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Sean Payton, Saints players talk about tonight's 17-13 win over the Falcons

Postgame quotes from Coach Payton and players

Coach Sean Payton
Opening Statement: "Just briefly I thought that was a real a real good hard fought win. I thought both teams played hard. We tip our hat to Atlanta they came out with great energy and certainly in the first quarter they were able to stop us and take the football down the on that first drive. We felt going into this game we knew it was going to be a challenge, it is every time we play them when you really look at the two teams, the history, regardless of the record it has always been a close game and tonight was no exception. I thought in all three areas we did a lot of things well. Ball security was going to be important and I don't think either team turned the ball over and typically that statistic is a very telling one in this series. Anyway it was a good win for us and we will enjoy it for now and get ready with a little bit of extended time here we will get ready for the next game. "

How much do you feel like because Atlanta was the opponent that you guys knew you had a short week you knew what you had to do to get the win:

"I think I just said it. The history of our time playing Atlanta has always been challenging. There have been so many close games they all run together at this point but I thought the stop late in the game and being able to control the clock there in the end. We had some big plays, they had three timeouts left before the two minute warning and that's a long time and I was pleased right at the end with what we were able to do."

Quarterback Drew Brees
On the toughness of this game:

"I think it's a combination of a familiarity thing. It's a divisional game so obviously these are important. They are extremely important and on the road, even more so. There is a competitive vibe to this game. Over the last five years, these programs have won a lot of games. The expectations are always very high and we always know that we have to get through one another to get to where we want to go."

On the 15 play drive:

"That was huge. Obviously, we knew that they're a great team, they're certainly fast starting, especially at home, so for them to go down and score, we just knew as an offense we just needed to come back and respond, we just needed to score. We put together a great drive, like you said 15 plays, and ended up getting a touchdown on third down inside the red zone. That was a great way to answer and we came back on our next drive and got another score. I think the ability to combat the initial push was a great momentum shift in our favor."

On three big wins in 12 days:

"It says that this is the time of year when you have to be your best and you have to find a way to navigate the schedule. We knew we had the Sunday night game against Dallas, we knew how big of a game that was and then San Francisco mid-afternoon on Sunday. We knew how physical that game was going to be and then have to come back four days later on a short week and play the Atlanta Falcons here. We knew that was going to be a difficult task, but obviously we were able to get three wins there, and we know the challenge coming up now is going to Seattle on Monday night. The good thing is we get a little more rest this weekend and get some guys healed up and hopefully we'll be full strength going in."

Running back Pierre Thomas
On how he felt about the game:

"It was very big. Every time we play Atlanta it is going to be a big, physical game, we know that. They are division opponents. We also want the upper hand in the division. We got them. We are up 2-0 on these guys and we feel good. We knew coming in it was going to be a short week and a physical game. Every time we play Atlanta we know it is going to be a physical game. They are going to bring their A game and we have to bring our A game. "

On Atlanta's chance at the end:

"It always comes down to the wire with these guys. We had a lot of ups and downs out there playing and you have to give it to them. On the defensive side they did a great job of getting a lot of three and outs and putting pressure on our quarterback but we did a good job of executing. Its a few mistakes but we came out victorious."

Running back Mark Ingram
On the keys to tonight's win:

"We know we needed to be physical, we needed to execute and we couldn't turn the ball over. Those were just the main keys playing physical, doing good on third down, and not turning it over."

On coming into the game:

"You can't overlook these guys as a division opponent. You know what the division rivalries are like. You can't overlook any game; the next game is the biggest one, so the biggest game for us this year was this game."

Tight end Benjamin Watson
On if the offense felt they had to take control of the game:

"No, because really we didn't start out too hot, we went three and out and then they scored but its complimentary football. You have to play complimentary football. I think we won the turnover battle which was huge, getting a defensive turnover. We always say if we can go in and win the turnover battle that's a big step to winning a football game and you just never know how it's going to go. That is why you have three phases."

Defensive end Akiem Hicks
On recent schedule:

"We've had back to back tough games with Dallas and San Francisco and now we had Atlanta on a Thursday night so it has been a couple of weeks of playing big time, prime time games."
Do you see any parallels between your defense and the Miami No-Name defense of the 1970s:
"We aren't ready for any of that. We are just looking forward to next week and coming out and being productive and doing what we have to do."

Cornerback Corey White

How much did it help playing a familiar foe during this short week:

"It helped a little bit. We know Atlanta but you still have to come in and play every week. It doesn't matter if they are two and eight or eight and two you have to play. Sean (Payton) did a great job of getting us ready."

Linebacker Curtis Lofton

On the toll the last three weeks have taken:

"I think winning three games, especially winning on the road that is crucial. Especially in November and December that's when the great teams start to separate from the good teams. It felt good to come in here and get a win against a divisional opponent."

On facing what they knew would probably be another tough, grinding opponent:

"Coach Payton did a great job of getting us rested and getting us more rest, having a walk through instead of practices and getting us fresh legs for the game. There is no excuse as they (Atlanta) played too on Sunday so we had to come to play today. It's a matter of just getting it going and having to ride the ebbs and flows. As a defense, we just want to come out and play good and we did that."

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