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New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons postgame quotes: Sean Payton, Trevor Siemian, Paulson Adebo, Malcolm Jenkins | 2021 NFL Week 18

Saints head coach and quarterback speak following the Week 18 win over the Atlanta Falcons


Opening Statement:
"First off, I thought we fought hard did a lot of good things. Won the turnover battle and that was significant. Then when Taysom went down Trevor did a good job filling in all the things you want to do to win a game. Obviously, the other game didn't go the way we wanted. I'm proud of this group, I thought we fought hard all season."

On his emotions after winning today's game but not making the playoffs:
"It is what it is. You're disappointed. Obviously, as a team, we're watching the finish of the game. You're disappointed. You play to get in the postseason and our players the same way, feel the same way."

On an update of QB Taysom Hill after being injured in the first half:
"No, we'll have more once we do a little bit further evaluation tomorrow. Hurt his Lisfranc. We just don't know to what degree, but we'll have that get passed along to you guys as soon as we get a little bit further in his examination."

On how he felt QB Trevor Siemian played after coming in for QB Taysom Hill:
"Like the last time he came in, he functioned, did a good job, threw some touchdown passes. He played well."

On whether QB Trevor Siemian's unflappability help in certain situations:
"I've said this before he's really smart. So he can function at a pretty high level without a lot of the practice reps that generally you want to have, and that's kind of the life a little bit of the number two quarterback in our league. How well can they come in, in a moment really without having had all the practice reps? So I think his football IQ and his skill set, he made some good throws."

On his team ability to overcome various obstacles this season:
"Look, tough group. Got really good leadership that helped us make up in the locker room. I think it really helped us we leaned on it. It's something that we'll be able to reflect on later in the week."

On how good the defensive pass rush in the last part of the season:
"I think it is real important. You just look at the investments in the ends and the offensive tackles. It was great to have Ram back in the lineup today at right tackle. That's significant. Obviously, when Marcus comes in and then he was gritty today. It takes some pressure off of Cam and we can get into not only our three-men, we can get into some of our four-men rush packages. I thought that was significant. You're right."

On if he was keeping up with the 49ers-Rams game in addition their game:
"Nah, we really more focused on our game. Honestly though, we had enough of a lead where we get an update. I was aware that those guys were up and then there was a late score. Then we spent like 20 minutes to figure out if Atlanta scored and so we knew going into the locker room we were going to watch some of the overtime."

On his feelings while watching the 49ers-Rams game in real-time:
"Honestly, it's pretty easy to describe. Probably any and all Saints fans watching it would have felt the same way in our locker room. You're watching. You're leaning on every play. No different than a fan would be."


On his emotions of not making playoffs after a win today:
"Definitely feels a little hollow, you go through the year, it's a long season and it's so hard to win in this league that you want to cherish every time you do it. Cherish those the celebrations in locker room and all that but when you're watching another team lose for us to get in the playoffs, it's certainly a little hollow for sure."

On how quickly he has to get ready to play after QB Taysom Hill left with an injury:
"Instantaneously. For Taysom and similar with Jameis, I feel like when Jameis went down is kind of how tough those two guys are. So if something's wrong it's been must be pretty wrong. So I just go in and you're in you're in the middle of the game at that point we're in the red zone. So things happen pretty quickly. It takes you a play or two to get into the game and then you're in it."

On if it is skill he developed to come into games and play well as a backup QB:
"I think the week of practice, probably the harder part of being a backup or being two in this league. To be able to consistently prepare as if you're starting, even though 95% of the time, you're not going to play. Or how many times you're not going to play, just to mentally going through the week and staying in it that way is probably tougher than the day of the game. Fortunately we have a great room. Players are helpful between Taysom, Jameis, Ian and we got a great staff so other people started playing. When it happens it happens quicker. Like I said."

On if he remembers a stranger season than this season:
"No, I thought last year was pretty weird. With all the COVID things going on, but this, it's been chaos. To put it in one word, it's been chaos for us. And I think it's hard to process that now and internalize that. But I think that's something I think we can hang our hat on is the leadership of the captains. Everybody kind of riding the ship when it was chaos."

On QB Jameis Winston being with the team today and whether he knew that he was going to be here today:
"It was awesome to see him in person. He's been zooming in our quarterback meetings, so we've been able to talk to him a little bit that way. But to see him in person walking around shooting threes with him a little bit pregame was great so great to see him. I found out Thursday he was making the trip so we were all looking forward to that look."

On Murphy's Law to the season, everything that could possibly go wrong did, how do you navigate through that:
"The season is never straightforward any year. As bad as things were at times or as weird as they felt like I said, the leadership in the locker room and the coaching kept us on the straight and narrow when it could have gotten real ugly I think. So again, it stinks right now to be missing out but to get nine wins all things considered I think it's something to look back on maybe a few months or however long but it's something to be proud of."

On relying on another team to lose to make the playoffs:
"This certainly feels a little weird. I've never been on a team where we are waiting on a last game, waiting for another team. You wouldn't wait for somebody else to pull through so this was a first for me."


What did you see on that interception?
"Just running a double move, I stopped his speed, got my head around and just thought to get the ball."

How would you describe emotions right now?
"It's definitely a weird feeling. To just win a game but we didn't reach our main goal of making the playoffs. It's definitely a weird feeling and it's kind of bittersweet. There is a lot to take away from this game that was good. For me personally there's a lot for me to take away from this season and look at everything as a whole."

What is the feeling like in the locker room watching the Rams play and knowing there is nothing you can do?
"Ideally, you play to where you get to control your own destiny, but in this situation, we had to rely on other teams. But like you said, it is a weird feeling just knowing your fate is out of your control."


Knowing that you have pretty much seen it all, is this still a different feeling for you?
"Yes and no. I think the shock of it all is a little surprising. I was telling some of the guys unless you win the Superbowl, things like this happen every time. You never really expect it to end. It's the part of our business that makes it so hard, whether it's end of the season, first round of the playoffs, NFC Championship, when you lose it's over. Nobody feels bad for us. Obviously, we can look at how we played over the year and there's going to be some things we want back, but at the end of the day, we put ourselves in position to give us a chance. Like any other season, you're going to evaluate individually what you did as a team and look forward to next year. I don't think you get used to the abruptness of the end, but it happens every year."

Although you won today, does it feel like a loss knowing you are eliminated from the playoffs?
"When the season is over, wins and losses no longer matter. It's really the reality that we won't be able to suit up with each other next week. I think this team especially in the last month has found a rhythm and honestly, we have been having fun. I think that's the most disappointing part about today. That's what overshadows what we did here today. We had a lot of fun today. It's that we will not be able to suit up and do it again next week. You realize each year there's a ton of turnaround and this group will not be with each other next year. That's probably the most disappointing part about right now."

What was your team's reaction today after entering the locker room after today's win?
"Immediately we got in the locker room, and everyone started watching the tv. By the time we had got in there the 49ers had just kicked a field goal or was about to kick one. What we did today really didn't matter, we wanted to get to the postseason. Once we won and did what we were supposed to do, we immediately started watching the tv and it's hard when your fate is in someone else's hands."

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