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Sean Payton discusses the loss to the Atlanta Falcons

Transcript of Coach Payton's postgame press conference on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

"First, start with tipping our hats to Atlanta. I told our players there were some good things. I thought defensively we did a lot of good things but it came with a little bit of a more low scoring game, but give them credit; they made enough plays, obviously, to get the win. It's disappointing at this stage of the season with what was at stake. (It's a) tough loss and there is that sting to it with the finality and yet, we didn't play near as well as we needed to get the win."

(on the replay of Jimmy Graham at the goal line) "It is something we can't control. It is the same look that they have though, know that. What we were looking at is a television angle; there is only one angle that matters. The others didn't matter. Did I think it was a score? Yes."

(on if at worst he thought it was forward progress with a stop) "I didn't look at it at worst, the one look we had as they continued to show it looked pretty clear, and yet, it is what it is. They go back to New York now with that and it's disappointing."

(on the offense) "We struggled with some protections. We got hit too much. We saw a lot of man-to-man, some zone coverage, a lot of four- and five-man rush, and they did a good job with penetration. We talked about this earlier in the week; I thought they affected the QB more than we did. If you look at the sack numbers, now part of that can be because of coverage, but that was one thing we thought was going to be important."

(on ending it on a potential game-winning drive) "The defense did a good job, we got the ball back and went into our hurry up mode and they end up making a play on a pass that put them in good position to get a field goal. That is the hard part about it, the way it ends."

(on lack of first-down production) "We found ourselves in a lot of the third and mediums or longs. We had a few runs and not quite the consistency, but when you play a game like that there is no set path that is going to follow and all of the sudden in the first half it was unfolding in a completely different way. The key was eliminating turnovers, mistakes and those things that we thought were going to be big to get this win. Credit the return game, we had a big kick return to get us started, we just weren't able to capitalize on it and it is disappointing."

(on whether Jimmy Graham's production is more about his play or coverage on him) "Each week it changes. There weren't any exotic coverages, there was a lot of Cover 1 and man to man with the deep safety and a few different looks that all of the sudden maybe you get corners, but I don't think we saw anything where we had a double on one specific player, but that can vary week to week."

(on the finality) "It's disappointing and yet we still have another game to play. We weren't able to get it done that is the thing that is most disappointing."

(on when he got word Carolina won and how it changes approach to next game) "It doesn't change our approach to next week. Our approach this upcoming week is obviously to get focused and finish the season the right way. Not until inside here (the locker room after the game when he found out about Carolina's win)."

(on the same mistakes plaguing the team all year) "I would argue a little bit with that. I would argue that defensively we played pretty well. We did a good job against that offense, offensively we weren't good enough. I thought our kicking game gave us some juice, but we didn't do a good enough job in some areas. We didn't do enough when it came to protection, getting the ball out, finding a chance to make some of those plays."

(on the 4th down he went for early in game) "It's just the gut there with where you are and then all of the sudden you get into the third quarter and see the scoring and the way that game was unfolding and you might do it differently, but we certainly wanted to be aggressive early on. I don't remember the time of how far we were into the game but it was fairly early, but the way that game was unfolding, doing it again, you'd probably take the points if you felt like you were going to make the field goal. But, we were going to be aggressive and we felt like it was going to be a higher number."

(on the opening kick return) "It was a good play."

(on losing five in a row at home) "It's disappointing because this has been a real good venue for us, we've played well here. But yet, when we've played well we have had good teams here and we haven't been consistently one of those teams this year and that's pretty obvious. The same thing goes, when you put a string together or are able to have success at home or on the road, it generally starts with playing well consistently and we haven't been able to do that."

(on if the entire season is a head scratcher) "It's not a head scratcher though, I appreciate the question, but it's not. It's pretty clear; there are some things that we have to look closely at. I don't really look at it like its puzzling. The things you need to do to play consistently and win in this league, we haven't done those consistently. We have done it at times and yet not consistently enough."

(on the 'mystery' of why the season has been the way it is) "I think the consistency and down and in and down and out. I thought there were things we did defensively that were much better this week than last time we played them, but we have to look closely at some things and it and it starts with me. Are we doing it the right way? Are we doing it with the right players? And then, make sure when it gets to the point to reflect on all of this in the offseason and look closely at the decisions we make, but if it consistently is happening maybe the message isn't clear or what we are trying to do with the players isn't effective enough. Like I said, today was a little different with regards to the question that came earlier; I thought there are some positives in regards to how our defense played. Those were significant. We thought going into this game it was going to be a tough game, we thought it was going to be a high scoring matchup, but it ended up being different and we weren't able to make enough plays on offense."

(on Atlanta's pass rush) "It wasn't unfamiliar, a lot of movement inside where you have a lot of twists and stunts and I'm sure once we look at the tape we will see some of it, but it was pretty consistent with what we have seen."

(on the Falcons targeting the Saints this year) "I think in our division I don't know that any teams, I think when the season ended last year we were all looking up at Carolina. This game has always been a tough game back and forth so I don't know that in the offseason it's just one team you are looking at, you have so many games you have to play and obviously this one today wasn't good."

(on the reason for going without Travaris Cadet today) "We were back and forth with the decision of the returner and then really, ultimately it was to carry and extra offensive guard. Terron (Armstead) was down so we ended up giving the kickoff return duties to (Jalen) Saunders and it ended up being something that he did a real good job with, but he (Cadet) was healthy and it was nothing that he was or wasn't doing."  

(on describing the season as 'frustrating') "It's frustrating, absolutely. Losing is frustrating, absolutely. To sit here after a tough game like that, it's disappointing. I'm disappointed for our players, our fans. It's tough. There is kind of an, I don't want to say an expectation, but there is a standard and this is something that we haven't been up to this year. I use that term, puzzling and head scratching, look, in our sport you go look at the film and you watch it and study it and say 'this did happen', 'this didn't happen' and those are not terms I would use to describe it. But being inconsistent, quite a bit, yes."

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