It was a heartbreaking defeat but coach Sean Payton insists the Saints have left the memory in the past.
On Sunday Night Football vs. the Vikings (4-2), the Saints (5-1) return to the scene of one of the most difficult losses in franchise history.
Marcus Williams’ missed tackle led to a 61-yard touchdown reception from Stefon Diggs as time expired, resulting in a 29-24 Saints loss at the Vikings in the NFC Divisional round.
However, Payton insists the Saints aren’t carrying a grudge into the critical contest between NFC division leaders.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 22, 2018
In a teleconference, Payton said “the revenge factor might be one of the most over-,” before pausing according to NOLA.com.
Payton added about last season’s playoff matchup that it was “a hard-fought game with a tough finish to it. … It wasn’t like there was bad blood when the game was over or anything like that. Two teams fought hard and made a play at the end that ended up costing us the game, but there were a lot of things that cost us the game, and so I think the focus will be on this year’s Vikings and this year’s Saints team rather than the fact that we just finished playing them last year.”
The last second blunder by Williams on Diggs has been much scrutinized but Payton points to plenty of other miscues that resulted in the defeat, such as not registering a first down that would have allowed the Saints to run off enough time for Wil Lutz to kick a potential winning field goal as time expired.
Trailing 17-0 at halftime also put the Saints into a hole to expend energy to climb out of.
The 2018 Saints have rallied for three comebacks this season, mostly recently in a thrilling victory at the Ravens.
— Chris Banjo (@Chris1Banjo) October 22, 2018
“That was a whole different team a year ago and a whole different game,” Payton said to NOLA.com. “This is a new team playing this ’18 season for different reasons.”
For that reason, the Saints aren’t seeking redemption but instead are striving to make this season special.
“I just don’t see it that way,” Payton said to NOLA.com.
Watch Saints Tonight with Scott Shanle, Deuce McAllister, Mike Nabors, Eric Richey and Victor Howell on CST. Check our program schedule for more information.