This is going to hurt you much more than it's going to hurt me. Sorry I had to do this.
"When (Bush) goes out of the game, it's a big blow to what they have, because he's a big playmaker for them," said Carolina receiver Muhsin Muhammad. "But this is a team sport, and we had one of our huge playmakers (receiver Steve Smith, suspended first two games) go out early in the season, too, and we had to go on the road and beat San Diego and come home and play a tough Chicago team. I don't think that's something they want to say was the cause of their loss today, but obviously, he does pose a big threat when he's on the field on special teams, and of course, on offense, too."
"They made adjustments. They're a well-coached football team with good players, and they're not going to let you run around the edge all day long," Brees said. "Then, it's a chess match from there. We tried to run the ball inside, outside, throw it short, down the field. We tried to keep them off balance, but unfortunately, today it kind of worked the other way around."
"You can't turn the ball over, and you can't mis-execute. Period," he said. "You're going to get your butt beat, no matter who you're playing, Carolina or anybody else. ... We've got to find a way to not do that and start putting together some wins."
"I don't like that analogy," said Deuce McAllister, one of the few Saints who dished out more punishment than he took on Sunday. "We can be a physical team. ... As a running back myself, offensive line that's personal to us."
"We knew it was going to be on us," Panthers linebacker Jon Beason said. "We decided we were going to dictate to them what is going to happen today and that's what happened."
"We got a couple of batted balls and kept (Brees) from throwing check-downs," defensive tackle Damione Lewis said. "We kept a hand in his face. That made him have to go deeper a lot more, kept him from checkdowns and forced him to the tight ends. I think we did a good job getting after him up front and getting hands in his face."
"Whether it's physical or finesse teams, if we take care of the ball you've got a different ballgame,"
"Everybody has their own opinion," McAllister said. "If that's what they want to label it as, then that's fine, too."
"The film is out there, everyone is going to see it, and it's embarrassing," Shockey said during an emotional 15-minute rant about his frustration with his nagging injury. "Because I have a reputation that I want to uphold, I'm going to play hard. I play hard. But the matter of the fact is that it's hard when you're doing it on one leg.
"My worst enemy is myself, because I'd rather have it on my shoulders than anybody else's. But the reality is we've got two great tight ends behind me."
"I wasn't productive, so they pulled me from the game and got a guy in there that was able to make plays today," said Colston, who was critical of himself for two dropped passes. "Through the week I thought I was ready. In pregame I thought I was ready. Then I got out on the field and just wasn't able to make the plays that I normally make. Unfortunately, I ended up hurting the team in the process."
"I think they got us out of rhythm," Brees said, pointing out the way the Panthers brought good pressure up front and jumped in front of passing routes to make him check down to his second and third options. "It was calculated on their part."
"Today it would have taken more than one play here, one play there," Brees said. "But certainly we feel like we're a much better team than the footprint we left out there today. That's not us. We're not the type of team that should be getting beat 30-7."
"I'm just so disappointed in myself that I'm making plays and everything, but (expletive), I'm just not healthy. I've got a bug that sucks, and what can you do but fight through it?"
"Really, that's one we've got to lick our wounds after, and it's a tough one to have to jump on a long flight after, because we didn't play real well," Saints Coach Sean Payton said, spreading the blame to the defense and special teams, too. "We've got to, in a short period of time, get acclimated and get ready to play another good team."
"You have to use that flight to get your anger out," fullback Mike Karney said. "Get it out of your system."
"There was not a lot of good today," Payton said after the game. "I thought we got beat in every area. Give credit to Carolina because they did a good job. But we turned the ball over and allowed big plays, all the things that keep you from winning games.
"It's a tough one to have to jump on a long flight after because we didn't play real well," he said. "We didn't play well in the kicking game, we didn't play well offensively or defensively. We're disappointed."
"At halftime, I felt like we were right there," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "(The deficit) is just one touchdown, and we take the lead. We started off (the second half) with the ball. So at that point, I felt very good."
"He's a freak athlete, so nothing surprises me with him," Brees said. "You always have to be ready on the pass rush, or when they're pressuring and he is dropping back into space. He's as good an athlete as anybody in space, so you just have to know where he is and have to have a plan for him."Certainly, we had some opportunities that we didn't capitalize on. But in the end, we gave them two turnovers inside our own territory that they turned into touchdowns. That will get you beat every time."
"I think, honestly, we hardly made any mistakes offensively compared to that debacle that we had last week down in Tampa,"
"You have that nasty taste in your mouth until you play another game," Harris said. "We still thought about it, because we were pretty much embarrassed last week. So we had to come out and do something about it."
"That's a big turning point in the game," Brees said. "I put that on myself."
-Drew Brees, on his interception
"I don't think it's a statement game," Smith said. "It's just another game that we get to put in the win column, and the closer and closer we get to 10, the easier and easier it gets and we can relax and start looking at games in January and February."
To have a division team coming to your house -- and as high-powered as they are -- and as well planned as they are -- and directed by a quarterback that's arguably playing as one of the best QBs in the league -- it's a heck of a challenge -- and I like the way our guys responded,"
"I thought we got beat in every area," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "We turned the ball over, we allowed the big plays, all the things that keep you from winning games...It's a frustrating loss beings that it's a division game."
"The hardest thing for us is when we’ve had some type of success in the past we don’t go out there and play as well as we do when our back is against the wall," said cornerback Ken Lucas. "But we were like a wounded dog this week and when you back a wounded dog into the corner, he has a choice to either get wounded some more or fight his way out of the corner. I think we did a good job of fighting today."
"We call it eating," said middle linebacker Jon Beason. "Don’t feel like you are full. Just go out there and play like it is your last (game), and at that point, it doesn’t even matter what the offense does. We are excited to go out there and do it again. It just became fun at that point."
"We were going to dictate to them what was going to happen today," Beason said. "We are going to get a couple of plays, a little momentum, and just feed off of it. And that’s what we kept saying, ‘Let’s finish them; don’t give them anything.’ Even when they hit us with big plays, and it’s easy for momentum to shift, we stepped right back up and stopped them."
"Not really, and maybe this is wrong, but I expect it.
"I expect him to get open every play and he knows that. If I didn’t feel that way towards him, he’d be upset. I expect him to be that good. He is in the prime of his career. He’s strong, explosive and fast. He’s a stud. That’s a saying I heard from a coach a long time ago, ‘You got a stud, you feed him.’ That is what I try to do."-Jake Delhomme, on Steve Smith
"We played such an awful game last week," Delhomme said. "It stared with the quarterback play and went from there. We didn’t play good football, so we needed to come out and play better football than we did last week. It’s a divisional opponent and a huge win, but we needed to come back and play good football. We got after it pretty good in practice this week. You could just tell we had that edge. I was hoping we’d play well, and we did."
"That’s the one thing that came from watching the film – they get a lot of big plays from a lot of people, so we wanted to be aggressive and throw the timing off and not give them enough time to let wide receivers run down the field free,"
"We wanted to take them out of their rhythm,"
"I’ve seen him play well, but I have not seen him take over a game like that," said second-year middle linebacker Jon Beason said after Carolina's 30-7 win over New Orleans. "I don’t know what the numbers are, and I really don’t care what the numbers are, but I know for a fact he was out there playing with everything he had on every play."
-Jon Beason, on Julius Peppers
"I’m way on the other side of the formation," Beason said. "He just basically manhandled his guy, shot the gap, came all the way down the line and hit the guy in front of me. I was screaming, ‘I see you, Pep! I see you!’ and he had this big smile on his face. He was just a fiery guy all day. He was just getting after it. We were talking on the sidelines and it was great."
"Julius makes his presence known every week," said coach John Fox. "Some weeks it’s more evident because teams are throwing it more and opening it up a little bit. Julius has played outstanding in his career here and as far as this season, I think he’s been very good."
"Me and Jake had a big, huge talk this weekend – just me and him," Smith said. "[It was] really just the lack of focus that I’ve had. I haven’t been consistent as far as keeping my focus. So this game was the opportunity to really get back in there."
"He has a soft side," wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad said of Smith Sunday. "It’s been a pleasure to watch him mature as a person."
"Something had to give today," said cornerback Ken Lucas, who had that third-quarter interception. "All week long, there was talk about New Orleans’ offense. We didn’t want Brees to come out here and have another big game.
They’ve made a lot of big plays and have some quick people. But we can run, too."
"I was out there watching (Peppers)," said Beason. "I shouldn’t be watching, but I was taking notes. As a fan, it was great to see him go out there and take the game over. That sparked us."
"You can’t turn the ball over and you can’t mis-execute, period,"
"We tried to run the ball inside, outside, tried to throw it short and down the field," said Brees. "We tried to keep them off balance but unfortunately it kind of worked the other way around."
"Fourth and inches, it’s all about pride and guts," said Beason. "It’s all about who gets down there and dirty."
"I didn't think it would be a game like this, (but) I knew we would play better because we were so poor last week," said quarterback Jake Delhomme, who dissected the Saints for 195 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-22 passing, finishing the game with a passer rating of 122.3. "Usually when you get embarrassed like we did last week you are going to come back and fight -- and we did."
"We still had to get out there and get after it, but I'm not going to lie to you -- it was a big relief," said cornerback Dante Wesley. "It felt great to see No. 16 (Lance Moore) back there rather than No. 25. But we worked hard all week, and we've got to continue to work hard."
"That came down to physical fortitude," said defensive tackle Damione Lewis. "Those guys came off the ball and we had to get our pads up under them and get low."
"It was just a speed rush," Peppers said. "I was lucky to get there."
-Julius Peppers, on his sack
"That's one way to have success against this offense, is to pressure the quarterback," Peppers said, "because a lot of the stuff depends on timing and a lot of quick stuff, so when you get pressure and try to disrupt those passing lanes, then you've got a better chance at making some plays and containing him."
"It was everybody," Peppers said. "Everybody came ready to work today, focused on the task at hand."
"There's still a lot of things we can do to get better all across the board," left guard Travelle Wharton said. "We're not even there yet."