The New Orleans Saints’ season ended in disappointing fashion Saturday, and their final play left many fans bewildered.
With 11 seconds on the clock and the Saints at their own 49-yard line, Sean Payton drew up some trickery to try to get New Orleans into the end zone. Wide receiver Marques Colston caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Drew Brees with seven seconds left, but, rather than stepping out of bounds and giving the Saints one final shot at the end zone, the receiver turned and threw a wobbly pass across the field. Colston’s toss fell a few yards in front of running back Travaris Cadet, resulting in a penalty for an illegal forward pass and a mandatory 10-second runoff to end the game.
The play brought plenty of questions about Colston’s thought process, but the receiver and head coach alike say it was planned.
“It’s a play that we worked on,” Colston said, via ESPN. “Obviously, it’s not an ideal situation, but the ball came out. And obviously the throw didn’t go the way I would have planned. But, it happens.”
Payton took more responsibility for the failure, saying he felt it was a good play call at the time but acknowledging that he might have done things a bit differently in hindsight.
“We’d kind of seen something on tape. Marques has got a pretty good arm,” Payton said. “You know, hindsight, [it was] a play where he could have caught it, stepped out and then maybe [we throw] a Hail Mary to the end zone. But it was a play we had put in a week and a half ago. … So, yeah, he wasn’t freelancing.”
The Seattle Seahawks wound up walking away with a 23-15 win. They will play the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Meanwhile, the Saints are headed home for the offseason, left wondering “what if.”
Check out a GIF of the failed toss below.