New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton following Sunday's loss to Patriots:
"That's a tough, tough loss. I would first say, and I told our players, I thought in the second half we fought back to get kind of in that thing. It wasn't always perfect. Typically when it's not always perfect your opponent is doing something well. New England did a very good job kind of containing us offensively. We had too many three-and-outs early on. I can be better and need to be, and our staff the same way. I told the players, 'Look we did some good things in the second half,' and I was proud of the way we fought back in it. Obviously, it's disappointing no to get the win but you have to credit your opponent. In this case, the offense, Tom (Brady) and those guys made a play late in the game, and those are tough. That's this league. It stings, it will sting for a while, but we've got a bye coming up here and we just have to make sure it doesn't carry over to the next game. I thought we came back and did some things we needed to do in the second half. But we played a good team that played very well tonight, and it was a hard fought game. Any questions?
Q: What did they do with (tight end Jimmy Graham)?
SP: Well one thing they do a good job with, is they disrupt you at the line of scrimmage better than anyone. They do a really good job of getting hands on receivers and tight ends. They are very well coached. They are disciplined, and they did a good job of that.
Q: With (cornerback Aqib Talib), they kind of put him on (Jimmy Graham) and he was able to…
SP: He was on (Graham) in their nickel packages, and then he had an injury, but it's the disruption at the line of scrimmage.
Q: There was a sequence where you had a couple of drives and if you got a first down you could have run the ball out. Can you go through those last two sequences?
SP: Look, they were two four-minute drives. They were what they were. We were kind of paying attention to the clock and we were trying to get some yardage and possibly get a first down. We were getting a heavy front with the risk of throwing it and the clock stopping. So, we can wrestle with that for a while, but they made the stops when they needed to, got the ball back and made plays. Next question.
Q: Do you have any idea what is wrong with Jimmy Graham yet, injury wise?
Q: You gave up two field goals in the second half and then they had the touchdown drive. It's almost like…
SP:** Listen, I said this to our guys at halftime. There were a handful of things that we felt like… you know man, we're playing a good team, but there are some things we have to be better at if we're going to get into this thing in the second half. We did some of those things, and made some plays defensively. Offensively, we found a little bit of a running game. I thought that helped us a little bit. Look, it didn't finish the way we would have liked. It's a tough finish, but again like I said those guys made the plays. Credit New England and their staff and their team. They did a good job.
Q: How encouraging is it when (wide receiver Marques Colston) only has one catch, (tight end Jimmy Graham) doesn't have a catch, that the young guys like (running back Khiry Robinson), (running back Travaris Cadet) and (wide receiver Kenny Stills) step up?
SP: That's the one thing typically in the history of what we've done offensively, (the ball) at times gets spread around. Tonight it was a little different. We didn't have as many snaps, so you know that's a result of some of those third downs. We had four penalties in the first half, and there were a handful of those things.
Q: Running the football, you guys did a better job maybe then any other game. Was there anything that you saw going in that you thought could work against this defense?
SP: We just wanted to have some balance. The thing we wanted to see was what they were going to play to our base (offense) sets and our nickel sets, and try to get a read on what their defense was going to be.
Q: What did you see on the Patriots last drive?
SP: It was just kind of an ebb and flow. They made some plays inside and obviously the clock kept going, but they were able to get up and you know they got some chunks. It was at that point in the game where it was going to have to be some bigger plays. He (Tom Brady) was able to make enough really good throws and the one at the end for the score.
Q: The throw on third down right before your last field goal. Are you trying to win the game right there, because it gave them an extra time out?
SP: Yeah, just looking at being aggressive and taking a shot. So that was just a decision that I made, and you kind of go back and forth with that. Trying to win it, and then your also paying attention to how your defense is playing. So, yeah.
Q: Why wasn't (quarterback Drew Brees) successful today?
SP: Listen, I just got finished saying if you're playing somebody, it's easy to say, 'Well he didn't play as well.' I credit New England. They did a real good job with those guys at the line of scrimmage and got just enough pressure. One of the things we said early in the week was, with the amount of man coverage you get, often times you need to hold the ball. I think that they do a very good job of contesting throws at the line of scrimmage.
Q: You talked about the decision to run or throw on the last drive. Was the thought there…
SP: We kind of thought of a few things, toyed with a few things, but the clock and with the way we had gotten off the field defensively, it made sense to us.