HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON
Sean, that's for straight division championships that obviously doesn't happen a lot. How special does that feel right now?
"I think that's the first goal. When you start a season, it certainly is not the only one and we got a good core group of players. I thought, with the injuries today, a number of guys stepped up. Obviously, the first goal is to win your division and then get your seeding as best you can for the postseason. I was proud of how they played. We played hard with a lot of different players filling in. Seven different starters out and, man, we just we just kept grinding."
Taysom Hill's touchdown late in the game. Were you thinking at all about putting (Alvin) Kamara in and trying to get him that record?
"Obviously, his performance today was unbelievable. I was thinking about our best play there, it was fourth down, and we felt that was a play that would be tough for them because obviously, it's a quarterback design run with an extra guy. But late in the game, I was mindful of it. A lot of these players, I'd say most of these players have no idea how good Gale Sayers was and growing up in Chicago, certainly you were familiar with his ability and I was happy. Listen, it was a big deal. He played fantastic today and Minnesota was banged up to. They had a lot of new faces playing linebacker and it's been a little unusual year that way."
Alvin said, after the Adam Trautman had his big catch, you went to him and said, okay, now go in. I guess it kind of all worked out. Just like, you drew it up, right?
"Yes, these games unfold differently. Sometimes, It's just hard, going in on a short week to try to envision how the game is going to unfold. But I thought we blocked them well, up front, we got enough stops defensively and then the rest of it took care of itself. But it was good win."
How important was this, when given you stopped the losing streak, and it wasn't just a skin of your teeth, you guys won by a pretty significant margin?
"They're all important. Here's the thing is, there are only 16 regular season games. So they are all of the same value and the postseason, it's not a best of seven. It's just one game at a time, and you have to win. Yes, to your point, though, look, we've gotten on a run there with nine wins in a row, and had two difficult games where we didn't play maybe as well, we played a really good team last week, it was good to get back in and kind of get it turned around in the win column. We knew going in obviously, that we just needed a win, to get the division and but there's more at stake. I think it's important, we're playing well, this time of the year."
Is there a temptation to get away for like, at what point do you have to say, look, it's work and just run it right at them? Let's just keep running it or is that maybe the game plan for the start?
"Just statistically and analytically. We wanted to on first down, try to establish the line of scrimmage, you can never predict the success you may or may not have in a given game. As the game is unfolding, and you pay attention to all of it and we had some play action passes mixed in, a few drop backs, we really didn't have a lot of third downs. It was one of those CFL games where we were converting basically getting first downs on first and second down and generally speaking, when you're doing that you can have a really good game. When you can keep your punter on the sideline for the whole game. I told Thomas (Morestead) sorry. But you're doing some things well, and part of it is just how the game was unfolding. Again, I say this man has been a lot of injuries on Minnesota's front. (Mike) Zimmer, I know real well, they're, one of the better defenses, better coached defenses and they have a lot of a lot of guys out and that can be difficult."
With those injuries, was this a game where you guys really look to use shifts and motions and stuff to get them moving a little bit? It seemed kind of effective on some of those rounds especially early.
"No, it wasn't because of injuries it was a little bit more because of some other things. You can force the nose tackle to be the three and you can force the three to be the nose, but it had nothing to do really with their depth."
Sean, how this game would kind of set up with the injuries that Minnesota had and your ability to be able to run the ball or are you able as a play caller to kind of protect Drew Brees who's coming back from an injury a little bit more?
"I said this in the production meeting. I felt we were fairly healthy defensively. They were fairly healthy offensively a couple players maybe each, but flipside, their defense had gone through a lot of injuries and our offense we were without two starting guards and three receivers and so when it came to that part of the game you're going to have to look at your program and go to the third column but to your question. Yes, we wanted to try to attack maybe where the young players were playing in both in the run and the passing game but we thought running the ball was going to be important. I thought we blocked him well James Hurst made his first started guard for us all year. We were without Andrus (Peat) Of course, without Nick Easton. Without a number of guys. It helps you control the game when you're able to do that."