Nobody really knows what Saints receiver Marques Colston was thinking when he inexplicably threw an illegal forward pass in the waning seconds of New Orleans’ divisional-round playoff loss at Seattle.
Facing a 23-15 deficit with 26 seconds left, the Saints were attempting to put together a last-second touchdown drive to tie the game. With about eight seconds left, Drew Brees connected with Colston at the Seattle 38-yard line.
However, instead of stepping out bounds to give his team one more heave to the end zone, Colston did this:
Since Colston was beyond the line of scrimmage and the ball clearly travelled forward, the refs correctly threw the flag for an illegal-forward pass. The penalty resulted in a 10-second run-off, which allowed the clock to expire and sealed a Seahawks victory.
UPDATE, January 14: According to USA Today, Saints head coach Sean Payton said the final lateral was a designed play, not a blunder by Colston.
Here’s what Payton told the media:
We’re probably maybe a play early from [needing to call] it, but with no timeouts. We’d kind of seen something on tape, Marques has got a pretty good arm. 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, prior to this game, which was a deep throw to Marques and then across the field to Cadet. So, yeah, he wasn’t freelancing.”