The Saints can’t catch a break from officials.
They didn’t get the obvious pass interference penalty late in the NFL Championship Game in the Superdome, and eight months later, officials botched the play clock in the final seconds of the first half of their season opener in the Superdome.
Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, admitted in a postgame pool report that officials improperly applied a 10-second runoff that cost the Saints 15 seconds.
“The play ended at 41 seconds when we ruled him down,” Riveron told pool reporter Larry Holder of TheAthletic.com. “Then, we stopped the game for a replay review. After we did our administrative duties, we should have reset the clock to 41 seconds because that’s when we blew the play dead. At that time, we should have gone back to coach [Sean] Payton and asked him if he wanted to take a timeout in lieu of a 10-second runoff. Instead of setting the clock to 4, we inadvertently set it to 26 and then had a 10-second runoff because he did not want to take the timeout. Again, we should have reset it to 41, not 26, and then ultimately to 31 after the 10-second runoff.”
Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed a 17-yard pass to Michael Thomas on third-and-17 to the New Orleans 30. The replay official called for a review of the first down ruling, stopping the clock.
The play was upheld, but since it was a running clock, the stoppage required either a New Orleans timeout or a 10-second runoff by rule. The Saints elected not to use the timeout, snapping the ball with 14 seconds left.
The Saints missed a 56-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
The Saints were not happy with officials improperly applying the 10-second runoff.
“That can’t happen. That’s a game-changer,” Brees said, via Jeff Duncan of TheAthletic.com.
The best part is that a good portion of the Saints fans were wearing ref costumes at the game.