NFL admits referees blew another big call in Saints' Monday night opener
NEW ORLEANS - The Saints have only played a single regular-season game since the infamous no-call that cost them a shot at the Super Bowl, but the NFL is already apologizing for another officiating gaffe.
League officials confirmed after the Saints' dramatic win over the Texans that the mistake cost New Orleans 15 seconds at the end of the first half.
The call came after a replay review on a first down catch by Michael Thomas as the second quarter was winding down. When officials initiated the review, 41 seconds remained on the clock. Through some bizarre mismanagement on the part of the officiating crew, that time was lowered to 26 seconds with another 10-second runoff applied after Sean Payton opted not to use his sole remaining timeout.
The league's Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron released a statement saying the clock should have been unchanged after the play, leaving the Saints with 41 seconds.
The mistake forced Saints kicker Wil Lutz to try a long field goal that ultimately missed. Considering how the game ended, it's obvious those extra seconds could have made a huge difference going into halftime.
"Listen, that can't happen," Drew Brees told reporters Monday night. "If we would have had 15 more seconds? Are you kidding me? We would've gotten closer."
Lutz went on to boot a 58-yard field goal, a new personal best, for the win at the end of regulation.