QUARTERBACK DREW BREES
That touchdown pass to Jared Cook, I think was the first time you threw to him all game, what does that say about him just staying focused and locked in and being ready when the moment was called?
"Yeah, absolutely. No it just, it just kind of played out that way. You know, he was part of the progression quite a few times, but just wasn't able to get a ball prior to that. And listen, big moment in the game, obviously needed. That touchdown ended up tying the game, it brought us back from 17 points down to tie it up. And obviously, we felt like, we were going to go win the game at that point, but 3rd and 15 or 16 I think too. And, it played some nice coverage. And he's really kind of on a clear out route, but just kind of had my eyes on him in my periphery and felt like they were flat-footed and he could get by him. And it was great for him to get by him and get that big play."
This is only the second win of your career in a game, you were trailing by 17 points. The other one was against the Dolphins in 2009. Were you aware of that?
"Yeah, but 2011, 49ers playoffs, should have won that one, we were down 17, came back. Playoff game against Minnesota, down 17, Minneapolis miracle, should have won that one. So, I know there's this exact number of 17. But I'm sure if we clumped in like the thirteens, fourteens, fifteens, you know, there'd be quite a bit more. But no, I mean, listen, bottom line is we were not playing Saints football in the first half, you know. We were, we missed a lot of opportunities. We were bad on third and short situations that would have sustained drives. You know, we made some mistakes in the kicking game that, you know, pro long drives for them. And just, you know, obviously had a turnover that gave them seven points. At the end of the day, we're down 20-3. And we made a bunch of mistakes a bunch of self-inflicted wounds. And I think, second half came out and man, really dialed in, execution, both in the passing game and the run game. (The) Defense came up with some big stops. And obviously, we just scratched and clawed our way back."
With this potentially being the last time that you may play your former team, how does it feel for you to go undefeated against that team?
"Listen, man, I've got great memories from my Charger days, you know, 2001 to 2005, played with some pretty amazing teammates and coaches and obviously that fan base. It's a shame they're not in San Diego anymore. I'll say that one more time. But no, obviously, all those games have been significant, '08, '12,'16 and then 2020. I've really had some great games against them. Every single one of them has come down to the final drive in the game. So, that's significant."
After coming back from 14-0 last week and 20-3 this week, I suppose you could go glass half full or glass half empty? What is your take on this team as you head into the bye at 3-2? Is this an underachieving team? Or do you feel good about where you guys are after those two wins?
"I'd say there is always room for improvement. We obviously want to start faster, we definitely want to start faster. And understand again, what wins and loses football games. And I'd say the first half, there were too many mistakes that get you beat. Too many mistakes that get you beat. We shouldn't, shouldn't have had to mount the comeback we had to mount in order to win this game. But at the end of the day, these are growing experiences, these are learning experiences. We do have some guys that are continuing to grow and develop into certain roles. I'm really encouraged, by the way that (Marquez) Callaway played tonight, special teams and on offense, he did a phenomenal job. I know there's some guys on defense and special teams doing the same thing as well. So at the end of day, man, we're still growing and to have wins like this, you know, where you really have to fight to win, just like we did last week to overcome that 14 point deficit. Tonight, to overcome that 17 point deficit. These are, this is how you grow as a team. This is how you become battle tested. And I think it pays dividends as you move along here."
That Taysom (Hill) touchdown to tie it up even later, like 50 seconds or something left in regulation. How big was that for him, especially since the game didn't necessarily start the best for him personally?
"No, he had a great game all the way around. It was a big play. Obviously, it shows the confidence that we have in him, that Sean (Payton) has in him, put him in a critical third down. And he kind of had a run pass option and made a great decision, got in the endzone and tied the game."
We've been talking for like the whole season about Emmanuel Sanders and how he's going to fit in this offense and everything. How is your connection right now? It seems like he's kind of been your go to guy lately.
"Yeah, listen, he's, he's a weapon, he can do a lot of things. He's a savvy football player, he's played a lot of football. He understands the game, you know, he understands so many things about how to run, how to run certain routes, how to get separation when the ball is coming. Obviously, we've been able to spend a lot of time together. I think we didn't really get an offseason together, we didn't get preseason games. So, you get into the season. And obviously, Mike (Thomas) goes down. And then it's, you're just kind of trying to find your rhythm and your timing with not just him, but with everybody. And I think, obviously, here we are week five, but I think you've seen over the last two weeks, just how that's progressed. And what a huge part of this offense he can be."
How disappointing was the situation with Mike Thomas and as a leader of the team, do you feel the need to maybe address it with him one on one?
"I've spoken with Mike (Thomas). Mike (Thomas) and I talk a lot, both in person and in the locker room, through text message. We're always communicating. And so, at the end of the day, Mike is a big part of this team. And he is going to be a big part of this team moving forward. We had an incident, and Sean (Payton) addressed it. And many of the leaders have spoken with Mike (Thomas) as well. And we're going to be all good."
What do you think was the toughest thing to be able to find rhythm early on in the game? It seemed like before that two minute drive before the half, it seemed like things were just kind of sputtering off of that, do you kind of relish winning in that type of way, just personally having to grind it out?
"Yeah, listen, these are growth experiences. I mean, it's certainly nice if you could just go out and score a bunch of points in the first half and then just cruise to victory. But as we know, in this league, man, you've got to fight it out to the very end. And this is the way most games you know, finish, with the final possession. Now, most games, you don't get in a 20-3 hole based on just mistakes and not playing really great football in all three phases for the first half of the game. But again, these are the, these are the tests though, that I do feel like, they really bring a team together. And give you confidence and give you momentum and really kind of shape you. And certainly give you confidence moving forward in the future. Because we're going to have plenty of games that are coming down to the end. And we know if we can put ourselves in a position to win that we know how to do that."
It seems like we asked you about Alvin (Kamara) every week. But what did you kind of see on that catch, he made on the sideline on that next to last drive?
"That was a great catch. I just felt one on one, and put it up and give him an opportunity. And obviously he jumped up and made a great play."