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Quotes from Sean Payton following the divisional round playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles 

Head coach Sean Payton spoke to the media following the Saints' divisional round playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles  on Sunday, Jan. 13

Opening Statement:
"It was a hard fought game and (the) first thing to say is tip your hat to Philadelphia. Those guys came in and brought the fight to us early and really put us in a hole. Our guys fought back defensively. In the second half we were outstanding. Obviously it didn't seem like there was many drives because the timing (long third quarter drive) was there. It felt like more of the quarter (was) was just that early drive. But we made enough plays. (It) Wasn't a perfect game. Certainly there are a lot of things we'll have to clean up, but most importantly we got the win. Listen, (we beat the) defending champions and that means something. When you're able to beat a team like that."

On how much Marshon Lattimore's first pick played a role on shifting the momentum of the game:
"I thought there were a handful of swings in momentum. For us that was a big one. Then making a first down on the fake punt. Turning that into points. We had some tough calls go against us tonight. It's hard to look at each or any one of the calls, but we fought through that. So I think probably when we watch this tape, there's going to be, probably four or five of those key swings early on that went against us. That's not unusual in the postseason. We played from behind quite a bit this season and we were able to come back. This was obviously an important one."

On the defensive performance to shut the Eagles down after a 14-point deficit:
"Like I said, I thought we did a great job getting (the Eagles) off the field on third down. I thought they ran the ball fairly efficiently early. There was that one long drive where we ate a lot of clock up. So it felt like we were in to the fourth quarter fairly quick, but they were fantastic."

On how that long drive the Saints had affected the game:
"It's part of one of things you're wanting to do and you get scores stil. It was close the whole game.
We were trying to get in position there late to get a field goal. We're able to come up with it. (We) Put them on the field again for another drive. Fortunately we came up with the interception. It was a good team win."

On the reason for poor play in the first quarter:
"As a coach, you always look at it like, you want to start fast. We've started fast here before. Now at some point you move on from it, but fortunately we were able to settle in."

On his thought process on the fake punt:
"Each one of those is kind of calculated. Mike (Westhoff) felt good about the look we were receiving. I trust Taysom a lot. He's a powerful runner and generally the looks that are somewhat favorable also come with some risk. Especially where we were in the game. I know it was early in the game and still, similar to New York (Giants) if you will, when we needed to shift momentum. And we were able to fortunately in taking advantage of it. It was really based on the looks we saw during the game."

On if the fake punt was in the gameplan prior to the game:
"Oh yeah. Yes. Yes it wasn't let's just try this in the first quarter. No, we spent a lot of time on it."

On his thought process during the long Saints drive and the team's resiliency:
"Well in order to have 22 plays, the third down that Drew converts to Mike was huge. There are too many plays. Specifically, I think there were four penalties if I'm not mistaken, but at least three. We hung in there and fought through it, so that was encouraging."

On whether the team being able to fight through adversity helps moving forward in to next week:
"Yes and I mentioned earlier. In our league, there's going to be games where you fall behind. We've played a handful of those already. I just have great faith in both sides of the ball. The kicking game too. We were able to today."

On the team's ability to not panic on second and third downs no matter what the specific yardage situation:
"Well look, we needed that last one. We elected to run it. Ultimately we felt like this game was going to be about situational football. We felt the red zone offense and defense was going to be important. We felt the third down offense and defense (was going to be important). I thought the second half, we got off the field defensively on third down. On offense, I thought we were able to convert some big plays especially late in the game when Mike (Thomas made plays)…Because those, relative to time of possession which you're trying to achieve, those are significant."

On Michael Thomas' play throughout the game:
"He has real strong hands in traffic. He's tough and competitive. He's one of those players that believes that he can make those types of plays. Drew did a great job of finding him. Those were significant plays that really changed the direction of the game."

On whether the second quarter timeout near the end of the second quarter by the eagles changed the play call of going for it on third down or taking the field goal:
"We're right at that… We got a quick peek in to what we might get defensively. So you think about a jump ball maybe. Then when you kind of weigh everything and where we were at. We were good just taking the field goal."

On his thought process during those first few drives during the game:
"There's a lot that you get from this team (Philadelphia Eagles) offensively. A lot of motions, some RPO's. They do a good job of spreading the ball around. The quarterback's been outstanding. It's hard to get to him. He made a few throws that just, unbelievable. But I did think we were able to push the pocket a little later as the game went on. I did think that helped. You try to find a way to disrupt the passing game. You can do that with your rush or outside. We were able to get some hands on some receivers. But that's a talented group."

On whether he thought that getting a touchdown on that fourth down was necessary over getting a field goal:
"I didn't feel like it was a must. We felt pretty good about two or three of the calls we had. And fortunately it worked out. But we felt pretty confident. You know, it was calculated and yet it was on that drive when I think the momentum… It was significant to get that seven."

On if he thinks his players play off of that aggressive mentality:
"No sometimes it's maybe meant for that. Other times, there's a lot that goes in to…You're playing this team and you have to go win with the mindset that scoring is going to be at a premium. So your respect might go up a little bit. Then there's some weeks that you might be a little less tolerant for that. I think a lot of it's been depending on who you're playing and trying to be smart also."

On Sheldon Rankins' injury early in the game:
"The season he has been having. It's gut wrenching. He's played so well for us and we'll see where he's at."

On seeing the other defensive linemen step up in Sheldon Rankins' absence:
"It's unfortunately one of the challenges this late in the season. I'm proud of those guys. I'm proud of that locker room. They fought through a lot. We managed to get the win. Again, these are tough games."

On what the differences are in moving to the next game during the postseason compared to moving to the next game during the regular season:
"I would say the challenge is just within the schedule. Protecting the routine. Eight teams going to four, but the amount of people that cover those teams didn't change any. So just do the division. Protecting the schedule, staying on the routine, and then quickly diving in to a grueling Rams team that we played, it seems like a long time ago. Getting ready to play that game."

On his first thoughts on playing the Rams next week:
"I haven't even gotten to that yet. I mean, obviously when you play the last game, you kind of know who the opponent's going to be, but there's so much focus on the game you're playing. You're getting ahead a little bit."

On the excitement of playing again in New Orleans next week:
"We think it's a tremendous advantage to play here. Our fans were fantastic tonight. Communication becomes difficult. We've been on both sides of it. We've played in some tough road venues where it's real loud. Minnesota, Seattle, and we play at home here. That's one of the reasons why you fight so hard for the best seed you can. So that you have the chance to play with the noise in your favor. We have a lot of work to do. You get a really good team we beat today. A great championship team. You can't say enough about them."

On if the fans forced the Eagles to call timeouts during the game:
"Anytime you get a delay of game and then a timeout there, there's an attrition to that noise. I'd like to think that was the case. Look I saw 12 men in a huddle before on an important down. It's all of the communication that strains you, not just on one play, but through the course of the game."

On if playing the Rams earlier in the season helps gameplan for them this week:
"They're all big now right. You know how it works. It's a game to advance. It's a playoff game. It's not a best of seven. It's three hours. They're all important. I would bet more often than not, playoff games a lot of the times, involve teams that are playing each other again. Whether they were division teams or whether you just look at the numbers. But that does seem like it was quite a ways back."

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