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Sean Payton and players talk about defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-14

Transcripts of Coach Payton and player's postgame press conferences


(Opening statement)

"First the obvious – we're fortunate to get a win. I was proud of the fact that they didn't quit. There are a lot of things that we need to clean up just from a standpoint of red zone opportunities – I thought defensively we certainly played well enough and did a good job against that running back [Doug Martin]. What was very important at the very end was just getting the stop, where they couldn't take a knee and win the game. For me, I take for granted that there are a lot of familiar guys on that roster, but yet there's lot of different guys. We're just talking about hanging in, fighting, kind of staying together, body language. We've been in a number of games like this and we made a few plays at the end when we needed it. We'll clean up and have to clean up a lot of things to improve. But it's hard to win on the road and especially in a division. Hats off to Tampa, I thought that they played outstanding on defense. And yet we were fortunate and excited to get the win on the road."

(On whether Tampa Bay's decision to kick a field goal on its final possession was the right choice)

"No. It was the right thing to do. It's the difference between a touchdown and a field goal. I think that's the right thing. It had plenty of distance, didn't it?"

(On quarterback Drew Brees' performance)

"There were some big throws there. He got a couple single safety-man looks. He found [tight end] Jimmy [Graham], he found [wide receiver] Marques [Colston] – those are big plays."

(On handling the early weather delay)

"They gave us kind of an initial timeframe – somewhere about a half an hour to 45 minutes. We kind of sat everybody down and waited for that 10-minute warning. We started to stretch inside and then we stretched as a team inside. Then we came out and I think both teams knew we were 15 minutes out, 10 minutes out. It was really just try to stay off your feet, stay hydrated and then it was just a matter of getting into kind of a miniature pregame."

(On struggling in the red zone late in the second quarter)

"Yeah, I take the blame for that. There's a sequence that took place and on the fourth down play we end up running a play for goal line defense. [Tampa Bay] are in one of their base defenses. I think just with 10 [players] on the field, I can't be certain of it. But anyway, it wasn't a very good sequence. The first play was a play-action pass, we had trouble getting Jimmy [Graham] out and sometimes it just gets congested where they kind of grab and reroute guys like him down there, but we'll be better there. It was just really the toss play, which was a minus play, and they played it pretty well. Look I'll be a lot better in that situation – I need to be."

(On tight end Jimmy Graham)

"Those were some big plays. We'll see on film. [Tampa Bay's defense] did a good job of covering him and [running back] Darren [Sproles] too. So we kind of went back and forth. We got a lot of different looks. They played hard in the back end and made it real difficult. They hit the quarterback a few times. That became challenging, but he had a number of big plays. He got right up after he got hit in the head and it was good to see."

(On his team handling 'crunch time')

"A guy like [Drew Brees] in the two-minute drill is very confident. It's one of the things we talked about in the locker room just with our players. Body language on the sidelines is important. This is a different team than any of the teams in years past. It's hard to win in this league, on the road in the division. Sometimes you don't know how the game is going to unfold and in this case it came down to one possession. The defense made the stop and if they were able to get the first down, you know they're [going to take] a knee. Then we made a few plays there and got out of our end."


(On the significance of this win)

"I don't know about that, I mean we're still pretty early in the season. Labels like that belong in the playoffs. It was significant. It was a divisional game on the road. There were opportunities to be had on both sides throughout the course of the game. I felt like we continue to fight, fight, fight and just fight, and taking the lead and then kind of seizing the momentum there for a while in the fourth quarter. For us just have to have a chance at the end where we take three consecutive plays and put ourselves in field goal range and kick that field goal as time goes off the clock, we win. That change of events just flipped completely around and that's football. That's why we love it and that's why we never give up, because we always have a chance."

(On how vital today's win was)

"I think wins like this are vital, because no matter what you've done in the past you've got to kind of prove it to yourself that this team can overcome those types of odds and circumstances to get a win on the road, in the division. This just becomes so meaningful. Our team got better today. There's still a lot we have to work on, there's still a lot we have to improve upon, but when you can find a way to win with everything that happened today, especially there at the end, that's just significant."

(On his thoughts before the last drive)

"We're going to go win the game. Right when they line up for the field goal you just visualized it happening in your mind. This happened back in 2009 against Washington. They line up for a field goal and you just visualize that they're going to miss it, and we have this amount of time and these are the plays we're going to run and we're going to go down and score and win this game. It was the same scenario there. You just believed it would happen. Again, for those of us that we're a part of that team, which there's not many – there's only 11 of us – we can draw a lot of experience. With everybody there, the fact of the matter is we worked so hard and we conditioned ourselves to take advantage of these opportunities and you just visualize success. You visualize yourself making plays and, so really, I considered there was no doubt amongst our team."

(On establishing team identity through games like today)

"You look from last year to this year, each team had to kind of reestablish their identity and that ability to stick together and win football games like this. When you're down and things haven't been going your way, making critical mistakes, you got to prove it to yourself that you can go out there and continue to win football games like this. And there are a lot of games like this in the NFL. We proved a lot to ourselves today. We're 2-0 [with] both wins against a divisional opponent. This is where we imagined ourselves being and, obviously, the matter that we won these two games has been pretty exciting. These are the ones you have to win in order to get to the goals that you set for yourself."

TIGHT END JIMMY GRAHAM [internal-link-placeholder-0]

(On his performance)

"We were looking all week on the match-ups and we knew we'd have a lot of two-show coverage and on third down we got a lot of man-to-man. [Quarterback] Drew [Brees] was on tonight, me and him were on tonight, and we got the win in the end. It was a battle, it really was."

(On the hit he took in the second quarter)

"All is well. You know, I'm a big guy, 270 [pounds], so I can take hits like that."

(On what he thought about the play)

"That's just the nature of the position, especially in our offense. We run a lot of 'All go.' Me, I'm always down the seam. You know, it's a quick play, it's a real bang-bang play, so you know it's going to be probably a big catch for a big hit. Unfortunately on that one he [Drew Brees] targeted me a little high and that's just part of the game."

(On New Orleans' final drive)

"That guy, Drew Brees, he's magical, he really is. It doesn't matter what time of the game it is, at what point in the game it is, he has belief in us, he has belief in himself, and he knows that. If you give him a minute, if you give him 30 seconds, we all have hope on this team just because of the way we're built, they way he [Drew Brees] is built and the way Sean's [Payton] built this team."

(On the aggressiveness of Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson)

"He's a very chippy player and I like it. I think it's awesome to have him in our division; he's a big challenge. You always got to know where he's at and you've always got to be looking for him so for me, I love it. I think that's going to be a great match-up for years and years to come."

(On being 2-0 without having played their best football)

"We really haven't, we're slowly figuring it out. We're slowly finding the identity of this team and we have a lot of work to do. We know we have a lot of work to do. We can get so much better and we're going to take this film and look at it and assess how we can get better."

(On breaking his own record of reception yards for a tight end)

"Tonight was just one of those nights for me and Drew. He was constantly looking for me and we're trying to exploit that match-up quite a bit and tonight was just a night for me. You never know what it's going to be on this offense. Last game was [Marques] Colston and you really just don't know."


(On winning the game as time expired)

"It was big, it was big. Our defense was playing tough all night, but we needed that drive at the end though."

(On coming together as a team to pull out the win)

"Coach [Sean Payton] just told us to calm down and relax. We've been down before, so going into that last drive, he was pretty much just telling us to stay calm."

(On what to improve on after a 2-0 start)

"Pretty much on offense. When we're in the red zone we [have] just got to score, that's our thing. That's what we need to work on. We're probably going to go back to the drawing board on Wednesday and get this stuff all ironed out."


(On the weather delay at the start of the game)

"I've never had a rain delay, ever, in football. It was kind of one of those things, you don't want to do too much and wear yourself out. We sat around a little bit and once they gave us that 10-minute warning, we started to warm up again and go over some last minute checks and started over. We did the same pre-game ritual that we usually do, we just re-started the whole process."

(On making big defensive stands)

"The biggest thing about our team is we are going to do what it takes to win. Whether it's the offense stepping up, or the defense, or special teams. We play complimentary football, and every game takes on a life of its own. All we care about is winning. Last week and this week were huge wins for us; starting out 2-0 in the division. These kind of wins make a team strong."

(On mistakes made by the defense)

"Obviously, there are going to be mistakes. It is a lot easier to correct mistakes after a win. I thought their defense played phenomenal, obviously they have talent on that side of the ball that matched up well against us. As a team, we did everything we needed to do win the game, got some turnovers on defense. Special teams played well, gave us field position all day. That's kind of what we need to do to win, can't always depend on our offense to show up, it's a team deal."

(On his interception)

"I was just able to come out on the post, and read the pattern a little bit. I was able to get out in front of it, it was huge for us."


(On tight end Jimmy Graham)

"He's a huge mismatch, a big guy that can run, especially through the middle of the defense. He was awesome for us today."

(On the New Orleans team attitude)

"We're just excited about this game. We were able to pick up a win against a tough divisional opponent. We can watch the film and move on to next week."

(On his catch during final drive)

"[Quarterback] Drew [Brees] threw a great ball away from the defender and was able to make the catch. Then [kicker Garrett] Hartley made a pressure kick to win the game."


(On the defense and offense working together)

"Both sides are going to feed off of each other. If the offense struggles, the defense steps up. If the defense struggles, the offense steps up. It was a great team win."

(On the game-winning drive)

"When you have Drew Brees at quarterback and the playmakers around him, we can score anytime. I've seen him do it at practice, we weren't really worried about it."

(On New Orleans' 2-0 start)

"It's definitely a confidence builder. This one today was a team win. It is a great momentum builder for next week."

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