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Joe Vitt defends Drew Brees after Saints' crushing loss

It's not often that Drew Brees can be cited as the reason the New Orleans Saints lost.

That was the case Thursday, however, as five Brees interceptions, coupled with an uncharacteristic clock-management gaffe before halftime, buried the Saints in a damaging 23-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

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Saints interim coach Joe Vitt defended his quarterback Friday.

"When you have a great quarterback on your team, great quarterbacks can't have a conscience," Vitt said, via The Associated Press. "They're going to stick tight throws. They're going to make great plays. And those great plays that great quarterbacks make take great courage. And that's just the truth.

"When you're on a little bit of a dry spell and maybe you wish you had a throw back or two, potentially bad things happen."

Thursday was Brees' second consecutive subpar game. It's not a coincidence that the Saints lost them both, dropping to 5-7 and on the verge of playoff elimination.

"I couldn't believe it. I've never seen anything like it," Saints safety Roman Harper said Friday. "All I'm used to is the Drew we see every Sunday, not a Drew that has five turnovers or things like that, and it was just off.

"We should have won the game. We just did not take advantage of the opportunities we needed to, whether it's right before the half or a couple of the turnovers," Harper added. "We just can't put it all on Drew and say, 'Hey, if Drew has a bad game, we don't win the game.' Sometimes we've got to bail him out because he's bailed us out plenty of times."

Harper is saying the right things, but that's not how this team is built. Some teams can survive poor games from their star quarterback. The Saints aren't one of them.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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