Sean Payton Postgame after Saints rout the Cincinnati Bengals

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton talks to the media after the New Orleans Saints defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 51-14

Initial Comments ...

“I thought we did a lot of things well today. I thought the time of possession was significant. We talked about getting off to a fast start — I thought we did that. It was a good win against I think a good team on the road. They’re a little nicked up right now, and so we are, but I was proud of how we played.”

What are your thoughts on the offense in the first half, with five touchdowns?

“I’m sure when we see the tape, we’re going to see some things that we need to clean up. But overall, I thought the third-down numbers were real good. All in all, we’ll look at it and get on to the next game. It was an important road win.”

The offensive line has been great all year, and they really seemed to dominate today ...

“We had the balance that we were looking for. I felt like that the run and the pass complemented each other, and I also thought it complemented what we were doing defensively. The third down numbers on defense were great; we were able to get off the field. So, all in all it was a pretty solid game.”

Some of the players made Dez Bryant’s “X” celebration today. Just how much was he appreciated by his teammates?

“Well look, two days is not a lot of time, and yet there’s a lot of respect. It’s always difficult when you see an injury like that happen, and as unusual as it was. More than anything, I’m sure it’s out of respect.”

It had to be nice to see Mark Ingram going over 150 yards from scrimmage today ...

“I thought we ran the ball well. Our first and second down numbers were good, so therefore we didn’t have as many third down attempts, but overall it was good to see him run.”

How encouraging was it to have the big win a week ago and then have it carry over on the road?

“My concern this week was that really we’ve been playing these late-start times in the evenings, in the late afternoon. This was the first time we’ve played the early game in six weeks, and so just focus all week on our thoughts and being ready to play early — that was my concern of coming on the road. Fortunately, we were able to do that and kept the momentum going.”

Your defense had two turnovers today. What are your thoughts on their overall performance?

“Those were big. Obviously with the third down numbers, we had some really good timely pressure, with either a pressure call or just a rush. But we made those plays when we needed them. And the turnovers, obviously, are significant. We were smart with the ball. We only had, I think, one penalty. That was encouraging.”

You always try to reach the perfect game. Was this as close to a perfect game as you can get?

“No, this wasn’t. This was a good game, but it wasn’t the perfect game. There were a lot of things early on. We dropped some coverages early, left some guys open in ‘man’ schemes, the QB got hit at the end of the half there. Look, I’m sure there will be a lot of things that we like, but there will be a number of things we need to clean up.”

When you make the decision to go from Drew (Brees) to Teddy (Bridgewater), when did you start feeling that change? It seemed like it could have been earlier to put Teddy in ...

“One thing that’s not understood is when someone says, ‘Let’s get all the backups in,’ (do they) ever take a look at the sideline? Forty-six (players active) — just do the math. You have one backup lineman, there’s a backup tight end, a couple running backs, quarterback. So there’s more to it than that, and we felt it was the right time to make that switch. Defensively, we did the same thing in a number of positions and we also did the same thing on offense. It’s a little more challenging just because of the roster. Obviously, when you’re at 46 (active players), which is too small if you’re asking me on game day, but it is what it is and you’ve got to deal with it.”

This was the sixth time this year that the opening drive went for a touchdown. Does starting fast like that set you up for the rest of the game?

“You hope so. You want to start fast. We felt this was an important game. We’re always looking to try and come out and play our best football, recognizing that there are times where it may not happen on the first drive. But it did today.”

Losing Dez Bryant when you did, did it affect your game plan today?

“No, it didn’t. Our plan was really to work and develop and bring him up to speed over a period of time, and it wasn’t any time soon. Kirk (WR Keith Kirkwood) was coming up this week regardless and will be up next week as well.”

Do you think you will need to address that position because of the injuries?

“I think we’ll see where we’re at, but we feel really comfortable with the experience we’ve got and the depth we have. Certainly you lose Cam Meredith, but Tommylee (Lewis) is coming back soon, Teddy Ginn’s coming back soon. So we’ll see.”

Are you surprised the game went as smoothly as it did?

“Honestly, in our league — and I say this in a very humble way — there’s nothing that surprises you. Sometimes you think your team is ready, and you get out and you don’t start like you want to. And then there are other games that concern you a lot, and all of a sudden you jump out to an early lead. So, there really aren’t a lot of surprises.”

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