SAINTS HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON
Opening statement:"This goes without saying it, that's a tough loss. I thought the guys played with energy and yet at the end it ended up not being enough. Down the stretch we had opportunities to win the game, it's frustrating, and we weren't able to do it."
On the defense:"They came up with a play really at the end, third down and long ends up being a 70-something-yard touchdown pass and I thought before that though, we did a good job. We still have to finish."
On what the message is to his players:"I visited with them in the locker room. They're resilient. I think the tough thing about it is the work and their preparation leading into the game is everything we wanted, we just have to be able to finish. That's just as much coaches as it is players."
On how tough it was doing so many things right and still ending up with a loss:"Listen, there is a handful of things in that fourth quarter that you have to be able to recognize that momentum shift and come up with just a play. We weren't able to do it. We had the turnover advantage. I thought the penalties ended up hurting us. I wasn't happy with how that game was officiated, I'll leave it at that and yet that wasn't the reason in the end."
On the team's offensive line against the Lions pass rush:"I think pretty good considering there were some tough situations towards the end there, especially with the noise. But I thought pretty good considering, especially in some of the no huddle situations, yeah."
On Lions S Glover Quin's interception:"I think it was a snap, a thief coverage where he drops down and robs the middle of the field. That's my guess."
On if he can put his finger on why the team could not finish:"Here's the thing, you get in that situation and it's tough. Hand it off three times and there's two minutes and 48 seconds, more than that. So, you go back and forth, you know? It's less than a score game. We were in those situations last year and when a team's got three time outs and north of 3:30, 3:40 (on the clock), that's a ton of time. We made the decision at that point in the game with what we were wanting to do, I made it. Now, it's easy when it doesn't work out to come back and say, 'Well, if we would have.' Now, if we hand that ball off and end up punting, it's easy for you to sit in here and ask the same question again. Next question, someone else."
On the general idea of finishing:"This one's different now, the big play and then obviously the turnover."
On if he told QB Drew Brees anything about the interception:"I think he'll see that coverage. He climbed the pocket, it was like a man-under, good play by the safety, but we're talking about two different drives though and still, tough look."
On if the physicality took a toll in the end:"There were some situations where we got a lot more pressure, we got a little bit more man, then later on that last snap they drop a safety into the box and that's who makes the play, (Glover) Quin. There were a number of plays there that led to that."
On if the Lions defense did something different at the end of the game to win:"No, they played their shell and then every once in a while they'll drop someone down, but kind of what they play."
On how CB Keenan Lewis is progressing:"We're still rehabbing him right now. He's got, I think, two cramps and a hamstring. We'll see where he's at. Obviously, he would have been out there."
On if TE Jimmy Graham was not a huge part of the game plan:"He was in the nickel, some of the third down, some of the red zone. We didn't have a ton of the red zone snaps. We scored on the big play to (Kenny Stills). We kind of did the same thing a year ago at Buffalo. We kind of had a set plan in place for him and the challenge is just making sure you're ready if you're not playing on a more frequent basis."
On if that was something he discussed changing at halftime:"We were sticking with the plan regarding third down and red. I think just opportunity wise, 'Hey, is he going to come up,' depending on the personnel we were in. So, there were a handful of plays tagged for him and then there were some that weren't."
On if Brees would ever change his decision to make the throw that was intercepted:"Listen, when the game unfolds like that, there's a sequence of things. It's not just Drew's decision or it's not just the final play there. You go through and when does that momentum switch? It switches on the 3rd-and-10, 76-yard touchdown pass. That's when all of a sudden the dynamics change. So, you go through a few things, you know? There's too many elements to the game to look specifically at one individual."
On how the team will react:"When you don't win in this league it's tough to come to work and get back off the ground. It's certainly a lot easier after a win than after a loss. We don't want to be sitting here at 2-4. Yet, you have to do it, that's the nature of the game."
On if it's tough as a coach to feel as if the game plan worked but the result was not a win:"Listen, it's being able to finish today. We had an opportunity. I felt like most of the game we had good control over that and we let it slip."
On the Lions defense:"Well, those two inside guys create problems when they can get to that spot. I thought for the most part though, I thought those guys on our side did a good job. We got in some hurry-up in order to force them to get tired a little bit. We came up with a big play to (Kenny) Stills after that sequence. There weren't a lot of possessions in the first half. We had the one fumble, but it's a good defense. We made some big plays and certainly had some opportunities late in the game. We had the screen passes that we think is going to be a big play even though it's third-and-long. We end up kicking the field goal and somehow or another the back gets grabbed. There's a number of things that you could point to, but I don't think it's one thing."
On RB Mark Ingram's return:"He's doing good. Some of it was a nickel plan and yet he played quite a bit. You know, because it's a thumb injury, obviously significant, but nonetheless he's recovered and we expect him to be 100-percent."
On the defense swarming for most of the game:"I thought the energy and the effort and a number of things (were great). We got the turnovers, you know? All of those things."
On the NFC South being below .500 this season:"Listen, I get it. I think the focus of us though has to be more internally. You start paying attention externally and you find yourself here again next weekend. We got another good team we're going to play here next weekend. We have to get ready."