NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Head Coach Sean Payton
(opening statement) "Obviously, a hard-fought win. Two really good football teams. I felt, situationally, the game was going to be back and forth. Third-down, red zone area, I thought we did a real good job on the kicking game creating good field position. There were so many different elements to the game that were running through my mind."
(on his thoughts on the missed extra point) "You're talking about one of the top kickers, and I don't think he's ever missed an extra point—ever. So, it's funny sometimes how this game is. It was a significant play."
(on quarterback Drew Brees' play today) "I thought he played well. I thought the plan going in, he executed it very well. There was a certain element to patience, a certain element to running the ball, time of possession, how we wanted to approach third down. Defensively, I thought we handled third down well. We have to work on our last two minutes of the half and game. There's a lot of things I thought we did well on the road that I was pleased with."
(on being aggressive) "There's a plan that you want to take, and it's not with reckless abandon. It's with a confidence approach. I felt like, on the fourth down call in the red area, I felt like we had the first down on [Mark] Ingram's third and a yard run. We hadn't obviously, and, in hindsight, I would kick the field goal. My mind was prepared that we had gotten the first down, but we wanted to come in and play that way. We didn't think it would be a high-scoring game and points would be a premium and field position would be more of a premium. We wanted to play as much as we could on their half of the 50 [yard line]."
(on whether there was any thought of kicking a field goal with five minutes left in the game) "Those third-and-one-half and fourth-and-one-half-yards are tough on me to concede. That's the honest truth. It's tough for me. Drew [Brees] has been successful with that. We knew we would get a heavy front. We always remind the side judge to watch the ball, and he got a good spot, and right away, he was able to see. You're talking about six inches, but, yeah, all that runs through your mind. Even when they commit the personal foul, you're constantly thinking about more points. If you take a penalty like that, you're going from the two to the one. So, all that goes through my mind. Sometimes too much."
(on what it is like watching quarterback Drew Brees from the sideline) "The last game we played, it was so much going into it. Look, it's a significant benchmark. And yet, you're in the middle of the game, so you're not really paying attention to it. I think more importantly it's the final team that he needed to beat in his career. And we hadn't beaten them in the time that we've been here together. John [Harbaugh] has done a great job. That team has been a real salty team and a tough team, and they've been a hard team to beat. But I think he [Brees] would value that as much."
(on the 20-play opening drive and not scoring) "At that point, disappointed. Wind was a little bit of a factor at the start. But I felt time of possession was a key number for us. We talked about it. It's something they've done very well. If we look at their games, they've done a really good job of playing complimentary football. And we were able to get that this evening. I thought the third down plan of going to the line of scrimmage early would slow up some of their pressure. Ben Watson converted; there were just a lot of different plays, but, obviously there was an up and down emotion to a 20-play drive. Our final emotion would be disappointment, frustration."
(on what a win like this would do) "We've always been able to play from behind. We play well on the road. This will be one of our better road wins. And, yet, we'll watch the film tomorrow and feel that it shouldn't have come down to a missed extra point. That's just how we are, particularly as coaches. But it was a good win."
(on coming into the road game) "We weren't going to go through what we just saw last week in Tennessee. I know that was the plan. We weren't going to drop back and get sacked 11 times. We were going to be smart with the running game. You have to feel that three-and-one-half yards is a good play. Clearly, we had a lot of rushing attempts, and we won the rushing battle. I thought we ran the ball good against that front."
(on whether composure is something he learned about his team) "I think you build that throughout the course of the season. It's generally done with demonstrated achievements in series, and we begin to play the next one a little bit better. And, hopefully, we can."
(on whether this was Drew Brees' most physically punishing game) "There's an old saying, 'It doesn't have to be aesthetically pleasing to be effective.' I think he was spot on today. We had a lot of different nuances in this plan I can't tell you. Just the hours and lack of sleep. It was spot on with how we went about the execution and having to deal with mixed substitutions, a lot of different personnel groupings, and a lot of things we thought were going to be important. He got us into the right play. We had a few run looks that were tough, and he got us out of the wrong play. The tempo was good. We had one delay, but it was a really good game by him. I thought we did a good job overall in blocking. We let [Terrell] Suggs loose on a long play action. That was on me, probably. We had an early pressure, and we tried to create tempo with the passing game to offset some of that pressure."
(on whether he believes they need breaks sometimes) "The whole game of football is like 'Holy cow.' You create opportunities. I think if you came into that game and watched it and looked at the stat line, you would say 'Hey, we deserved to win that game.'" At least the one I watched."
(on Drew Brees avoiding sacks) "It was a heck of a play he made. It was an unblocked rusher. He [Brees] has exceptional feet. He's a real good foot athlete. That's something that's served him very well, and a big part of his athleticism is that adjustment and ability to slide a little bit."
(on use of quarterback Taysom Hill) "The very first wrinkle was that lead balloon—that little option play. But he made some big plays. He had a toss, and he kept the ball. Look, he does so many different things. He's a football player. When his game is over with, and it's a grass field, [his uniform] is dirty."
(on inactive players) "Listen, we can't feel sorry for ourselves. John [Harbaugh] had the same issues. He had two linemen out, and we had two out. So, no one is really interested in who these other jersey numbers are. We just have to think about what we're calling and what we're doing when they're in there. I thought those guys – Baltimore – that. And we had to do that as well. That was one of those unique games where you're looking closely at linemen six and seven. Lineman seven for us tonight wasn't on the roster four days ago."
(on the Ravens' last touchdown by wide receiver John Brown) "It was Cover-2, and we let a guy out of the hole. It was bad football."
QB Drew Brees
(on his 500th career touchdown pass) "Obviously, it's a significant milestone, but I am more focused on winning, and the stats will come. I will forever be grateful to those teams that gave me the chance to play with such good coaches and great teammates. One of the greatest things about the 500th touchdown pass, it was caught by one of my favorite teammates of all time. I couldn't think of a better guy to catch this touchdown than Ben Watson. He is a terrific veteran, and I look up to him."
(on getting the Ravens "Monkey" off his back) "I am really glad, obviously. We only get to play them every four years or so. But, they've had some tremendous defensive teams in the past. Guys like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Adalius Thomas, Peter Boulware and Haloti Ngata. Those guys are household names in the NFL."
(on what winning a game like this on the road means to the team) "The more battle-tested you are, the better. Winning a game like this on the road does well to build this team's character. I think there is something special about this team. We are very young in some areas, but we also have some veterans who have played a lot of games and won a lot of games."
(on what it means to go for it on fourth down as much as the Saints did) "It shows that our coach believes in us and has a lot of confidence in us. It also makes us feel like we are playing to win."
(on Ravens Justin Tucker's extra missed point) "When they scored, I knew they had one of the greatest kickers of all time on their team. I automatically was thinking about overtime and what we were going to do. I was very, very surprised when he missed. But, I've been on the other side of games like that, when my team loses by a missed extra point. So, it was nice to be on the winning side for a change."
(on the Saints game opening drive of 20 plays) "Even though we didn't score off of that drive, that set the tone. We went for a few fourth downs and converted them. As much as we would have loved to get points out of that, it established our offense and kept their offense off the field."
(on facing the Ravens blitzes) "They had some elaborate blitzes prepared for us. They were ready with some new stuff. We were fortunate to beat the blitz a few times, for positive yards. You know what they say about 'live by the blitz, you can also die by the blitz.'"
(on the Saints' fourth-quarter comeback) "I can't say enough about our team. We were down 10 points, and we showed composure. The veterans didn't panic, and we got the job done. This is a great win for our team."
TE Benjamin Watson
(on beating the Ravens here in Baltimore) "That was a crazy game, but winning on the road, in this hostile environment, is a big win for us. This builds confidence. We respect the Ravens, and we knew this would be a tough game."
(on catching Drew Brees' 500th touchdown pass) "Anything I can do to further his records, the happier I am. You never know how a game is going to go, you just have to be ready for anything. I was thrilled to catch the 500th touchdown pass, but this is the kind of guy Drew Brees is. He wanted me to keep the ball, and said 'I am not keeping this.' So, he did take it."
(on the Saints going for a first down on a fourth down as much as they did) "That's who our coach, Sean Payton, is. We were playing a very good opponent on the road, and he likes to take chances. It builds our confidence and turned out well for us."
(on the missed extra point) "We were excited when he missed that. He is a great, great kicker. When I was playing in Baltimore, I know he won plenty of games for us. We respect him a great deal."
K Wil Lutz
(on winning this game) "It's nice to come back here. The Ravens are the guys that gave me a chance. It's not easy to play here, and this is a huge win for us, and we're on cloud nine."
(on the missed extra point) "Justin [Tucker] is a guy who would never miss an extra point. I will say, the conditions out there were pretty brutal, especially in the first half. I told Sean [Payton], I could try anything with the wind at my back, up to 50 yards. But everyone knows, Justin [Tucker] is one of the best kickers of all time, and it was just a tough day at the office for him."
RB Alvin Kamara
(on the Saints' rushing game) "I thought we did a good job. How many yards did we get today? I don't know the answer myself, but we got enough, and we got the 'W.'"
(on his touchdown run) "It was a nasty run, and a lot of them were today. The O-line handled its business up front, and I burrowed right behind them and got in there."
(on the four fourth-down attempts on the first drive) "We just talked about being aggressive, and [head coach] Sean [Payton] dialed it up aggressively. We just fed off the energy. Four fourth-down conversions, that's kind of like, odd. But, hey, that's the way we play. We wanted to impose our will."
RB Alvin Kamara/RB Mark Ingram II
(on Saints' offense versus Ravens' defense) Kamara: "We won, so I really don't care. It is what it is. I think we're the best offense. I don't know about their defense, but they're pretty good." Ingram: "That is a really good defense over there, no doubt about it. Great front, great coaching, really tough. Probably the best one we've faced all year."
(on the Ravens' missed extra point) Ingram: "When [Ravens' K Justin Tucker] missed it, I thought, 'Let's get up and get out of here.' I mean, that guy is good, so I was shocked." Kamara: "Yeah man, let's go. It's cool. Let's get up and get out of here as fast as we can before they change their minds."
(on QB Drew Brees) Ingram: "Yeah, that's why he's the G.O.A.T. He's a Hall of Famer for a reason." Kamara: "I almost want to be like, 'Don't ask me any more questions about Drew. We all know Drew is amazing.' But like Mark [Ingram] said, he's a special player. He makes special plays, and he does it every game. There's nothing that surprises us anymore; nothing we don't expect."
(on facing the Ravens' defensive front) Ingram: "We knew it was going to be dirty. We knew we were going to have some dirty runs. They have a great front. We just stayed with it. We were able to get that going in the fourth quarter, gash them a couple times. We knew it was going to be a dirty game, and we just kept wearing on them, wearing on them. We just moved the ball, maintained our composure, time of possession, converted on third down and made the plays we were supposed to to get the 'W.'" Kamara: "Can't wait to get back to New Orleans and celebrate this one. It's a big win against a great defense in a tough game in a tough environment."
(on the Saints' offensive live) Ingram: "They played great. They held their own against a great front. The big hogs in front of us did their job. They did the dirty work."
(on the resiliency of the Saints' offense) Kamara: "We always talk about competing. It's not over until zeroes are on the clock. We know we can move the ball fast and score points fast, so we don't get up on ourselves when we're ahead and down on ourselves when we're behind." Ingram: "It's all about the next play. Each play has a life of its own, and no matter what happens on that play, we move onto the next one. We're some savages, man, and we go for it. We don't care what the circumstances are. The point is, we're going to try to get the 'W' no matter what it takes, no matter what we have to do."
(on if they were aware that the Ravens' defense had not given up a second half touchdown) Kamara: "We were aware of all of that." Ingram: "We were aware they were 13-0 when leading at the half. Now they're 13-1." Kamara: "Yeah, when they're up at the half, they don't lose, but not no more. But, we don't really get into that too much. We just play our game. That's a good team, though." Ingram: "That's a really good team. Good team, good coaching. They don't take anything from anybody. Really good program, and it's a great win for us."
(on the Saints' ability to come back) Kamara: "We just focus on us. We're not focused on the scoreboard, not on the other team and what they're doing. We just focus on us, what we have to do to be successful. When we get down, it doesn't really matter. We're playing to win, and when we get down, we just lock back in and focus on what we've got to do to get it going. Everybody on this team has the same mentality. We just have to do the things we set out to do to be successful."
G Larry Warford
(on QB Drew Brees' performance today) "Drew [Brees] is absolutely unbelievable. One of the greatest competitors in the game, and he never gives up. When we need him, he always comes up with a big play. Even despite all the pressure, he was able to get it done today in key situations. It's a blessing to have him leading the team."
(on Brees never having beaten the Ravens) "He doesn't get caught up in that kind of stuff ever. It's like some kind of mysticism. All he cares about is next team up, and all the focus he puts on them, not on numbers, not on personal accolades. He's out here just trying to win a game, execute our gameplan, and we all did it."
WR Michael Thomas
(on the reaction to the missed extra point ) "The good guys won. The game played out like it did, and we fought to the end against a great opponent. I'm just happy to help Drew [Brees] get that victory; for [Jermon] Bushrod too. It's a strong brotherhood, and we are just trying to win games."
(on it being a hard-fought game) "We knew what we were up against. We knew their defense was strong. We knew in order for us to win that we had to eliminate the mistakes and execute at a high level and get off to a fast start; all the things coach [Sean Payton] preached to us all week. We did that, we got the victory and that's what happened."
(on his third-down catch with 1:24 left in the 3rd Qtr.) "It was uncharacteristic of me today, having a couple drops. I had to respond for my team. They know they don't expect thirteen to be on the field, getting thrown the ball and dropping it. They expect me to move the chains. You practice what you preach. I had to fight down hard, respond and make some plays."
(on his touchdown catch) "Jimmy [Smith] is a great competitor. We were competing all day. I just executed on it; running a great route. Drew [Brees] had trust in me and I made a play for my teammates."
DE Alex Okafor
(on the winning effort) "It was ugly; a back-and-forth affair. There were mistakes on both sides of the ball. To come on the road against a good team like the Ravens, that's all we can ask for. I don't care how it unfolded. As long as you get the win, that's all that matters. All week, we talked about how the more physical team was going to win. I think we showed today that we were the more physical team. That's what it came down to."
(on the comeback effort) "We've been down before and nobody panicked. We knew we were in striking distance. We just knew on defense, personally, we had to get a few stops. We couldn't come back without a few stops and that's what we got. You get a couple stops and our offense is capable at any time of striking, and that's what happened."
(on the front seven effort) "Coming in, we said, 'We have to stop the run,' and that was our main priority. After we stop the run, we can start getting after them. I thought we did fairly well against the run. They hit us a couple of times early, but we tightened up in the end. As far as the pass rush is concerned, we weren't getting the hits we wanted but we were getting consistent pressure. That's something you have to see on film. When we did have the opportunity, we converted, and we're happy about that."
DE Cameron Jordan
(on the week's preparation to get a road win) "We've been preaching all week about how aggressive we needed to be, not only on defense but also on offense with them, going up against what was ranked the number one defense in the NFL. We knew we were going to be aggressive. I didn't know we would make that many fourth-down efforts. I loved it, especially how successful we were at running them. When you come down to it, not every game is going to be a clean win, but we'll take every win we can get."
(on why he loved the aggressive play calling) "The Ravens offense tries to play some bully ball; it's fast paced. The defense is full of bullies, and they're arrogant. It was going to be a hell of a battle, and we were ready for the war."
(on winning the game after trailing by ten) "I think we played a phenomenal first half. We set out and accomplished all the goals we wanted to, except for the last 45 seconds of the half. We started the second half renewed, re-energized and got the ball back to our offense. From that point, we clearly won. A win is a win."
(on whether the missed extra point was a break for the team) "I don't know. When you say 'break,' I feel like there was a random penalty, which restarted that drive and maybe would of stopped the touchdown [drive]. But ok, breaks are breaks; your word, not mine. It's the NFL. You've got to play all four quarters all the way through. You can't take a play off. You didn't see that one coming."
QB Taysom Hill
(on the win) "Getting a road win is not easy in the NFL. We were playing to win a football game, not to just come in and hope for the best. That's Coach [Sean] Payton's history. He's put personnel and coaches around him that have the same mentality, which creates opportunities for us as players. We capitalized on some and missed on a few. Ultimately, we got the win."
(on the missed extra point) "We know what a good kicker [Justin Tucker] is. We were trying to make something happen, get some penetration, because we had gotten some before earlier in the game. I was just as shocked as everyone else to see him miss. I know his history and that never happened. I didn't see it until the ball was past the uprights. We just started celebrating. It was a good feeling."