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Calling Gregg Williams.
Saints coach Sean Payton stood up on the lectern and wouldn’t answer the question.
Can you discuss the defensive breakdown at the end of the game?
“The game went back and forth on offense, defense and the kicking game.”
After you had the three-point lead, you had a lot of guys up front and not deep.
“We were in two or three different—two deep, single safety. Typically, you’re trying to not show one consistent look. There were two different drives, really. There was the first one and then the one at the end. The key was we’re protecting a field goal, really, not a touchdown.
They’ve got a really good kicker who’s kicking from that 30, 35-yard line. So we tried to mix things up.”
James Varney of the Times Picayune newspaper in New Orleans brought up the key point:
“It seemed surprising that, in the final minutes, the Saints did not drop more defenders into coverage to deal with Davis. Instead, New Orleans massed rushers at the line, and that left Davis in thin one-on-one coverage. The Saints made [safety Malcolm] Jenkins the prime defender on Davis when [Roman] Harper's sore ankle slowed him early and the collision between Harper and Jenkins in the first quarter injured Harper's quad."
Coach Sean Payton said the Saints' schemes in the end were less odd than they appeared. ”We were in two or three different coverages: two deep, single safety, so typically you're trying to not show just one consistent look," he said. "There were two different drives, though. The key was we were protecting a field goal, really, not a touchdown. If you sit in prevent, all of a sudden they've got a real good kicker who all of a sudden is kicking from the 30-, 35-yard line. So you try to mix things up."
In retrospect, the Niners have only two players capable of breaking big plays—Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. Having them doubled while rushing four would seem to have been the best scenario for the Saints.
“That is not our style of defense. We don’t play prevent, we have never played it, and nothing is new. Nothing has changed, so we live by the blitz, we die by the blitz,” said Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins.