Saints start to turn page after first loss

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he hadn't quite gotten over Sunday's last-second 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots as of Monday afternoon.

"No, it hasn't been 24 hours yet. So we're still angry," Brees said -- though he laughed, indicating he's almost ready to move one from his team's first loss of the season.

"You know, you watch the film and you know there were a few things that could have made the difference in the game there, especially at the end," said Brees, who was especially disappointed that the Saints gave the ball back to New England twice in the final minutes after failing to convert a first down. "So for us it's just, ‘What could I have done differently? What could we have done differently?' ... I think for us we've got to be able to close the game out."

Both Brees and coach Sean Payton, however, were encouraged by how well the Saints fought back from their early struggles to put themselves in position to win the game. And they both seem especially optimistic about where the Saints now stand heading into their bye week.

"I'm encouraged that we haven't played our best football and we're sitting at 5-1," said Payton -- a statement that Brees echoed almost verbatim, minutes later. "I like the work ethic, the competitive nature of this team. I like it a lot. And I think there are a few things we're gonna be able to clean up and work to improve on."

Payton said it always takes a couple days to get past a tough loss like Sunday's loss -- which slipped away when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to receiver Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds remaining. But he said players have done a good job of moving on after each of their five victories this year, and he expects the same after their first loss.

And Brees pointed out that the Saints were fortunate to win two similar last-second games in Weeks 1 and 2 against the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Well, we won one first game of the season on a similar situation, you know fourth-and-goal and we knock it down. And we won one in Week 2 where maybe we had no business winning that game," Brees said. "So sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don't. You just hope that you're in a position where more of them go your way than not."

Brees later added, "I think we've just scratched the surface."

The bye week will help the Saints turn the page. It will also help to heal up several injuries throughout the roster. The Saints didn't offer any updates on tight end Jimmy Graham, who left Sunday's game with an apparent foot injury. But the extra week of rest should help with all of their banged-up players.

The Saints' players will take this entire week off before returning to work with a bonus practice next Monday -- a routine Payton stole from Andy Reid after Reid's incredible success following bye weeks during his tenure in Philadelphia. The Saints are 4-0 following bye weeks since 2009.

The Saints will host the Buffalo Bills when they return in Week 8.