Saints Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Sean Payton
"First off, we tip our hat to Detroit for coming in here and playing their guts out. We played a real good football team. Their staff and their players had a heck of a season. We know it's disappointing, but that is a good win for us. It was an especially good second half of football; we kind of bounced back and overcame some of the turnovers."
(On Pierre Thomas) "He had some good effort plays. I thought he played with good energy, he was balanced. There were a ton of yards after contact that he gave us tonight and that was impressive. He's healthy and we have a good rotation going with those three guys (Thomas, Ivory and Sproles). I was pleased with our balance. We overcame the turnovers in the first half and got back on track."
(On the yardage record) "We are just focused on winning. Really, we are not focused on yards and records. Honestly, I am being serious when I say it. The task at hand is to find a way to have a point more than the opponent. We made some big plays, especially in the second half and that was encouraging. We saw a defense that was very, very patient, sometimes that can be frustrating, but they sat in coverage and periodically would break that shell. I was pleased how we protected the ball in the second half and I thought the big plays in the second half really helped us. Regarding all that other stuff, it's really not important."
(On dialing it up in the second half) "In the first half two things happened, they did a good job of possessing the ball and we had two turnover so it seemed like our snap count was low. I think it was just a matter of having that balance. I thought the running game helped us tremendously and we had some play action we came off of it and took some shots."
(On the two fourth down plays) "It's just a gut that goes with it, the one was in our area and the other was across the 50. It's just a matter of really getting to a play we felt comfortable with and the willingness to take some risks. It's a sign of confidence we have in our line, our runners and QB and everyone else."
(On how vital the offensive line is) "I think you have to be good there in order to have the type of balance and success we had throwing and running. We played a good front. We felt coming in that one of the strengths of Detroit was that front four and they gave us some fits in the first half, you saw there were some times were Drew (Brees) was backing up or got sacked. As the game wore on, I thought we began to win more of those battles. The Lions have a real good front. Ultimately, at some point that battle up front decides who wins and loses."
(On the time of possession) "It didn't hurt. I think us being able to come out and we got those two and took the lead and then all of the sudden the time of possession shifted. It was really the tale of two halves if you were just watching the game. I thought Detroit played real well, forced the turnovers from us offensively, they made enough good play offensively and really had a pretty good control of the game and we were lucky enough to get that momentum back."
(On Jabari Greer) "He's had an exceptional season. He stayed healthy; he has real good ball skills and feet. He made some big plays tonight, obviously. It's a real good passing team we played so it's good to see him in this type of game come up with some real big plays for us. He's been very steady and very consistent."
Saints Postgame Quotes
QB #9 DREW BREES
(on Pierre Thomas) "I remember when Pierre came in the first year in 2007, undrafted free agent out of Illinois. He was probably fifth or sixth on the depth chart. I wasn't sure if he was going to make the team. If he did, he was going to have to make it on special teams. He played so well in the preseason, we had to keep him. We had no choice. He started off on special teams until the last game of the '07 season and got his first start against the Chicago Bears and got his first start because we had four or five running backs hurt and he rushes for over 100 and has over 100 receiving. That paints the picture of Pierre Thomas. He's taken advantage of every opportunity he's been given. Nothing's ever been handed to him. He's earned it. I've never played with a guy who's tougher, smarter, more versatile, just everything you'd want in a teammate. He's been a huge part of that backfield for the last five years. I've seen him play some great games, but tonight might have been one of the best I've seen him play. Rarely do I get a chance to sit back and watch because I'm always thinking about the next play, the next series, the next situation whatever it may be. You can't help but notice the way he ran tonight, shedding tacklers, it was phenomenal.
(on QB sneak) "It was fourth and inches. We felt like we had a rhythm going (offensively) and wanted to keep that going. It was a gutsy call. But, we've been known to make those types of calls and just felt like we could get it and we got it. We didn't even want to think about not getting it, because it would have put our defense in a tough spot. We had the momentum at that point and felt good about going for it.
(on having to travel to San Francisco and possibly Green Bay) "I feel like our offense and our team is built for whatever condition. We play indoors here in the Superdome and that's what we've been doing as of late, but we feel like we're the type of team that should be able to go anywhere, anytime, and play our type of football that we know how to play. There are elements at times you have to deal with no matter where it is, but we'll adjust accordingly. I don't see any reason why we can't go on and continue to be productive.
(on fumble) "That's always a close call. The arm was starting to come forward. I was trying to get it out, but he probably hit it before it started to come forward. It seemed like it was a good call.
(on if he heard a whistle at some point) "I felt like I did. I was on the ground. Everybody kind of stopped, so it seemed like everybody felt the play was blown dead."
(What does fourth-and-one and fourth-and-two say about Sean Payton's mentality) "We went for it on fourth down four times today. We were pulling out all the stops. We're not going to apologize for that. We always have. The guys in our huddle have a lot of confidence. We're not going to pull the reigns back. We're pedal to the metal. There are times when we're going to need to make plays and make gutsy calls and we have to make them work."
(Did you go and reassure Jimmy Graham after a drop) "Jimmy knows I'll be back to him all the time. I don't remember him dropping one to be honest with you. All our guys have been here long enough now where we know the opportunity is going to be there. There might be a time I might miss one or they miss one. We'll always come back, as we know there are plays to be made."
(On the play of the offensive line) "The o-line did a phenomenal job today blocking, as they have all season long. That's a great group. They work so hard and take so much pride in keeping me clean. They're a multi-dimensional offensive line. They don't just pass block, but it's run-blocking. It's everything. They're so versatile and take so much pride in it. They balance they are able to create is because of that offensive line."
(Do you feel like you're better than 2009) "I think each day you get more confidence as you continue on, especially like when you're playing like you are, there's no reason not to be. We respect every opponent we face. At times it may look easy there, but it isn't. A lot goes into it from a preparation standpoint, the timing, the practice. You name it and we work very hard at it and we take great pride in being able to go out and play like we did today with the exception of the turnovers, to be balanced, to spread it around. We're trying to make our mark with this offense. I think everybody feels like they're a big part of it.
(on long second-half drives) "It's a good point. Not just were the points important, but you keep your defense off the field for a period of time. You go on a 14-play drive, over 90 yards, those are big drives. Not only are you moving the ball, but you're resting the defense and you're chewing up clock. In both of those cases it was either taking the lead or extending the lead. Those were big drives in the game.
(On if the objective was to keep Thomas Morstead on the sidelines) "I always tell Morstead lots of kickoffs, not a lot of punts. That's what we like to do around here.
(on Matthew Stafford) "I think he played phenomenal today. I really do. Especially, =early on, just coming in this hostile environment, calm, cool, especially the first couple drives. He really did a great job in converting some long third downs and making some tight throws. He's had a great year. Obviously I thought he played great today. But, the future looks bright for him.
(on Lions) "I absolutely think they are a playoff-caliber team. I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff and their players. They had a great season. They showed a lot of grit in a lot of comeback victories. They seem to be a real tough team at home when you watch them on film. The crowd noise and d-line teeing off on people. I'm sure because they're in the NFC, we'll be facing those guys again in the near future.
(on BCS National Championship Game) "I've got to go with LSU again. Obviously, they're the local team right down the road here. I picked them in the first matchup.
RB #23 PIERRE THOMAS
(On staying on his feet and maintaining balance tonight) "I don't really think about it too much. I always tell myself to not let the first guy take me down. I try to break as many tackles as I can and get in that end zone. Everyone tells me that I have freaky balance, but it's the gift that God gave me."
(On tonight's playoff win after missing last year's game) "It was very sweet. I'm blessed to continue my career after my injury. I just keep fighting. I'm been pushing and my teammates have my back. I don't even think about the injury. I just go out and keep playing. After last year, this win was great not only for me, but the whole team."
"It's playoffs. Like I told a lot of guys, when playoffs hit, you've got to be a totally different animal. It's win or go home"
RB #43 DARREN SPROLES
(On what he saw from the defense) "A lot of cover two. We knew we wanted to split them. That's what we wanted to do on offense."
(On record for most yards in a postseason game) "That's special. There have been a lot of good teams in this league. For us to get the record for yards, that's special."
(On the turning point) "I think it was when we came out of half and we scored. That's what I think the turning point was."
(On the 49ers) "They have a great defense. We have to get ready for them. We are going to get back to the drawing board this week and we will get ready for them."
(On traveling to San Francisco) "We like play on grass instead of turf as well so it will be alright."
WR #12 MARQUES COLSTON
"We knew playing against Detroit, we couldn't turn the ball over, and I went out the first possession and did it. To come back and do what we did the second half, I'm just proud to be part of a team like this.
(On the importance of scoring a touchdown coming out of halftime) "It was huge. We knew that going into halftime with the two turnovers that it could have been a totally different situation for us. We knew going into the locker room that we were down by four and were getting the ball. We had a confident feeling that we were going to go out and do what we needed to do in the second half."
(on using loss to Seattle as motivation this week) "We can stop hearing about it now. I don't think it was an issue for this team. This is a totally different team, a totally different mindset. I think we can stop hearing about it now.
"The teams that can run the ball and have balance on offense are the teams that advance year in and year out. San Francisco's been playing well all year, but we're hitting our stride.
"It's going to be a situation where we've seen both sides of the coin. I just think that the experience is going to bode well for us, making this road trip.
(on Drew Brees) "He's definitely playing at an extremely high level for us. He comes to work day in and day out and tries to get better on a daily better. That's what you see on the field.
(On his confidence currently) "It's a very high confidence level. It also has to do with a lot with the guys around me. I do my part. The other guys on the feel do their part and we know that we are going to be successful."
WR #19 DEVERY HENDERSON
(On the difference between half) "I think the running game early on was opening the passing game for us. I think we took advantage of that."
(On Detroit rallying) "I think, overall, that is the type of team is that is one play away. They have Calvin Johnson, just throw him up a deep ball and you never know what is going to happen. We had to put up some points to be safe with these guys."
(On the offense being labeled a finesse offense) "I think that we have a real good backfield. The guys run the ball real well. When we get the running game going, good things always happen. I wouldn't say we are finesse team. We have a great passing game. We have great guys out there making plays. We can do it either way, running the ball and getting those key blocks or with the passing game."
(On LSU vs. Alabama) "I feel pretty confident about Monday night. I will be in the building. Hopefully my Tigers will come to play. If that's the case, hopefully it will be an easy win."
(On having tough matchups) "Every time you get to the playoffs, it gets tougher and tougher. You have just have to sharpen your play. This is a really good team. They have some good things going. We knew it wasn't
going to be easy. We have to play ball, play within ourselves, and we did a good job."
G #77 CARL NICKS
(on going against Detroit DL) "I think I did a decent job. Our whole goal was to protect Drew and run the ball. Next week is going to be even harder. Those guys out there (San Francisco), they're killing it. We're going to have to go into A-plus-plus mode.
(will 49ers line present an even bigger challenge in getting to the second level?) "You have to get there first, because I know I'll be going against Justin Smith. He's a big dude. Patrick Willis and that young rookie (Aldon Smith), who is just tearing things up out there. We're just going to have to do a lot of film study, try to find some weaknesses in their game and try to capitalize on them."
(on if this game helps them move past the Seattle playoff loss last year) "The guys that have been here that lost that game, it definitely hurts and left a sour taste in our mouth. To get out of the first round and not lose when you were supposed to win is a good feeling, but we have a long way to go.
(At the beginning of the season, you had a plan. Are you following that plan still) "It would have been good to have a bye. Sometimes it doesn't work out like that. We're rolling. We just take it one game at a time, that's how we live out here. We try to get a W against the San Francisco 49ers."
CB #33 JABARI GREER
(On defending Calvin Johnson) "He's a big guy. I'm feeling the repercussions from that. He caught some balls. He got his. He made some plays. But at the end of the game, we came out with the win. We were able to minimize some big shots.
(On the play in the second half after being down) "It was perserverance. We came in at halftime and knew that we had an opportunity. We have been in that situation before. The guys in the locker room put a lot of work and effort into everything that they do. It wasn't our first time being down at halftime."