ESPN's Mike Triplett noted New Orleans was a 13.5-point favorite at the Caesars Sportsbook, the highest spread for a losing team so far in 2019.
Brees said the loss was "not us" and that "we're better than that."
Payton was more blunt with his assessment: "We didn't play well enough to win today—really against anybody. I mean, you pick a situation, and there's a good chance they won that situation. ... This has always been a game played with emotion, and I thought they outplayed us. They outplayed us, they outcoached us, and they deserved to win."
Payton's comments weren't wide of the mark.
While the Falcons only gained 317 yards, they ran for 143 yards as a team, which allowed them to possess the ball for 33:46 and keep New Orleans' offense off the field.
The Saints went 3-of-12 on third down and 0-of-3 on fourth down. They also committed 12 penalties that totaled 90 yards and came away with six points on three trips into the red zone.
As frustrating as Sunday's loss was, the Saints still have a two-game lead over the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South, and they have winnable games against the Panthers, Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before a highly anticipated clash with the 8-0 San Francisco 49ers in Week 14.