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#pounditSunday, May 16, 2021

Sean Payton: Saints originally had run planned on key late play

Sean Payton

The New Orleans Saints faced some criticism for their play calling late in regulation during the NFC Championship, but it turns out they were at least trying to run some clock during a key sequence of plays.

The Saints surprised some by running a pass play with 1:55 left while in field goal range, with the Los Angeles Rams down to two timeouts. Had New Orleans run the ball on first down, they would have likely forced the Rams to use one of those timeouts, and could have exhausted their supply on second down ahead of a third and fourth down that could have taken the clock down under a minute while keeping New Orleans in field goal range.

Instead, the Saints threw an incompletion. According to coach Sean Payton, though, the original call was a run that was automatically shifted to a pass when the Los Angeles defense came out primed to stuff the run.

“It was a run to begin with, and we got a zero blitz out of it,” Payton said, via Josh Katzenstein of “It was kind of a built-in play to handle some of the — it was a zero blitz.”

It didn’t work, and it gave some license to blame Payton for the game going so wrong in the late stages despite the impact of the officiating. It’s one of the things that New Orleans could have done differently within their control to create a different outcome.


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