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Gameday

Quotes from Drew Brees following the NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams

On the controversy surrounding the third-and-ten play on New Orleans’ final full drive of regulation today:
“Yea, that’s tough to swallow. I think there were plenty of times throughout the season there’s calls that go against you, go for you, or they miss, or they didn’t. Obviously in a situation like that where it seemed like everybody in the world saw it, it’s tough.”

On a lingering feeling going into overtime:
"No, it didn’t, it didn’t. Listen, you’re going to play ball. Just like you would throughout the season when something like that happens, whether it goes your way or doesn’t. You move on to the next play. You can’t let it bother you. So it had no bearing in overtime. At least not for me.”

On interception being his last play of the season:
“It’s tough. I thought we had a chance to go down and get points, get a touchdown.”

On playing for the fans and the team this season:
“We love the Who Dat nation. We love the city of New Orleans. We love being able to play for them because that is what we do. We play for them. They provide such an unbelievable atmosphere here within the Dome. This Dome symbolizes a lot more than just football and there’s a great connection there. We love our fans and they were awesome today. They have been awesome every year since I’ve been here. (They are the) Best fans in professional sports.”

On the endings in both last season in the playoffs and this season driving the team forward:
“It has to drive you. Let’s dive into this game some more. There were plenty opportunities for us offensively that we did not take advantage of. It was a hard fought game on both sides, credit to them. They’re a great team, with a great staff, and so we knew this was going to be a battle. We knew it was going to come down to the wire. We felt like there were some more plays that we could have made. So regardless of the call or no call, I felt like there were other opportunities for us that I wish we could’ve taken advantage of.”

On pressure on the offensive line:
“They are a great pass rushing team, so they are going to get after you at times. You just want to be able to avoid negative plays, right? You want to get the ball out, get completions, positive plays, move the ball, and move the chains. Unfortunately, you get hit and the ball flying up in the air is a tough way to give the ball back to them in overtime.”

On difference in officials taking it away rather than a team:
“You feel like that was something out of your control. And I like to focus on the things I can control. There were plenty of things that I have rehearsed the game in my mind that could (have) kept a drive alive here, or could have got points here. There are always those moments after a game, win or lose, where you felt like there was some opportunities. A game like this every one of those would have counted.”

On field goals in first two drives:
“It’s not like we were inside the five (yard line). I felt we got a good drive, getting points, which was good. After getting the turnover, I think it was three plays, and then we kicked a field goal. We would have liked to get something going there, kind of closer, potentially gotten a touchdown. Credit to their defense.”

On digesting the controversy surrounding the third-and-ten play on New Orleans’ last full drive of regulation:
“That’s a good question. There’s nothing we can do about it. So it’s unfortunate.”

On the environment on the field after that:
“I have to focus on my job and focus on the things that I can control. When something like that happens, it is on to the next play. Defense is going out there to try and stop them. Now obviously the game is overtime, and now we get the ball, let’s go down and do something with it.”

On if there were any momentum shifts during the game:
“It was back and forth. I never felt like it was. We jumped out 13 nothing and so we got the momentum at that moment. It was hard fought after that, hard fought, back and forth.”

On if he was impressed by Jared Goff’s poise:
“They played well. They played well.”

*On the most special part of this year’s team:
*
“(There were) So many parts. Just the way we were able to come together. Bringing in some new guys, both from the draft and free agency that played critical roles for our team. Their productivity and their leadership, and their put-togetherness. We like to work and we like to have fun. We had a ton of fun this year. It stings right now and it will probably for a while. But as we look back on the 2018 New Orleans Saints, it was a special team, it was a special year. It’s hard right now.”

On if turning 40 years old, not knowing how many more chances are left makes the loss harder:
“Yes it does.”

On feeling positive for a return to the Saints:
“I feel pretty positive.”

On Benjamin Watson and the close of his career:
“That’s one of the more sad parts about today for me. An incredible teammate he’s been. A leader. A mentor. A friend. Really unfortunate. He was sick earlier in the week, and it looked like appendicitis. And trying to put together a game plan and not knowing if he’s up or down. It just played out that way. We were all locked in on practice and putting together the best plan we can. It would have been great to have him out there with us.”

On if they guarded Michael Thomas differently:
“There were some differences. Some times when he was getting doubled. They were playing more zone now than when we played the first time. I think it was just, call it the playoffs, and just everyone is just elevating their game a little bit. Everyone is playing a little tighter.”

On the reason why he feels positive returning:
“Because I feel like I will.”

On players’ displeasure with officiating and replay system:
“Uh, I’m not sure.”

On processing the loss in this manner:
“It’s never going to be a perfect game. It’s never going to be perfectly officiated, for example. There is a lot happening out there and it happens very, very fast. You could talk about a solution potentially being replaying certain types of penalties. Maybe ones that you say are pretty black and white in regards to whether it was or wasn’t. I do not know how far that will go. Obviously, if they were replaying pass interference or whether someone was hit early before the ball even got there, then I’m sure that would’ve been reviewed today. It would have been found that it was a PI (pass interference), but it wasn’t.”

On thinking in the moment “How the heck to do you miss that call?”
“Well, being that it happened right there in front of the person being the one to make that call, everyone in the stands, and everyone watching at home on the TV. Yea, that makes it even more difficult. In the moment, you obviously yell and scream ‘How did you not see that?’ But again, once you come back, it’s like, there is nothing we can do about it. It’s on to the next play.”

On how tough it is to get to this point and not having many more chances given his age:
“It is true, this is tough. Each one of these is unique and special. I am not getting any younger. Some days I feel like it.”

On the process for telling wife, kids, family:
“My mind is not even there right now. So this is all still pretty fresh. Just going to take a few days to let it all settle in. Talk with my teammates, my coaches, and I plan on being here next year and giving it another run.”

On advice for the fans on this loss:
“I think you have to with anything that happens, whether you’re the one playing or you are the one so invested, which I know our fans are in our team and in the season. You can go one of two directions. You can either go in the tank or you can find a way for this to come together for our good. That’s the mindset I take and I think that’s the mindset we took last year after that loss in Minnesota. And I think you see the result of what happens when you take that approach. We turned that into good, we turned that into something positive, and it brought us together as a team and strengthened us. I hope that this will too.”

On if anything rushed back from the 2009 NFC Championship:
“When we went to overtime, I thought, ‘Oh, here we go again.’”

On thinking “If we did it once, we can do it again:"
“Absolutely, without question.”

On changing overtime rules after 2009 NFC Championship game, will they change the rules and start reviewing calls:
“Who knows, potentially? That seems to be the direction that things are going. We see what they do in the NBA now, different than what they’ve done. In college basketball and obviously college football as well. That will constantly evolve as they try to make this game better and they try to make it as fair as possible.”

On being able to give a not so reasoned take:
“Being that it would have worked in our favor, I think it’s easy to sit here and criticize or say that it should exist. I think because of this, as a result of this, there will be a lot of talk about potentially reviewing penalties or game-changing type penalties. Just like all the reviews that go up into the booth with anything inside of the two minutes. Maybe that’s something that will happen in regard to certain penalties as well that are game-changing type penalties, like obviously that one was today

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