In what was one of the most heartbreaking losses in recent memory, the New Orleans Saints fell on a last-second field goal to the Los Angeles Rams. But it was what happened prior to that which really led to the drama ramping up. While Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein made both game-tying and game-winning field goal attempts, some believe he shouldn’t have even had the chance to tie the game at all.
On the Saints’ final drive of regulation, they had a chance to take the lead by a touchdown, but a questionable no-call made headlines. And after the game had wrapped up, Saints coach Sean Payton wasted no time calling the league office, who apparently admitted they blew the call, per Andrew Doak of WWLTV.
Payton’s frustration and anger over the situation were completely understandable. In case you missed the play, here’s how things played out, per Warren Sharp.
That play occurred with the score tied 20-20 and the Saints just 13 yards out from the end zone. It was a 3rd-and-10 with 1:48 remaining. After Wil Lutz made the go-ahead field goal, the Rams drove 45 yards in nine plays leading to Zuerlein’s 48-yard kick knotting things up with just 15 seconds remaining.
New Orleans got the ball to start overtime, but Rams safety John Johnson made an acrobatic interception on the third play of the extra period to set the Rams up in good field position. From there, it took four plays for Jared Goff to get his team close to field goal range, and Zuerlein went on to make the 57-yard game-winner.
Sean Payton’s Comments
The Saints coach pulled no punches after the game and had plenty to say. But his frustration began immediately on the field as he called out the referee for a “Super Bowl (non)-call,” as NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo shows.
The frustration carried over into his postgame presser as CBS Sports detailed that Payton openly stated that the officials “blew the call.” He revealed that the league office told him that it not only should have been pass interference but also helmet-to-helmet.
“It was simple, they blew the call, they said it should never have not been a call. They said not only was it interference, it was helmet-to-helmet. There were two calls, they just – they couldn’t believe it.” Payton stated.
Tensions and emotions were obviously high for not only the Saints coach but for the players and fanbase as well. After the game, Payton openly stated that the team will “probably never get over it,” according to Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune.