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What the Cardinals had to say about Saints game

Coach Bruce Arians, QB Carson Palmer among those who met with the media

Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians' opening statement:

"Obviously, not the outcome we were looking for – way too many big plays defensively. I thought the one thing that hurt us defensively was them running the football, slowing down our pass rush, trying to stop the run and gave Drew (Brees) a lot of time on his bootlegs and stuff, which hurt us. He caught us in a couple blitzes and he had way too much time. The rest of the time, they do a great job of getting it out of his hand quick and he is one of the smartest guys going, but we needed to get more pressure on him. I'm extremely pleased with the offensive line. I thought they did a great job, especially going down the stretch. Carson (Palmer) was lights out. I think you have to acknowledge anyone that does something for the first time in the history of the NFL. That's very unique. I'm very happy for David (Johnson). I'm very proud of him. As far as our team, it's a team loss. We didn't do it as a team. To lose after scoring 41 is tough, but you need 48 and that's what we needed. We needed to get the onside kick and we didn't get it done."

On whether there was much thought to having Patrick Peterson cover Brandin Cooks:

"He was a lot. In the second half, he was a bunch."

On whether the Saints did anything offensively that he didn't expect:

"No. They did their normal stuff. They ran the ball better than I thought they would against our front."

On not experiencing success at home this season:

"Yeah, and to lose all close games. Those are the ones we've always won, and I thought when we closed this one down and got it tied that we'd go out and get them stopped. Obviously, it was a big call, but we didn't get them stopped in critical times, and defensively, that's what we have to be to be a great football team."

On how challenging it was to overcome special teams mistakes:

"Well, offsides was huge because you just line up. You just don't line up in the neutral zone, especially when you're an All-Pro player. Make sure, guys are supposed to check it, and the extra point didn't affect the ballgame. It was a seven-point game the way it turned out. It's disappointing, but giving them that touchdown when we had them stopped, that was huge."

On what his message was to his team after the game:

"That's between me and my guys."

On whether David Johnson being lined up more at receiver was because the team was short on healthy receivers:

"Well, we were missing a receiver, and David's one of our best three. It never hurts to give Kerwynn (Williams) the ball and we had him designed for the passes, the run checks, and they ended up double covering David a few times, so Kerwynn popped a couple runs. We tried to get as many of our explosive guys out on the field – Andre (Ellington) in a third down package and David where he could get out in space and catch some balls."

On how the Cardinals secondary played and whether they could have played better or whether there was not enough pass rush:

"I think some of both, you know? Better coverage, tighter coverage. But the deeper balls, the ones that ran away from us, were a lack of pass rush."

On whether the penalty late in the fourth quarter was a tough call for his team:

"Very tough. Game-changing."

On how Calais Campbell was playing in the first half:

"He was very big in the first half, and I wish he did another big play in the second half, but it just didn't happen."

On the referee's explanation on the fourth quarter penalty:

"That somebody hit the quarterback in the head."

On what about his team surprises him the most at this point in the season:

"Not being able to close out close games, you know? That was one of our trademarks, and it just hasn't happened for us this year. We'll go back and we've got two to finish and hopefully we can close those out and go back and reevaluate those exact same things because so many of them were close ballgames."

On whether he's surprised that his defense hasn't been able to close out games:

"Yes, we're too talented not to."

On whether he foresaw such a high scoring game:

"Not at all. Not with the guys we had playing. I'm extremely proud of the guys in the offensive line and shocked that we gave up that many points."

On whether he's surprised by David Johnson's production week after week this season:

"I was on the sidelines saying, 'Man, I've got to get David the ball.' Just to win this game, but to also get him his yardage, because if he's getting yards, we're winning. But, I never thought he had it today."

On whether he expected Brees to have such a good performance after having struggled the last few weeks:

"Well, yeah. I mean, we got the sack-fumble and turnover for a touchdown. We had our hands on the ball down there on the 3-yard line and that would've been a big one. So, he gave us an opportunity once or twice."

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer

On if he expected the team to score so many points considering their personnel losses:

"Yeah that's what we expected to do. First and foremost, we expect to come in and get a win and we weren't able to do that. But, I thought up front was spectacular. The way those guys played playing different positions; we've been through a number of tackles, we've been through position changes up front. The pocket was great all night. We did some really good things in the run game. We've lost a number of guys but we continue to fight and we'll continue to fight for the next two weeks."

On if he expected a game that was so back and forth in the second half:

"We expect it a little bit. That's a very good offense with a great quarterback, great play caller, a lot of weapons, very good offensive line. You don't expect to come in and play the field position game and kick field goals. You have to come in and score touchdowns, and they outlasted us."

On if it surprises him the struggles the team has had at home this season:

"Totally. Completely surprised; it's been a long season. It's been a tough season. But, it's pretty cool to get to go to Seattle on Christmas Eve and fight for a win there. It's obviously a great team, it's a division opponent, and it's a lot of fun to play in that atmosphere, as it is for opponents to come in here and play in this atmosphere. We'll get to work on Seattle this week."

On what the team's mindset is now knowing they won't make the playoffs:

"Just find a way to win. Like I said, it's surprising to be in the position we're in. But, like I said, to go to Seattle against one of the better teams in the NFC and one of the better teams in the league and get out of there with a win would be about as good a feeling as we could have at this point right now."

On if he's glad Seattle is playing for a bye:

"Are they? Yeah, regardless that team is always ready to play. That's a great coaching staff, great organization; they'll be ready to play whether they're playing for something or not. We'll get their best shot."

On David Johnson becoming the first player in the NFL history to have 14 straight 100-yard games to start a season:

"Yeah, as impressive as a stat as that is, I kind of expect it. He's that good of a player. In the backfield, outside, running routes, he's spectacular as you guys have all seen this year and last year, and why not go for 16?"

On if despite the team's record should David Johnson be in the MVP conversation:

"Absolutely. I think he's, if not the best, one of the best players in this game. There's obviously an argument for a lot of teams. Typically that award goes to the team with the better record or the player that has the better record, but there's no doubt that he's one of a kind."

On if he knows for sure that he will play football next year:

"I haven't even thought about that. But, I expect to. I'd like to."

On if there was any lingering effect of Michael Floyd being released this week:

"No. We have some young guys, but we're a veteran team to know how to handle that, and I think we handled it the right way. Obviously, you lose a friend, a teammate, to a situation like that, it's difficult. But, I think we got over it fast because we have good leaders and good vets in our room."


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