One play can’t make the difference between winning or losing — says anyone who didn’t make the effort to investigate the situation.
John Breech of CBS Sports shared the same frustration all of New Orleans felt.
“The Saints got hosed by one of the worst no-calls in NFL history,” he stated.
Rams players Nickell Robey-Coleman and Saints player Tommy Lee Lewis were involved in the play. It happened with one minute and 45 seconds left in the game, with a tied score of 20 – 20, and with only one Rams timeout remaining. The two were flying in the air, one tracking the ball and the other tracking Lewis. The hit occurred right above the five-yard line, with momentum exerted on Lewis that would have carried him to about the two-and-a-half-yard line. With the first down marker at the three-yard line, this would have given the Saints a first down. Each time a team runs the ball, they have 40 seconds to snap the ball. Remember, the Rams had only one timeout remaining.
If Lewis had made the catch, the sequence of events would have been the following: Saints first-down run or kneel at the two-and-a-half yard line, with the Rams taking their final timeout, but a highly likely potential touchdown, if they ran the ball! Then, a Saints second-down run or kneel with about one minute and 40 seconds left, but a highly likely potential touchdown! Then, the Saints third-down run or kneel with about 58 seconds left, and again — a highly likely potential touchdown. After that, the Saints would have a fourth-down run or field goal attempt with about 18 seconds left on the clock, and one more time — another potential touchdown.
What then? Saints are either up 27 or 26 to 20, or 23 to 20 with only 18 seconds left. While the Rams were without timeouts and with very little time remaining, it’s likely that the Saints would “squib kick” it — perform a kick that lands with subsequent bounces just past the opponent’s 35-yard line or so. Scoring on the kickoff is highly unlikely, and scoring on the drive with only 18 seconds remaining is similarly unlikely. And if the Rams’ offense came out for the final drive of the game, the chance of scoring would be even smaller. All this considered, the Saints’ chance of victory was major. Yet nothing could be done.
The team didn’t have their best game.
Mark Ingram finished with 38 yards, while Kamara finished with only 15 yards rushing, but an above-par receiving game at 98 yards. The Rams had a well-designed game plan for Michael Thomas, as he finished with his second-worst receiving game on the season at 38 yards.
The poor running game wasn’t as much as the offensive line’s fault as it was the great defensive line of the Rams, which ranked third-best in the league on the season. For the Saints, it’s time to take a step back and find the right pieces to properly fit in this almost-finished puzzle. This off-season may be the most strenuous off-season on record for the brain of the organization, with Mickey Loomis leading the way. Hopefully Drew Brees is given the best possible team for what might be his last season.