On whether it was the Kool-Aid or Gatorade; Sweats or Popeye’s:
BREES: Or the beef and mac. I don’t know. Choose any one of the four, but obviously something worked. Obviously, it was a great team win. We came in with a lot of confidence, feeling like we matched up well with these guys, feeling like if we just executed the plan that we would be successful. Defense played fantastic all game long. We had some injuries there towards the end of the game, but still held on strong. Offensively, we were able to run the ball very effectively. Once we got past those two turnovers in the first half, we started rolling and scored those two touchdowns to come out in the second half to really set the tone and obviously go down and get the game winner when we had to. Specials teams came up with some big plays, [RB Darren] Sproles with the big return at the end, four field goals by [K] Shayne Graham. It was just really a complete team effort.
On being the 6th team in NFL history to win a road playoff game with a -2 turnover differential, and if the message at halftime was that the team made all the mistakes that they were going to make:
BREES: Yeah, a couple penalties that kind of got us out of rhythm or prevented us from converting and sustaining drives, and obviously with two interceptions. I think we realized at halftime that we were going to be able to run the football but the way they were playing us was they were trying to keep everything in front so take what they give us and just sustain drives and go down and put points on the board. We were able to do that with those first two drives and ended up getting some plays in the passing game eventually. I think it kind of opened up once we started really pounding the ball on the ground. It was a little bit of everything tonight, but obviously the second half was kind of a big push after seeing what they were doing and learning a lot in the first half.
On how nice it is to have someone like Shayne Graham, a 15-year veteran, who he can really trust:
BREES: Obviously, he’s played a lot of football; he’s made a lot of big kicks. I love his preparation throughout the week, just his mindset. Obviously, he came up big today. Man, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. Kicking the three field goals to put us in position and then at the end just knocking through the game winner like he’s been there before. It was fantastic.
On the satisfying win after fighting back and showing resolve against the backdrop of conversation before the game (the cold weather, being a dome team, etc.):
BREES: Well, as much as we hate hearing that talk, we kind of brought it upon ourselves. We lost the last three games on the road, really hadn’t played all that well. So to put together a team victory like this on the road in a hostile environment, weather conditions, whatever. Listen, it’s the playoffs. We came in with confidence. Like I said, we had a great week of preparation. We knew what we had to do to come in and get a victory. It was not free of errors or mistakes. We made our fair share of them, but at the end of the day, we just want to put ourselves in a position to win, which we did and we did that.
On what this win means for Sean Payton given what happened last year:
BREES: It’s a new team, it’s a new year. It really doesn’t matter what happened last year or any years previous to that. We do have some guys that have been a part of this program for a long time. We also have a lot of young guys that have no idea what happened here in the past. So we’re not living off the glory or the mistakes or what have you of the past. We’re all about the here and now and being in this moment and we’ve got a great team. I hope that we are peaking at the right time. We still can play better. We still can clean up a few things that happened out there today, the turnovers, the penalties and such. At the end of the day, when you have a chance to win, you have to step up and make plays, and that happened today. It’s happened all season. Hopefully we can continue that.
On the memory of the vibe postgame in Seattle this season when they took their humbling loss and said they wanted to be back there:
BREES: Obviously, we did not play our best football that night. We got beat pretty soundly by those guys. There’s a reason they’re the one seed. There’s a reason that the road to the championship goes through Seattle because they’re a heck of a football team. They know how to win, they know how to win at home. So we know the challenge that presents us to travel to Seattle and go there and play. I think just stepping into that environment on Monday Night Football and we know what to expect. We were there in the playoffs in 2010, so we’ve played there in some big atmospheres. We were there Sunday Night Football in 2007, so it seems like every time we’re there it’s a primetime game. Having another crack at them, obviously I look forward to this week of preparation. I look forward to the plan that we’re going to put together. They’re a great football team. We’re going to need our best effort to beat these guys, but if there’s a team that can do it I believe that’s us.
On if he spoke to
BREES: I did a little bit. I just let him know what a great season he had. What he accomplished this year as a first-year starter is nothing short of phenomenal. I guess I except nothing less from an Austin, TX, West Lake guy. Here I am sitting back, I was 10 years previous to him at West Lake. To watch the road that he’s traveled going to Michigan State, transferring to Arizona, having a great career there, and getting drafted here last year, playing a little last year, playing very well, and obviously this year doing what he did. It’s really phenomenal. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. I’m a big fan of his. I love the way he plays. That offense is great for him. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of him.
On whether the Austin, TX, connection with Nick Foles factored into the game:
BREES: No. Of course you can ask questions and I’m happy to answer them. I think he’s a tremendous young man. I think he deserves all the credit that has been thrown his way this year and will continue to be thrown this off-season. He seems like a very humble, respectful guy that is not going to let that influence him at all as far as his work ethic and his desire to get better and be one of the best. Obviously, after this first year you can say that he has a very bright future.
On whether he is surprised that they are using RB Khiry Robinson and RB Mark Ingram this late in the season as the next man up:
BREES: Yeah. We thought [RB] Pierre [Thomas] was going to be okay and obviously he wasn’t able to play, so [RB] Mark [Ingram] and [RB] Khiry [Robinson] did a phenomenal job tonight. Sproles did a great job when he was called upon. Obviously that kick return at the end of the game was huge and we could draw a penalty off of that. In many ways, it is that next man up penalty, especially for the running back position because we rotate those guys in so much. They all know that they have a very specific role. They’re all very dynamic, they can all do a lot of things, but I think they all know their number is going to be called and they have to be ready. They certainly all contributed tonight.
On whether he is going to have to go to the running backs meetings soon with this offense:
BREES: I don’t constitute 1-yard quarterback sneaks as a heavy rushing attack by the quarterback. Whatever it takes to get first downs. Keep your eyes alive.
On what he spoke to Saints owner Tom Benson about after the game tonight:
BREES: Yeah, I’m really happy for Mr. B. Obviously, being the first road playoff win in Saints history. It’s nice when you can continue to accomplish first or do those types of things that makes it even more satisfying, gratifying, especially for an owner like Mr. Benson who has owned the team for 25-plus years, been through a lot. There’s no better owner as far as just putting us in every position possible to succeed. We know how much he cares about the team. He cares about our players and our coaches and it’s great to get this one for him.