- Mike Triplett, ESPN Staff Writer
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METAIRIE, La. -- With a pending matchup against the Carolina Panthers and their coach, "Riverboat Ron" Rivera, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was asked Friday about what goes into his decisions to either be aggressive or show restraint during games.
Although Payton said there is plenty of research done on various situations that might come up during a game, he said many decisions are based on how a specific game is playing out at the time. And while giving one of those specific examples, Payton shed light on an interesting turning point from Monday night's 34-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Saints had finally started to gain momentum of their own with their first touchdown in the second quarter and trailed 17-7 with 7:54 remaining in the first half, with the Seahawks' offense facing a third-and-3 from its own 23-yard line.
Payton decided to call a timeout to stop the clock at that moment, since the Saints had the wind at their back, and he said he wanted to "make the half longer." During that timeout, Payton also said he was the one who suggested to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan that the Saints should go with an all-out blitz to keep the pressure mounting on Seattle.
Unfortunately for the Saints, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson burned that eight-man blitz with a beautiful 52-yard deep ball to receiver Doug Baldwin over the top of safety Malcolm Jenkins -- arguably the Seahawks' biggest offensive play of the game, considering the circumstances.
"[Some of those decisions are made] if you feel like maybe you need to shift the momentum," Payton explained. "It was a third-down situation where, hey, we max-blitzed, because I felt that it was an important stop. Now, they converted and made the play to their slot receiver, and it was a big play for them. But there was a case where watching as that game was unfolding, me just talking to Rob, saying, 'Hey, let's come after them right here. Because I think [if] we can get the ball back right here, we could follow up the drive we just had.'
"So there's some risk there, and obviously you credit the team you are playing for making the play. But I think a lot of it is how that game is unfolding."