NEW ORLEANS — Tom Brady may have helped swing two big plays in the New England Patriots’ favor Sunday afternoon in New Orleans.
Officials working the Patriots’ 36-20 win over the Saints wiped away an offensive pass interference call on Brandin Cooks and a New Orleans interception, with Brady successfully lobbying them to reconsider in both instances.
On the first, Cooks was flagged for an illegal pick on a touchdown pass from Brady to Chris Hogan. Cooks blocked Saints safety Rafael Bush immediately after the snap, preventing Bush from following Hogan on a wheel route. The result was an easy score, as cornerback Marshon Lattimore was unable to recover in time to chase down Hogan.
Though downfield picks are illegal, receivers are allowed to throw blocks within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage, which Cooks did on the play in question. Brady informed the refs of this, and they agreed, picking up the flag and allowing the touchdown to stand.
The Saints scored on a similar play a few minutes later, picking Malcolm Butler on a touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman.
“When I saw it, I thought he was pretty close,” Brady said after the game. “Those are some judgment calls sometimes with a yard or a yard-and-a-half. (The Saints) ran something (similar) on the next drive and threw a touchdown pass. He was, like, 3 yards down the field. I was like, ‘If we got away with one, then they definitely got away with one.’ I went out there and thought ours was legal.
“It is just a man coverage play. Everyone has them, and the officials call them differently. I thought we made a good play, and it was a big touchdown.”
The second play came during the third quarter with the Patriots leading 30-13. After a Dion Lewis carry, Brady rushed the Patriots to the line and lofted a pass into triple coverage that was intercepted by Marcus Williams. It was a bizarre play, an uncharacteristically ill-advised throw by one the NFL’s top signal-callers.
That’s what it initially looked like, at least. As soon as Williams was brought down, Brady began insisting to officials that the Saints had 12 players on the field on the play. They huddled and ultimately concluded that, yes, linebacker Manti Te’o failed to get to the sideline in time, resulting in a 5-yard penalty that allowed the Patriots to maintain possession.
“Well, I snapped it, and I was looking right at (Te’o) when I snapped it, and he was probably 3 or 4 yards away from the sideline,” Brady said. “I was trying to get the penalty. I didn’t see a penalty on the field, and I said, ‘What the heck? I saw him.’ (The officials) said they were going to review it, there was 12 on the field, and we got the call.
He added: “I wish they would have thrown (the flag) right away to take away all the drama.”
Sunday’s game was one of the most productive of Brady’s illustrious Patriots career. He completed 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions as New England improved to 1-1 on the season
Thumbnail photo via Scott Clause/The Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports Images
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