Saints haunted by missed pass interference call | News Coverage from USA

Saints haunted by missed pass interference call

Long after this season is over, the New Orleans Saints will remember the pass interference that wasn’t.

With the score tied 20-20 and under two minutes to play in regulation, the Saints were driving for what could have been a game-winning field goal and a trip to the Super Bowl. On third down, Drew Brees’ pass to Tommylee Lewis fell incomplete as Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman made contact with the Saints wide receiver.

“They felt like the player arrived at the same time the ball did,” Saints coach Sean Payton said on Fox TV when asked what explanation officials gave him at the time.

However, replays showed Robey-Coleman made contact well before the ball got there.

The Rams defender even said after the game he got there too early. “I was beat, and I was trying to save the touchdown,” he told Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko.

Payton said after the game the league admitted to him interference should have been called on the play.

If a penalty had been called, it would have given the Saints a first down and allowed them to run the clock down to the final seconds for a field goal attempt. Instead, Wil Lutz’s field goal on the next play gave the Saints a 23-20 lead with 1:45 to play. 

The incompletion also left enough time on the clock for the Rams to drive down and kick a game-tying field goal with 19 seconds left in regulation.

While the Saints still had a chance to win the game in overtime, a Brees interception on their first possession led to the Rams’ winning field.

“It’s a tough way to lose a game, especially when we were in a position like that to win it,” Payton told Fox’s Erin Andrews. “We may never get over it.”

Follow Steve Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner.

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