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#pounditThursday, October 1, 2020

Referees cost Saints time with wrongly applied runoff after review before halftime

Saints runoff

The referees in Monday night’s New Orleans Saints-Houston Texans game cost the Saints valuable time before halftime with a wrongly applied 10-second runoff.

The Saints were down 14-3 and had the ball at their 30 for a 3rd-and-17 with 48 seconds left in the first half. Drew Brees completed a long pass to Michael Thomas near the sideline for a first down. Thomas was down around 42 seconds.

Now here’s where things got cute.

The Saints were getting ready for their next play but the referees blew the whistle with 26 seconds left in the half so they could review the catch. The officials reviewed the play and decided the catch ruling was correct. Then they offered the Saints the choice of a 10-second runoff or losing a timeout. The Saints chose the runoff.

The problem is the officials ran 10 seconds off from the 26-second mark, which is when they decided to review the play, rather than at the 42-second mark when the play was over.

The Saints ended up with a 1st-and-10 at their 47 with 16 seconds left instead of 32 seconds left. New Orleans threw an incompletion then completed a 15-yard pass to Thomas. They set up a 56-yard field goal try with four seconds left and missed it.

FOX NFL rules expert Mike Pereira knew right away a mistake had been made, as did some Saints fans.

Late in the fourth quarter, ESPN’s announcing team revisited the play and pointed out the mistake. The extra time likely would have allowed the Saints an extra play opportunity to give them potentially a closer field goal try.

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