There are few other ways to interpret how critical they were of themselves after Brees struck for five touchdowns in a 35-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
"It's good when you can not play your best and make certain mistakes and still win like we did," Brees said, referring to a handful of pre-snap penalties, a pair of missed scoring chances and two instances when only 10 Saints were on the field.
"If we continue to repeat these mistakes, they will get us beat," Brees continued. "That's not good enough for us. We've set the bar high. We have a high standard. We want to be as perfect as we can out there."
Brees finished 26-of-34 passing for 332 yards, completing passes to 10 targets.
Payton generally praised his players' efforts and acknowledged he was pleased with winning, but otherwise spoke in gruff tones.
"When you have eight penalties ... and you can't get the right amount of people on the field, then those are things that certainly go against saying you have your swagger," Payton said. "Those are things that are troubling.
"It cost Minnesota in an NFC championship game against us," Payton added, referring to a Vikings penalty for 12 players in the huddle late in that 2010 game.
"We're a resilient team, but being resilient is not good enough," Lewis said.
"That is a playoff team that we played," Marrone said.
But Brees responded by rolling right and lofting a 42-yard pass into the end zone, where Stills outmaneuvered rookie defensive back Nickell Robey to make the catch.
Stills finished with three catches for 129 yards against Buffalo. Graham had three catches for 37 yards.
Graham said he's been told he might have pain in his foot throughout the season and will have to play through it.
"Everyone plays with something going on, so this is no different," Graham said. "I've been preparing myself this week to play, so to get that call was awesome."
Tight end Scott Chandler and receiver Stevie Johnson each had 72 yards receiving for Buffalo. Johnson also had a 13-yard touchdown catch but appeared to be laboring through leg pain in the second half.
Lewis, making his third start for Buffalo after being called up from the practice squad, took a hard helmet shot to his torso from linebacker David Hawthorne and fumbled on his first play from scrimmage. Although Buffalo's defense forced a missed 47-yard field goal try, there were more tough moments ahead for Lewis, who was sacked by Cam Jordan and fumbled again on his third series.
Brees found Moore a few plays later for a 7-0 lead.
New Orleans took the lead for good when Brees spotted Stills, his fastest receiver, in a coverage mismatch with linebacker Jerry Hughes. Stills had several steps on Hughes when he caught a deep pass down the right sideline and sped away for his long score to make it 14-10.
Graham's first touchdown, on which he bowled over Da'Norris Searcy at the goal line, made it 21-10 in the last minute of the half.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press