PANTHERS COACH MATT RHULE
"Obviously disappointed with the result. Great football game back and forth. Had a chance to win it and as happens both for you and against you, you have to make one more play in the fourth quarter and we were not able to make that play at the very end. I thought the second half our defense held them to six points, I think it was six points, gave us a chance to win the game. Just couldn't quite make it happen. Credit to them. Obviously, they are a great football team. Drew Brees was great at quarterback as he is. I thought (Alvin) Kamara played a great game."
What went into the decision to attempt a 65-yard field goal versus letting the offense try to convert on fourth down:
"It was fourth-and-17. We don't have a lot of those calls we feel good about. He's made it from there. We went into the game saying, hey, 47-yard line. 47-yard line, we felt he would have a chance. Our odds with fourth-and-17 we felt like were less than that. Obviously, it was not ideal. We had the ball down at the 35 and took that sack. Obviously, that sack was a fatal blow there. That's why."
On the third down sack, if Teddy Bridgewater could have gotten rid of the ball:
"We can't take a sack there no matter who it is. Whether it's the offensive line, the receivers, whatever, we just can't take a sack. That's the only thing that couldn't have happen there was that. Regardless of what happens, Teddy can't take that sack, the offensive line can't allow that sack, it just can't happen."
If Joey Slye hit anything longer than a 60-yard field goal in pregame:
"No, I don't watch it in pregame to that degree. (Special teams coordinator) Chase (Blackburn) had the number at 47. Again, we shouldn't even be back there. We can't take the sack. So when we get back there it's what's the best available odds. We punt it down there, we are going to get the ball back with 15 seconds. We go for it on fourth-and-17, I don't know about those odds. And we kick a field goal, even if it is 30-40%, typically third-and-10 plus is about 25% so even if its 30%. I thought he hit it and came up whatever four or five yards short."
Thoughts while watching Joey Slye's 65-yard field goal attempt and if he thought he was going to make it as it was happening:
"I don't remember. I was just watching it. I was hoping for him, hoping that we had good protection. We had struggled with protection earlier. He hit it and I try to not overreact. I just watch it and see what happens. We missed it. I thought we might have a chance to get the ball back with 5-7 seconds left and who knows what could happen."
What made the Saints difficult to stop on third down:
"They did a great job of converting some third and longs. (Alvin) Kamara made it tough. They won verse man to man. I think in the first half they were 6-of-6 on third down and 3-of-3 in the red zone. So, areas that we pride ourselves on. I think when you play Drew Brees you have to know he is going to be efficient. He was efficient. We didn't make the plays or call the plays. Just a team effort on our end to get them off the field."
Eli Apple playing a lot of snaps and if he saw anything from Troy Pride Jr. and how the cornerbacks played without Rasul Douglas:
"I thought they played fine. I have to watch the tape to see more. We tried to play Eli (Apple) and at one point he went down and then came back up. Nothing beyond just rotating them and feeling like he was going to play well and getting him into the game."
Mike Davis and the difficulty getting the running game going:
"I don't think we had a lot of plays. I don't know how many total plays we had in the game. It just felt like one of those games based upon the way they were playing, based upon the way our guys were playing it was going to be plays through the air. Felt like it was one of those games it was going to be, hey, throw it and then mix in the runs. Thought Mike (Davis) played well. We hit him on a couple passes. He made guys miss. Just felt like one of those, hey, let's throw the ball. Obviously, we had the big play to DJ [Moore] which was a quick drive. Nothing particular about the run game other than we are kind of one of those hey, get the lead and then run the football type teams. More pass first. Obviously, couldn't quite get the lead, we were always kind of chasing from behind."
Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers matchup in Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season.
PANTHERS QUARTERBACK TEDDY BRIDGEWATER
"It's a tough one to let get away from you. That was a good football team we played against and we were a few plays away, but in this league being a few plays away can get you beat. We've got a short week, so we've got to hurry up and put this game to bed. We'll get an opportunity to play the Saints again at the end of the season, but it's a short week like I said; we've got to get ready for Atlanta."
What he saw on the sack at the end of the game:
"We had the perfect play call – probably would've scored a touchdown if we had got it off – but they schemed up that protection that we had called well and I really had nowhere to throw the ball. As I tried to step up, I was going to throw it away but there were no outlets for me to just dirt it. Hats off to those guys, they schemed up the protection that we had called and they prevented us from making a play and forced us out of field goal range."
Adjustments the offense had to make throughout the game:
"When you look at the game, we didn't really have many possessions, so we just tried to maximize every drive that we got. We wanted to make sure that we were finishing in the end zone so it was one of those games where the game might go a little different from what the game plan was. We left a couple plays out there today – a couple big plays – and if you leave too many plays against a team like that, you get beat."
The difficulty of finding a rhythm with less snaps and the defense having difficulty getting third down stops:
"It goes hand-in-hand. For us, when we put together long drives – 14-play scoring drives and things like that – it gives our defense a break. So, if we can just continue to do our part to help our defense stay fresh and locked and loaded, I think we'll continue to complement each other – the offense will complement the defense, the defense will complement the offense and special teams."
How the offense changes with Curtis Samuel on the field:
"Curtis is just a guy that shows up for us. I've been saying he does everything that we ask him to do. When his number is called, he's out there making plays for us. You saw him score a touchdown from the backfield, you see him make big catches on third down, so to have him out there on the field, he's a huge asset to this team."
What was said on the Saints sideline between him and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton:
"He was just saying it was a flag on both teams, the play is dead, basically."
Whether it was more emotional playing against his old team:
"No, not at all. To me, it was another game on our schedule. Of course, those guys hold a special place in my life and my heart, but when I'm going against them, it's a different approach. I just want to go out there and play the game I know how to play and try to get our team in the end zone as many times as we could."
Thoughts on the 65-yard field goal attempt by Joey Slye:
"It just shows that Coach (Matt Rhule) has supreme confidence in his players. I think as an offense we can't put ourselves in that situation. If we could dirt the ball or something on that third down – you see a guy kick a 65-yard field goal and just miss it, so if we just dirt the ball right there on third down and give him a chance from 20 yards closer, there's a chance for us to tie the game up. But, like I said, it just shows that Coach has supreme confidence in his players."
Whether he wanted the offense to go for it on fourth-and-17:
"It's a tough situation. If we had made it a more manageable down and distance, I think we probably would've went for it or something. I don't know, but like I said, to see Coach tell Joey (Slye) to go out there and kick a 65-yard field goal, that's supreme confidence in his players. It's no knock against the offense or anything but we have guys on this team who we truly believe in and that was put on display when Coach called the field goal team out there."
How it falls on him to lead the team following this loss in a short week:
"It's all about understanding that you've got more opportunities. You've got to be able to turn the page fast in this league. We've got an Atlanta team coming into town that I'm pretty sure after we played them, they felt the same way that they may have been one or two plays away from tying the game or beating us, so we have to make sure that we have the right mindset going into this game that nothing's going to be handed to us. Like I said, we get an opportunity to play the Saints again at the end of this year and Atlanta's getting another opportunity to play us, so we're going to make sure that we attack this week with the right mindset and be smart. I'm going to continue to stress to the younger guys on this team that Thursday's going to be here. You get, basically, a day and a half of preparation, so it's a quick turnaround but no one's going to feel sorry for you once you get out there."
New Orleans Saints fans cheer on the team from a safe distance as the Saints take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season.