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

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The No-Call: The call that wasn’t

Sean Payton
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 20: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts against 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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Enough on that. The Saints’ third down play is the one that will live in infamy, and if we’re lucky, get at least one official reprimanded.

As Lewis is running his wheel route, Robey-Coleman is playing the receiver, not the ball. Before the ball reaches either of them, he makes helmet-to-helmet contact with Lewis. To his “credit”, Robey-Coleman admitted it was pass interference. He’d been beaten and the best solution in that situation is to create a penalty to ensure the team doesn’t score. This happens often in football. It’s not new or unusual.

The referee had a choice of two penalties: pass interference and the more egregious helmet-to-helmet contact. That’s a personal foul of the highest order. It’s also something the referees are supposed to be specifically on the lookout for.

Sometimes glancing blows much less egregious than this one, is called helmet to helmet. But we’ve already seen this call blown against us, when Alvin Kamara was a victim of obvious helmet to helmet/targeting against Dallas (with a similarly suspect Walt Coleman officiating crew) and it wasn’t called. Seems odd this is allegedly a big deal for the NFL, something they are to err on the side of caution for, but their officials are slow to call it.

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Even if Lewis ends up making the catch, there is no guarantee of a win. He could have stepped out of bounds and the clock would have stopped. Or he could have been tackled in bounds. Either way, in the ensuing plays, the Rams would have had to have used the other time out they’d saved from the previous set of downs.

But with a catch and out of bounds with about 1:48 left, the Saints had the ability to run the clock to two seconds and kick the game winning field goal from about PAT distance. In that instance, our chances are over 90-percent to win.

Lewis could have dropped the pass, and the situation would have been exactly as it ended up. Or Lewis could have caught the pass for a TD, putting the Saints up by six (seven with the PAT), and making the comeback more difficult with what would have been about 1:40 left.

Our chances to win then would have been very high also. The only scenarios that worked against us were the drop and what actually happened. And what actually happened was worse because it was emotionally deflating, not only to the team, but the fans as well. The Dome noise was never the same after that play.