Payton takes blame for Saintsí mistakes after 16-14 win over Bucs
The Saints courageously attempted a fourth-down from the 1-yard line just before the first-half ended instead of going for a field goal. However, the Saints returned to the locker room empty handed after running back Mark Ingram’s futile attempt.
Payton refused to blame his players for the misfire and instead admitted that he “did a poor job of really giving our guys the best opportunity”. However, Ingram was at the end of some partial criticism, after he was pushed back for a loss on second-and-goal and accounted for only eight rushes for 20 yards during the entire game.
“He had some good runs in that game,” Payton said. “I think the balance and the mix of the players we have is going to be important for us, especially at the running back position. The fourth-down call, we ended up getting an over front, a different defense than we were expecting.
“It was one that, however it was called on the field, if it was called a score or it wasn't going to be overturned. They spotted it short, and it wasn't going to be overturned, either. He (Ingram), like the rest of us, is working to improve in his game. There's some looks though that I know we are going to be better at that are going to help him.”
Saints right tackle Zach Strief went back through the drive after his team tried to play-action on first-and-goal, but tight end Jimmy Graham wasn’t up to the job.
“They covered it well. We came back, ran the flip. That play, it's an outside play. It's kind of a deception play and obviously we didn't make the play at the end there to get in,” Strief said. “... I think that play gave a real hard look to (center Brian de la Puente); that really tilted nose (tackle) that didn't quite get over there. It was a good call, a call we really liked in the huddle.”
Strief also admitted that the Buccaneers were tactically more impressive than the Saints. The Bucs, who set up 10 men on the fourth-down play, completely surprised the Saints with the absence of a goal-line formation.
“They came out in an over front. That kind of mucks up the blocking scheme a little bit,” Strief said. “At the end of the day, that play has to get in.
“I know Mark says, 'I've got to get through that guy.' It's kind of one-on-one on the goal line. Look, it's a team deal. There's no finger pointing around here. We all take accountability for when it's on us. You look at it and you say, 'These are reasons why we didn't get in.' It's not any one guy, but it can't happen. I know that.”