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New Orleans Saints coach speaks out after Panthers defeat

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New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has called on his team to bounce back from their disappointing defeat against the Carolina Panthers.

The Saints looked to be heading for a crucial win and a play-off spot when Jimmy Graham held on to Drew Brees' pass to score the Saints only touchdown of the game.

However the Panthers came roaring back through Cam Newton, who found Domenik Hixon in the dying minutes to help his side snatch the win.

That sent Panthers into the play-offs and left the Saints looking likely for a wildcard spot, and Payton has called on his team to respond to the defeat with a win in the last game of the regular season.

"That was a difficult loss," he told

"I Congratulate Carolina for fighting back. I was real proud of our players today though. I thought we played with great passion, great energy and did the things necessary to win a football game, just came up short in the end.

"I was pleased with how we played, especially the conditions during that second half. We just kind of hung in there, kept fighting. We didn’t get the win, but we play like we’re going get plenty of them. It was a tough loss.”

New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead endured a tough game as quarterback Drew Brees was sacked no less than six times.

Brees was quick to absolve the 22-year-old of blame, claiming he held onto the ball for too long in the game, while Payton was also keen to ease the pressure on the youngster.

"I thought [he did] very good. He had a good week in practice. I thought with the matchup he had I thought very good. We knew going in there were going to be some challenges, there always is at the position though, but very good.”

Saints face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their last regular season game on Sunday, and Payton is confident his men will be up for that game.

“Listen, the message is positive. Last play like that, it’s tough, it’s disappointing, but the message is putting it out there the way they did and we were in a position. It didn’t happen. We’ll bounce back. These guys are resilient. I was pleased with how they approached this game."

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