The No-Call: The Saints and the call that wasn’t made

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Second and third down

Tommylee Lewis
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 20: Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints drops a pass broken up by Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

On second down the Saints went with the play they probably should have run on first down, a fake sweep to Thomas, and a toss to Kamara. No gain, but it forced the Rams to use a time out. Had they run two misdirection plays like that, they likely would have taken about the same amount of time, maybe a second or two more if they’d called the right run play.

Assuming all that occurred and we still had the same scenario, you might still have given them the ball back with the same amount of time, but with no time outs, the prospect of pushing the ball up the field is tougher.

The big oddity was the throw on first down. If you rush and get four yards, you are in control. Now they use a time out and you have a shorter second down. It was a strange call. One I’m sure Payton will think about for some time to come.

The third down play was likewise strange. You line up receiver Tommylee Lewis in the backfield. That makes a little sense. He’s not someone they’d really pay attention to and he’s coming from an unusual spot.

He runs a wheel route out of the backfield. Brees is throwing to the first down marker, nothing else is on his mind. If we score, bonus. If not, we have a first down, or at worst, 4th and very short. But he threw that ball BEHIND the defender. He’s lucky that Rams DB Nickell Robey-Coleman was not playing the ball or that pass would have been intercepted.

The pass should have been a safe one, forcing the Rams to use their last timeout. Instead, it was a second incompletion and the Rams come away with only :19 off the clock from the huge pass play to Ginn and only giving up a field goal so that’s all they need to tie.

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The Saints should have forced them to use both timeouts and then run the clock down so there would have been just about one minute left for them with no time out. Those were questionable play calls.