The Saints’ first touchdown against the Panthers came on, well, on an unorthodox play-call.
Sean Payton is known for his creative and aggressive play-calling. That was on full display Sunday against Carolina, and never more so than on the Saints’ first touchdown.
It was the opening possession of the game, and Brees had methodically marched the offense down the field only to stall at the goal-line. Facing a fourth down on the 2 yard line, Payton elected to go for it.
“I was excited we went for it on fourth down,” Fleener said post game. “I think that’s a great move. Worst-case, we pin them down there.”
Well, they didn’t pin them. The call came in: Jet Sweep, Coby Fleener. Fleener later called it a “tight-end around” while the FOX commentators playfully dubbed it the “cargo sweep”. Fleener had never recorded a carry in his career, whether in the NFL or in college. His first went for a touchdown.
“Initially, when you hear the call, it seems a little outlandish, but obviously, coach knows what he’s doing.”
It wasn’t the most graceful play, but it got the job done. It’s a testament to Payton’s creativity. There’s plenty of risk involved, especially on fourth down. But the gamble paid off. The defense didn’t see the sweep coming, and Fleener fell into the end-zone relatively untouched.
This Saints team needs to improve in a lot of areas, and most of that starts with Payton. But his position as one of the top offensive minds in the game is well-earned. Payton still has it in him.