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Saints' Sean Payton on fourth-quarter punt: Gotta trust your gut

NEW ORLEANS -- Chances are, it wasn’t going to matter either way in a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. But it was still curious to see the New Orleans Saints opt to punt on fourth-and-12 from their own 45-yard line with 7:51 remaining Sunday.

Part of the plan worked -- the Saints pinned Cincinnati back on its own 2-yard line. But then the Bengals converted two first downs and burned off more than four minutes of clock before punting back.

"Well, you go back and forth. Listen, you’ve just gotta trust your gut on that," Saints coach Sean Payton explained. "We thought we could get 'em pinned back there, use some timeouts, possibly get some field postion. When you call an early timeout there and then they convert a first down, then obviously the timeout was wasted. But you’re just hoping to change field position."

The Saints also burned a timeout on offense before the third-and-12 play (a pass intended for receiver Marques Colston that was broken up).

Saints quarterback Drew Brees wasn’t specifically asked if he was disappointed by the decision to punt. But he said he was disappointed the Saints couldn’t sustain that drive after having just scored their first touchdown on the previous possession.

The Saints lost two yards on a first-and-10 run by Mark Ingram, then Brees threw incomplete on second-and-12. He overshot Colston on a deep throw, with Colston having to turn into a defender to break up an interception (one of the best offensive plays of the game).

"You want to be able to keep a drive going no matter what the situation and go down and get points, especially when you’re down by that much. You want to make it a game," Brees said. "So, yeah, it’s disappointing."