Kelly: "No, I mean I thought our defense did a really good job in the second half, and the kickoff obviously hurt, giving them a start to get over the 50, and that it made it a short field. You were just trying to get 15, 20 yards to put yourself into field goal range. I thought after we scored, if we could pin them down deep and then get a start, I thought we had a shot at it."
Were you able to tell what happened on that kickoff return at the end?
Kelly: "I know it bounced out to their sideline so I couldn't exactly tell you, but we didn't get enough depth on it. We didn't hit the ball very well on kickoffs all day. The ball obviously in this weather wasn't really traveling very far."
What do you say to your team after a loss like this that ends this season?
Kelly: "I just told them I was proud of them, and for us being together for such a short amount of time, how they acted and how they came to work every single day, as a staff how much we appreciated them, how they made this from a work environment standpoint, a really special feeling every single day when you go to the Novacare Complex and just thanked them for that."
Why did take so long to get
Kelly: "Yeah, we had some things called early, and their rush got to us a little bit, took a couple sacks. It was one of those deals. We tried the first couple of plays at the beginning of the second half were trying to get the ball to him, but we took sacks again and didn't get the ball out in time."
Were they doing anything special coverage wise?
Kelly: "No, they played a little bit more zone than they had coming in, but I'll give credit to Rob Ryan. Rob did a nice job. They had a really good game plan."
Their running game had a pretty good night. What did you see?
Kelly: "Yeah, and I thought their backs ran extremely hard. They were running downhill. If you told me going in we were going to hold Jimmy Graham to three catches, I think that's what he had, I thought that would be a pretty good deal. But give them credit, they did a really good job of running the football against us which was a little bit uncharacteristic of us. We've done a pretty good job of that all year long."
When you look at the scope of the season and obviously some of the things that have happened, where is your confidence in
Kelly: "We'll address that moving forward. We're not playing a game tomorrow."
You guys actually won the turnover battle and lost the game. That might be the first time this year.
Kelly: "We did a good job of protecting the ball but we didn't do a very good job offensively of capitalizing off of their turnovers. We had the one where Fletcher got down in there and then we got the 1st down and then screen pass went backwards, then we got a sack and took us out of there. Part of the turnover thing as I've talked about before is if our defense does create them we need to do something with them offensively, and we didn't capitalize offensively the way we need to when our defense creates turnovers like that."
What were the Saints doing to bottle up
Kelly: "They were just doing a good job of getting off of blocks and making plays. There were some times that it could have probably been locked up a little bit cleaner, but there were some other times where it looked like there were some things there. We're trying to get him going. We know we're a run team. I don't know what he finished with carries wise, but I thought we could get him moving a little bit better, but they did a better job than us in executing from that phase."
How much do you think
Kelly: "I didn't sense any of that from him personally. I think there's some plays everybody wants back, but I didn't sense that there was anything from him on the sideline that he was affected by the moment."
He made a lot of smart decisions all season long. A couple of the sacks that he took, the intentional grounding, did they kind of surprise you? It seemed out of character.
Kelly: "Yeah, I just think we didn't play well enough to win, and that's on all of us. I've got to put him in better position calling plays, and I think that's something that all of us when we go out of here there will be a lot of plays as a play caller and as a person executing them you're going to probably all want back."
Not many people expected the season to turn out the way it did. I know it's difficult with the loss, but can you reflect on what you did, taking a 4‑12 team, turning it around, winning the NFC East and getting a field goal away from reaching the second round?
Kelly: "You're probably right that it's probably a little too soon for that. I thought we were going to be a good team when I met these guys for the first time because I know how hard they worked and how hard they wanted to invest in this and then I watched it firsthand them come to work every day and really invest in this whole process. It's just disappointing right now. But I don't think us winning the division or getting to the playoffs was a surprise to us. I just think everybody is really disappointed that we're not moving forward."
You're big on points off of turnovers. Can you talk about the second quarter sequence that ended with the missed field goal by Henery and had the Nick Foles sack in there, what you saw?
Kelly: "Yeah, we didn't execute well enough to ‑‑ we need to come away with seven instead of three to begin with, and we ended up trying to kick a field goal, and I don't even know how long that was. 48. It's the same thing. I think they did a better job than us at executing in those situations, and their red zone defense was better than our red zone offense."
Any thought of kicking the field goal rather than going for it on 4th down in that sequence you were just talking about back at the start of the second quarter, you went for it on 4th down.
Kelly: "No, because it was close. The 4th down that we got? I thought we should have got it on 3rd down, so maybe it was a reaction of if we're going to win this football game, it's the same feeling I had in the Vikings game, we've got to be able to gain a half a yard, and we did, but we had a screen that went backwards and then took a sack that pushed us way back. Those are things that we talk about but we didn't do a good enough job in executing."
Is there a number that you had as far as pregame kicks, what he could do?
Kelly: "Yeah, we talk about that in every game."
What was that number?
Kelly: "We felt like inside of 50 he would have been okay because that's what he kicked in warm‑ups. So could we get the ball to the 30, which ended up being a 40‑yard field goal, 48‑yard field goal."
On that sack would you like Nick to throw it away in that situation?
Kelly: "Yeah, I don't know what was going on in his mind. I don't know where the coverage was and those things. But obviously we'd rather be back to the line of scrimmage if we can in those situations. He knows it. We talked about it when he came off after that drive."
When you look at certain plays that you weren't able to get, does the one catch that
Kelly: "Could have been, but we didn't lose this football game because we had a drop in the third quarter. I think we all contributed to it. You can go through every play and look at it and say, if we did this or did that there may have been just a block we missed here or a cut we missed there, and it's the same thing. But obviously that was something that's uncharacteristic. I thought Riley made some really big catches for us today, too."
Saints had 20 of their 26 points in the second half. Do you attribute that to Brees just kind of regaining his form?
Kelly: "No, it was a combination of a couple things. I thought, again, they ran the ball really well, which I thought especially with Thomas being out was a little bit different. You got a little bit more of Ingram, but I thought Ingram, first time I've really seen him in person, did a really good job. I think both of us kind of got our feet underneath us a little bit in the second half. We got a chance to go down there and score and take the lead, but we couldn't stop them."
Do you think the weather was affecting the quarterbacks at all?
Kelly: "I think a little bit. I don't think the ball traveled, whether from a kick standpoint or throwing standpoint just because of the cold. It's always the same for both, so it's not an excuse. Drew dealt with the same thing that Nick dealt with."
What were you able to do defensively against Graham?
Kelly: "I thought Billy had a good game plan going in, in terms of trying to take him out of things, but I'll give Sean and Drew credit that I think they realized that and went to some different things. You still have to defend the whole field."