kamara's production and toughness:

"He was outstanding today. He ran the ball exceptionally well. Ran it tough. He put his pads down and got behind his pads. Just a hell of a game. I am going to let you talk to him because he is right here."

Saints quarterback Andy Dalton

On how the gameplan was different with the wind in each direction:

"For sure. I think when you get to a certain part of the field, you know when you could throw it down the field more versus against the winds. That all played a factor."

On how big it was to get contributions from Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill:

"It was huge, especially when you get into a game like this with the weather and conditions. It was exactly what we needed to happen today. The line played very well up front and gave us a chance with running the ball exactly how we wanted to."

On throwing the ball in the weather conditions:

"I felt like I was able to put the ball kind of where I wanted to today. Obviously, the conditions played a factor in it, but yeah, we had some chances that felt like we could have made and didn't."

On the mentality of playing in this weather and battling to keep the season alive:

"It shows a lot of what this team is made of. It is one of those games that we could look back on and say it is a big game in season that got us to where we wanted to be. Like you said, we are still alive so we have to keep controlling what we can control and see what happens from there."

On the interception:

"When the ball gets popped up in the air, more than likely it doesn't find the ground, but yeah, it is unfortunate."

On how big the defense's interception was with the score tied at 10:

"It was big. Then to be able to go down and score a touchdown on that drive and not kick a field goal changed the game."

On if there was a drastic difference on offense going one direction compared to the other:

"Yes, there was. When you were against the wind, it felt like there was a difference. The way it was today you could go out and feel like there were times the wind wasn't a factor and then it would gust, and you just didn't know when the gusts were going to happen."

On if the wind played a factor on his last throw:

"Yeah it is one of those things that was unfortunate. It felt like it was in a good spot, and at the last second, the ball moved."

On if it was hard to throw with the wind at his back:

"I think when you are throwing the ball down the field, you have to calculate the wind. That has to play a factor in where you are throwing it. Definitely when you have the wind at your back, the ball is going to travel up farther."

On feeling a sense of confidence after going down 10-0 that the team could recover:

"Absolutely. I think that is just kind of the mind-set that we had going in today. We would do whatever it takes to win. Even though we were down, we went out right before the half and got three points. Then coming out starting the second half strong like we did, it kind of changed the momentum of the game."

On watching Hill reach the end zone and carry the team offensively in the second half:

"Like I have said from the beginning, he is a big part of this offense. Even his touchdown run, it wasn't like it was completely clean. Happy to come off the field when we are scoring touchdowns."

On the Saints giving the equipment staff a game ball and the most valuable contributions it made during this week's week:

"I think there were a lot of factors that were involved with them getting the game ball. When you come into a game like this, especially being in New Orleans where you are not playing very many games with cold weather, all of the factors, they did an unbelievable job. They had everybody prepared. I wouldn't say there is one thing they did, but hats off to them because they made our job easy out there."

Saints defensive end Carl Granderson:

On the last defensive drive of the game:

"It started off with practice throughout the week. We came in knowing we had to stop the run and that it was going to be cold, but it was a mind-set that we came in ready to stop the run and have some fun. That last drive was leading up to the last drive the first, second, and third quarter. We came in, we had been holding them all game and we had to have a huge fourth-and-short. We stopped them to get a ball back to the offense."

On the mind-set of not wearing shirts during pregame warmups:

"It wasn't really an idea. This wasn't anything new for me. It is all a mind-set. If you come in thinking it is going to be cold, it is going to be cold. I wanted to get out there and adjust to the weather and go with no shirt on. We had to warm our bodies up and get the mind ready to play the big game."

On how not wearing shirts during the pregame helped the mind-set of the Saints defense:

"Defensive mind-set, it wasn't even cold. I am not even going to lie it wasn't even cold. My hands were cold, I will be honest about that, but it wasn't cold. It was a hell of a game. The equipment staff did a wonderful job preparing us with the nice gear and that gear that we need for the cold. Shoutout to them."

On the turnover and how it helped the Saints get rolling:

"That was very big. Like I said, it is a process. It started in practice. They haven't come this season, but you never know when they are going to come. You just have to be ready and the next man has to take advantage of your opportunity."

On getting motivated for the game and the locker room atmosphere pregame:

"That is a family. We are a family in the locker room. No one can ever get let down. We can't point the finger. We are a family. We are one group. The offense and defense come together at the end of the day. The offense did a wonderful job of running the ball and getting us in field position, and we came as the defense and met them halfway. We have to stay united and keep going because you never know how the season is going to turn out."

Saints tight end Taysom Hill

On playing in cold weather conditions:

"We talked about this being a game that would require a little more effort and a little more focus as we got ready to prepare for this game. I think going in with the right mind-set where we knew we were not going to throw the ball a ton and to make sure that your expectation and your mindset was ready for a game like this. I thought as a team everyone handled it pretty well."

On if there was an effort to get him going earlier in the game:

"I think that is a question for the guys upstairs. I don't think that we necessarily had a plan, a goal or a mind-set. I think my carries came when they came."

On the Browns defense and how the Saints were able to find success in the second half:

"Look, in a game like this when you can line up and they know you are going to run the ball and you can still run it successfully, that is a good feeling as an offense. I felt like up front, receivers and everyone, they had the right mindset going into this game. Those guys won us a game and Kamara and myself were beneficiaries of those guys doing everything they needed to do up front to allow us to run the ball."

On Saints safety Daniel Sorensen's interception:

"It is huge. I think going into this game, as we talk about the right mind-set and everything else, we knew that this was going to be a field position game, as well. Defensively, that is what they did. We put them in a bad situation early, and they gave it back to us. I felt like this win felt really good because it took everybody special teams, defensively and offensively. Everyone made plays when they needed to."

On the Saints postseason chances and playing strong:

"I think it starts with leadership from coaching staff, ownership and to players. I think that everyone has an expectation that we have not played as well as we would have liked to. We have not won as many games as we were planning to and hoping to, but that does not change the way that we prepare or the way that we go and play this game. At the end of the day, we are all prideful players, and we care about the pride that we put out on the field. Putting the Saints uniform on means something, and that is at the root of it."

Saints running back Alvin Kamara

On the Saints gameplan heading into the game in tough weather conditions:

"You come into a game like that knowing what the conditions were going to be, and obviously we came in like, 'OK, we are going to run the ball, and when it permits, we are going to throw it.' You use your common sense out there. It is not a big strategic thing where we talk about it all week. If the wind is in our favor, we are going to throw the ball. If not, we are going to run it."

On how it felt to get his second rushing TD since Week 8:

"It is cool. I am happier about the win. Lower touchdown production this year for me, but I think the main goal is trying to get in the winning column. That is my main focus."

On Taysom Hill getting touches later in the game than some may have expected:

"I heard that question twice, and I think it was kind of the flow of the game. We had some calls that we wanted to call to give Taysom the ball, and we got it out of him a few times. I think how the game was flowing, that was how it went. We ended up giving him the ball, and he took advantage of his touches like he always does. Anytime we see him and we can get him going, that is something we take advantage of. I think he did well."

On Sorensen's interception:

"Shoutout to Dan. I don't know who tipped it, but it fell in Dan's hands. He got a little turn, and it looked like an offensive play. That was big just getting a takeaway because that kind of sparks us as an offense. When the defense does that, it is up to us to handle our part. That is all you can ask for."

On the Saints playoff chances and the Saints battling in the game:

"We are not looking at playoff chances or playoff hopes. We are out here playing football. We have a job to do, and that is to win every Sunday, regardless of the elements and regardless of the circumstance. Whatever it is, whoever is hurt, who is up or who is down, we are coming out and trying to get a win however we can. That is kind of the flavor and the swag of this group. We are just trying to go out and find a way to win. We did that today, and we are going to keep trying to do that for the rest of the season. Wherever we end up is wherever we end up. I know for me and I know for the guys in there, the leaders and the captains, we are not looking at, 'Oh, we have to make the playoffs.' We are looking at getting this win, which we did today. Next week, we are going to try to get another win. The last week, we are going to try to get another win, and wherever the cards fall, they fall."

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