What Matt Rhule Said Following Sunday's Loss to Saints

Panthers head coach talks about what went wrong in the teams three point loss
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Opening Statement

"Obviously disappointed with the result. Great football game back and forth. Had a chance to win it and as happens both for you and against you, you have to make one more play in the fourth quarter and we were not able to make that play at the very end. I thought the second half our defense held them to six points, I think it was six points, gave us a chance to win the game. Just couldn’t quite make it happen. Credit to them. Obviously, they are a great football team. Drew Brees was great at quarterback as he is. I thought (Alvin) Kamara played a great game."

Q: What went into the decision to attempt a 65-yard field goal versus letting the offense try to convert on fourth down?

"It was fourth-and-17. We don’t have a lot of those calls we feel good about. He’s made it from there. We went into the game saying, hey, 47-yard line. 47-yard line, we felt he would have a chance. Our odds with fourth-and-17 we felt like were less than that. Obviously, it was not ideal. We had the ball down at the 35 and took that sack. Obviously, that sack was a fatal blow there. That’s why."

Q: On the third down sack, if Teddy Bridgewater could have gotten rid of the ball

"We can’t take a sack there no matter who it is. Whether it’s the offensive line, the receivers, whatever, we just can’t take a sack. That’s the only thing that couldn’t have happen there was that. Regardless of what happens, Teddy can’t take that sack, the offensive line can’t allow that sack, it just can’t happen."

Q: Has Joey Slye hit anything longer than a 60-yard field goal in pregame?

"No, I don’t watch it in pregame to that degree. (Special teams coordinator) Chase (Blackburn) had the number at 47. Again, we shouldn’t even be back there. We can’t take the sack. So when we get back there it’s what’s the best available odds. We punt it down there, we are going to get the ball back with 15 seconds. We go for it on fourth-and-17, I don’t know about those odds. And we kick a field goal, even if it is 30-40%, typically third-and-10 plus is about 25% so even if its 30%. I thought he hit it and came up whatever four or five yards short."

Q: Thoughts while watching Joey Slye’s 65-yard field goal attempt and did you think he was going to make it as it was happening?

"I don’t remember. I was just watching it. I was hoping for him, hoping that we had good protection. We had struggled with protection earlier. He hit it and I try to not overreact. I just watch it and see what happens. We missed it. I thought we might have a chance to get the ball back with 5-7 seconds left and who knows what could happen."

Q: What made the Saints difficult to stop on third down?

"They did a great job of converting some third and longs. (Alvin) Kamara made it tough. They won verse man to man. I think in the first half they were 6-of-6 on third down and 3-of-3 in the red zone. So, areas that we pride ourselves on. I think when you play Drew Brees you have to know he is going to be efficient. He was efficient. We didn’t make the plays or call the plays. Just a team effort on our end to get them off the field."

Q: Eli Apple playing a lot of snaps and if he saw anything from Troy Pride Jr. and how the cornerbacks played without Rasul Douglas

"I thought they played fine. I have to watch the tape to see more. We tried to play Eli (Apple) and at one point he went down and then came back up. Nothing beyond just rotating them and feeling like he was going to play well and getting him into the game."

Q: What was the level of difficulty getting the running game going?

"I don’t think we had a lot of plays. I don’t know how many total plays we had in the game. It just felt like one of those games based upon the way they were playing, based upon the way our guys were playing it was going to be plays through the air. Felt like it was one of those games it was going to be, hey, throw it and then mix in the runs. Thought Mike (Davis) played well. We hit him on a couple passes. He made guys miss. Just felt like one of those, hey, let’s throw the ball. Obviously, we had the big play to DJ [Moore] which was a quick drive. Nothing particular about the run game other than we are kind of one of those hey, get the lead and then run the football type teams. More pass first. Obviously, couldn’t quite get the lead, we were always kind of chasing from behind."

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