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Quotes: Head Coach Sean Payton

Posted Jan 4, 2014

Opening Remarks:

PAYTON: Obviously a big win for us. I thought our guys played hard tonight. Couple of those turnovers kind of kept them in the game. You look at some of these numbers; total yardage 256 to 430, rushing yards 80 to 180. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage and really controlled, for the most part, third downs, 6 of 12 versus 3 of 12. And that is a good football team. We thought going in we were going to have to play really well. I thought we eliminated on defense, for the most part, the big plays. They hit a few, they are very talented but I thought our guys responded really well. It went back and forth. At half time it was 7 to 6 and we just felt like we offensively really bit our own foot, short yardage situations ended up being significant. Obviously [K] Shayne [Graham] played well. Special teams, I thought, played very well in the end. We needed to cover a kick we did and we needed a return at the end. [PR] Darren [Sproles] brought us out to mid field with the penalty, which was significant. So it was a good win and we get ready now for next week, any questions.

 

On their experience as a team and how that factored into the game and the back and forth:

PAYTON: I don’t know. I would be willing to say we are probably a younger team based on the roster. I think we had some key guys step up in leadership positions but we had 6 undrafted free agents on this roster from this year’s class so I think though there was a little bit of resolve. I think our players felt coming in here tonight that there was no way we were going to leave without winning this game. That’s easy to say but I think the work week preparation, the way these guys handled traveling. It was kind of a short week because we played on a Saturday after a Sunday game so you are skipping a day. But to their credit they did a great job of fighting, like you said when all of a sudden the momentum kind of swung as it does often. So obviously we think a lot of the team we played. We studied a lot of film and they’ve had a fantastic season so we have a lot of respect for them and we just ended up being the better team tonight.

 

On how gratifying tonight’s win is after not being allowed to coach last year:

PAYTON: It was fine. Next question.

 

On the fact that this may be the most rushing yards the Saints have had in a playoff game and where did that come from tonight:

PAYTON: Just paying attention to the line of scrimmage. I thought our guys up front got off the ball. I thought the backs did well. We had 32 rushes for 5.5 so obviously we blocked them and the backs ran with good pad level.

 

On how much was that game plan going in or did he see it was working well throughout the game:

PAYTON: Well we wanted to have balance. I thought the weather ended up being pretty good, considering. There was really no wind at all hardly and so with no precipitation and no wind. I know some guys were taking some layers off pregame. I thought the footing was good, we wore the right shoes. Once we felt like we were pushing them we just wanted to be consistent with that. We set up some big plays and big play action to [WR] Robert [Meachem]. We had one to [WR] Ben [Watson], a number of big plays that were important.

 

On how satisfying it is to win especially after all the narrative this week about the weather and dome teams and prove it wrong:

PAYTON: I said at the beginning of the week we made light of a few things, what really is going to matter is the result. And that is really the truth. As far as the history of the organization, like I told those players you carry your history. So I get it, we understand that and that’s that stereotype, sometimes it comes with a team that plays inside and we can’t change that. We kind of like the environment we play in and we traveled pretty well tonight.

 

On the performance of [K] Shayne Graham:

PAYTON: I thought it was obviously exceptional. It was fantastic in a big spot. Every kick he hit was clean and obviously in a playoff football game those things matter.

 

On whether or not he talked with [QB] Drew [Brees] at halftime:

PAYTON: I think our message defensively was keep it going you’re doing a great job. Offensively it was that we just shot ourselves in the foot. And that isn’t taking away anything from Philadelphia but we had the penalty short yardage situation, we had a couple turnovers. We felt really good about being at 7-6 considering the first half. Our guys I think felt a lot of resolve at halftime.

 

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

PAYTON: Well it was two or three messages, we kind of went through the offense, the defense, the special teams. We kind of read statistically the numbers, they get excited about that. We talked about the contribution of the kicking game late and how much that played a part of our win. We talked about really reflecting on this past week, and handing the noise, the distractions and being able to put that in perspective. I thought they did a good job of that. We obviously have a big challenge ahead of us this upcoming week. We talked about the schedule, talked about Mr. Benson, giving him a game ball and there is no better place to win a road game. This is one of the real good places to win a road game, this town.

 

On his thoughts on having good practice for next week:

PAYTON: Absolutely. We are enjoying this one tonight now, the drive out will be nice.

 

On his thoughts on [RB] Khiry Robinson and his first playoff game:

PAYTON: A lot of firsts for him. I was proud of how he finished. I thought the ball security was never in doubt, it was strong. He is powerful for a guy that was at a tryout camp basically and even after having him we almost didn’t bring him back to training camp and obviously he has progressed and down a great job. It was a big night for him.

 

On how big were Robinson’s and [RB Mark] Ingram’s performances especially coming down to the wire and controlling the clock:

PAYTON: Timeouts were helpful. Ingram had 99 rushing yards. Robinson was 6 for 36, just a lot of great efforts individually and then obviously up front. We felt like we pushed them pretty good. We didn’t get a lot of pressure. We got a lot of down safety looks defensively, but we didn’t get a lot of blitz looks. They did a pretty good job in handling [TE] Jimmy Graham in the passing game. They obviously had a pretty good plan, probably earlier in the game we had a quite a big of three man rush. So they had a pretty good plan of taking away some of things we’d like to do. I thought our guys adapted pretty well.

 

On whether he had any temptation to put [RCB] Keenan [Lewis] back in, was it about protocol:

PAYTON: No. And there is no such thing. It was just the doctors and that’s the right thing.

 

On having some other games like this and was nice to flip the script:

PAYTON: Well we finished and look we’ve had some tough losses, one of the things we talked about was our record during the season and strength of schedule, who we played during the year. With 11 wins and the division we played in and really the non-divisional games we played in. We played some good football teams in San Francisco and Carolina twice and Seattle, keep going. We thought that that was something that was significant and we’ve had some wins that maybe we could have easily lost, Tampa Bay on the road could have went the other way. Obviously New England was a tough game, that could have went either way and it didn’t. But just bouncing back from those things real quick.

 

On if there is a special pride coming in here and rushing for almost 200 yards, it’s not what people expect:

PAYTON: I think it is some point when you get to win a game like that, it’s kind of broken down to the essence of the line of scrimmage of football and your will to keep pushing and get the first down. Those guys fought hard and again we played a good team. That line of scrimmage was the difference I think.

 

On how sweet step number one is for his team right now, even though they do have a long way to go:

PAYTON: Well it means you get to keep playing. You get to keep playing and put off all the things of what everyone else has to do. You get to keep playing. We will get another itinerary, we will print one up. The week will be a little different and kind of get on to the next one. But listen, there is nothing like it, there is nothing like winning.

 

On his thoughts of how his young team responded this season:

PAYTON: I thought with each game you gain experience. With the injuries we’ve had, and we’ve had a number of them. With all the other stuff, including last year, we are sitting here with 12 wins and I am extremely proud of them.

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