Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
"Obviously, this was an important game. I thought our defense was magnificent. When I say that, with the injuries we have had, there are six or seven starters out of that defensive group. I thought they played well. I thought it was the difference in the game. They handled the short field when there was one and put us in good field position. They came up with some key stops down there on the one-yard line. Offensively, we did enough. Same thing in the kicking game. I think the kicking game went well. I thought Tommylee (Lewis) played well just in some (of) the coverage opportunities, punt-wise, and protecting field position. Good team win."
On securing a spot in the playoffs:
"That's kind of further down the road right now. We're looking at how to win this division. It sounds like we're close to it. We are going to have to enjoy these next 24-48 hours with the holidays here, but then we are going to get refocused like we do and get ready to play another football game. It was a good win though. Obviously, we know that Atlanta's a good football team. We knew going in that it was going to be a battle."
On Marshon Lattimore's "butt interception":
"That was a little bit like that Super Bowl play where (the ball) just kind of rolled around on a body. That happens every once in a while. Fortunately, it didn't hit the ground so it was a good call."
On crowd noise:
"I think the crowd noise was significant. It was fantastic. I always get a little angry when we start talk to the crowd via the scoreboard. Don't talk to 72,000 people. They're listening. For a noon start time, I thought the crowd made a significant difference and that was good."
On the offensive line:
"They have battled through some injuries. You have seen Ryan Ramczyk start the season over on the left side, then move back over to the right side. Zach (Strief) got hurt and Terron (Armstead) got healthy. Andrus (Peat) played some left tackle. That guy has moved around to a lot of spots. Ultimately, the acquisition of (Ryan) Ramczyk with that second first-round pick was huge. It was significant. We're able to start our front-line group today. We had to make a change with Terron Armstead, so when you're in a little bit of flex like that it's good to see that you still have your balance and don't have to change things. Credit to those guys. I know if you asked the running backs, they would feel the same way."
On having far less penalties this week compared to previous week:
"Any time you're playing in a hard-fought divisional game, you want to make sure that your emotions are in check. Let's keep with our routine and keep to our routine. Let's not worry about things we can't control now. Let's practice it during the week. We made a point of taking some situations and really working on them, certain fouls. We did a study on where we are and where the fouls are coming from. Outside of that, I thought we played with really good emotion. Defensively, I thought we tackled well and we had good pressure. We had some big plays offensively. We weren't consistent enough in the second half."
On the interception and the touchdown in the last two minutes of the first half:
"I thought that was a big swing. That was a huge swing for them to be in a position to get points before the half and then for us to all the sudden be in the two-minute drill. We hit the big play. We had seen something the last time we played them on film. We wanted to get the look and it was perfect. Every once in a while there's something you put together. The staff did a great job. we got the look we wanted. Drew (Brees) and Ted (Ginn, Jr.) executed."
On if he hopes the Falcons win next week:
"I haven't gotten that far, really. I'm just proud of our guys to be able to play the way they did with a handful of guys injured. That was one thing. There are a lot of things, as a coach, that you concern yourself with. Some you can control. Some you can't. We've had a number of guys banged up and the next guy has done well. It's been two linebackers, a safety, a corner, a defensive end, defensive tackle, tight end, offensive line, and a fullback. All these guys are offensive starters and yet this group has battled. That's a testament to their work ethic."