Saints Win Wild One Over Texans On Wil Lutz Career Long Field Goal
Wil Lutz wanted another chance.
After his 57-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half sailed wide left, he lined up to attempt a game-winning 58-yard field goal at the end of regulation.
"After I missed the first one, nobody told me anything," said Lutz. "It was an emotional kick because of my first miss, and I thought about it, and I couldn't do it again...(Thomas) Morstead came up to me after the first miss and said, 'You're gonna get a chance to kick it'".
Lutz's career-long field goal propelled the New Orleans Saints (1-0) to a wild 30-28 victory over the Houston Texans (0-1) on Monday Night Football.
Only 50 seconds of game clock earlier, Lutz hit a 47-yard field goal to put the Saints up 27-21, but star Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson led Houston on a two-play, 13 second, 75-yard touchdown drive to tie it.
After Houston missed the extra point, Saints rookie Chauncey Gardener-Johnson was penalized for roughing the kicker after making contact with his toes, leading to another attempt that went through the uprights.
While the final minute of play was wild, the game was chock full of big plays, momentum swings, and an officiating blunder.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees got off to a rocky start with a costly first-half interception in the red zone, as the Saints offense only mustered 3 points through the first two quarters.
The second half was a different story, as Brees' efficiency led the Saints to 3 consecutive touchdown scoring drives, with 5 of the 6 second-half drives ending with points.
Brees finished the night 32 of 43 for 370 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception.
"Every win builds confidence, especially wins like this," said Brees. "It makes you battle-tested. We've won so many games like this in the past, and every one of them makes us better."
While New Orleans' defense would love to burn the tape of Watson's 2-play scoring drive, they provided pressure on the Houston quarterback throughout the night.
Defensively, the Saints finished with 6 sacks, including 2 from Trey Hendrickson.
"I do know the D-line was active," said Saints star defensive end Cam Jordan, "At the end of the night, that pressure that everyone was questioning if we could get to DeShaun, we put that on our shoulders as a chip."
While the two teams played a thriller on a national stage, the officiating crew returned to the scene of the NFC Championship crime, and they didn't fare well.
At the final minute of the first half, New Orleans converted a 3rd and 17 on a Brees pass to Michael Thomas near midfield with 41 seconds left.
Wanting to save their last timeout, they rushed to the line as time ticked away, just before snapping the ball, officials blew whistles, signaling the spot from the previous play would be reviewed.
After confirming the spot, officials declared there would be a 10-second runoff. It was a mistake in a big moment.
By rule, officials should have reset the clock to 42 seconds (when Thomas was ruled down) and then run 10 seconds down to 31.
Instead, they ran 10 seconds from the time they blew the whistle for review, leaving the Saints with 16 seconds.
New Orleans ended up attempting the 57-yard field goal miss by Lutz. With the proper amount of time on the clock, the Saints may have gotten into better range.
“That can’t happen," Brees said of the officiating snafu. "That’s a game-changer.”
Luckily for the Saints, they were able to overcome the officiating error, as well as their own.
New Orleans will head to the West Coast for a long road trip next week.
The team who benefited from the nefarious non-call in the NFC Championship game last January awaits the Saints for a rematch.
New Orleans battles the Los Angeles Rams (1-0) next Sunday at 3:25 CT.
Following the game, New Orleans will travel to Washington and remain in the Northeast for the week as they play at the Seattle Seahawks in week 3.