Head Coach Sean Payton: It was good to get a win especially on the road against a good team. I thought for about 95% of the game, we did a lot of things well. I was excited about getting that win. There are some things that we need to clean up and be able to do better. Particularly at the end of the game but we will be able to work on that.
I thought in the first half, if you look statistically, it's like a two-mirrored half. 80 yards rushing a piece, similar total offense, similar rushing totals. The difference was we were able to force them to kick field goals and we were able to score two touchdowns. The second half, I thought it even slanted more in our favor and that's credited to our players. I thought we did a good job with some of the situations regarding points. Turnovers were huge and protecting the ball. In the end the third-down numbers helped us.
Re: Guys stepping up:
A number of guys did. He hit some big plays though. He hit the long yard on third-down for a touchdown is a significant play because you go from a distance, third and 10 or 11, you're able to score on play like that. It seems like when they scored, we were able to answer. I think we played a very good complementary game today. We haven't done that in a long time.
Re: A win on the road after the last three weeks:
Really with regards to that, it was just whatever happened on the other sideline, we kept our poise. It wasn't until the last series really that we had a couple of stupid penalties. I'm proud of them. Our staff, our coaches those guys worked hard all week, on a short week, from a Monday Night game knowing the Steelers were coming off of a bye. The preparation, the players did a very good job of executing the plan. It was a good win to get.
Re: Couple of guys scored their first touchdown today this season:
It was Nick Toon's first touchdown of his career. Those are significant plays. Those guys are contributing. They would run a play like where Ben Watson catches his touchdown and it's a pattern and it's not unusual. You just don't know how they are going to cover it. Drew Brees did a good job locating him. It was one of the early scores. Nick's was a great one after the catch that was reviewed. It was a big play. It's good to see him come along.
Re: Targeting Jimmy Graham:
We have a ton of different plays. We had a pass interference called against them. We didn't come into the game with the idea that we weren't going to target Jimmy Graham.
Re: Did you see this win coming?
Honestly, you work hard at it and the key is to practice and making sure you are looking at some things that have kept you from winning in prior weeks. The big thing we have talked about is let's just not turn the page, and not understand what kept us from winning the week before. That's just as a staff looking closely at everything and the players as well. I thought we had a really good week at practice. So it was a challenge week with thanksgiving but they handled that well. They traveled well and did the things that are necessary to win games like this.
Re: Importance on protecting the ball:
I think that if you were at the game, you would look at it. We've been on the other end of it, where our yardage totals are high. The things that are necessary to win we were able to do. I thought we ran the ball better, we defended the run better, we had balance, and we were better on third-downs. I thought we did a good job defensively with some 7-7 and half men fronts of continuing the rushing game. They haven't lost a game at home since 2009, when they rushed over 100 yards with one back so that was one of the things we talked about. Statistically the turnovers, obviously, are very significant when we play on the road.
Re: Drew Brees' day:
Sharp, focused. It was good to get outside. We haven't played outside in a while. He dealt with a little bit of wind in one direction but I thought overall the special teams handled it. I thought we threw around and caught it well. He was extremely sharp. He got a lot of different looks too. He handled it and got a lot of pressure looks. He got hit a few times. He was on.
Re: Handling adversity:
When that happens, it's always hard to point to exactly how the distribution of the ball might end up, but we're talking about Nick Toon now or Benjamin Watson, or another player that is involved. It's kind of the nature of the game. Our guys have embraced that and they understand that we expect to be efficient and that we expect to be able to move the ball. Defensively, it's the same way. Pierre Warren was up in Minnesota a week ago or two weeks ago. That's part of the deal.
Re: Feud between you and Rob Ryan:
Who's been talking about that? Reports from? I don't want to ask your questions too, but give me the reports and I'll answer it. What reports?
Re: Jason LaCanfora from CBS Sports reporting tension between you and Rob Ryan:
It's been outstanding. Alright. But Jason gets his information from an old defensive coordinator. What's the other report? I just want to make sure.
Re: Mike Freeman's report of tension between you and Rob Ryan:
He and I get along and are doing great. Here comes the other report, right? You guys go to Adam Schefter and check with Adam because I think I would know if we were interested in signing any player. But those are the Sunday splash reports. When you're in this business, on Sunday you have to have something that everyone reads regardless of if it's truthful or not. Last Sunday, what was it? You guys didn't even ask the question that I was waiting for. We were hiding a player from the Denver Broncos, but that was a splash report. We like our running back depth. If you do a little research, Khiry Robinson is coming back next week. Anymore splash reports that I'm going to answer questions about?
Well if we are listing all the splash plays, there's one from Ian Rapoport.
Go ahead. But it sounds silly. It makes you look silly, but go ahead and ask it.
Re: Ian Rapoport reporting the Saints are unhappy with Drew Brees' production:
Is this where we're at? Is anyone going to ask about the Steelers? Next question. There you go. Someone ask me about Mark Ingram. We're answering questions.
Re: Production of Mark Ingram:
He was strong. When you play an odd front okie defense, it's pretty challenging. You have to be able to hit those six and seven hole runs we were able to. Then once we got a few of those plays that were four yards or two yards. Then all of a sudden, there came a 12-yard game. I thought he ran hard. I thought Pierre Thomas ran hard with some of the snaps he had. I'm sure when we put the tape on, we're going to see a real physical presence of our guards, tackles and centers playing well. Some of it was with a lead back. Some of it you're going to have to block with the tight ends and do that effectively. I'm sure we're going to see that on film as well. The running game was really important. Winning that battle was as significant as winning the turnover battle.
What specifically do you like about Rob Ryan?
I'll say the same thing I answered when you guys asked that on Thursday. I'm telling you what, his toughness and his passion – he's there until when the crickets are gone. It's hard when you're not winning in this league. I love what he's doing. Are there times when we have to look at things? Are there times where I get involved? Absolutely. I'm the head coach. He's doing an outstanding job. You really find out a little bit about everyone when you start losing a few games. You go through a bit of adversity. It really hadn't happened around here in a while. Those are the things you appreciate as a head coach. When someone's got passion for teaching and the next challenge, those are the things you appreciate.
Re: People seeing sideline issues between you and Rob Ryan:
That's me. Pick somebody. You ready? Pick Greg McMahon. Pick Corey White. Pick the game. That's just me being fired up. Pick Joe Vitt. It's more obvious when it's Rob because the camera is going to be on him more than it's going to be on Greg McMahon or a player. Yeah, I get upset when there are 12 guys on the field. That doesn't mean I'm looking for another defensive coach. I'm going to be more upset again. You're going to see more clips of it. Then Ian and Adam, you guys can write more reports on Sundays though. They'll come out on Sundays. They won't come out on Thursdays. Keep going.
Do you feel like this is the best execution you have seen on both sides of the football?
I think this was one of our better games obviously. We hadn't played well of late. We've had a game or two, but this one would be up there.
Do you think the players have put too much blame on their shoulders?
No. I've read what the reports have been. As the week goes on, we keep asking what do you think is wrong or how is it going to be fixed? Look, every one of us shoulders it – the players, the coaches, me as the head coach. We own it and we have to get it corrected. There's never one this is the person right here. It doesn't work like that. We have to look closely when we have a tough loss. We have to look closely at what I can do to fix things, what I can do to be better as a head coach. Our staff needs to look at it that way too. If you're a teacher and every one of your students gets a "D," well you can say no one studied. Or then you might have to look at how you're teaching. Those are the things that are important as you're trying to make change so that you're changing the right things.