Coming out of the 2-minute warning, the Saints had a first down on the Rams 13 yard line, and the Rams were down to only two timeouts. Putting aside the egregious non-call on the PI, the Breakout Live team debates Sean Payton’s decision to throw the ball two out of three plays instead of just running the ball down to a minute to go, using up the Rams timeouts, and kicking the field goal.
It’s kind of amazing that head coaches have been bailed out two weeks in a row, both involving Saints games. First, it was Doug Pederson’s miserable clock management that got forgotten because of Alshon Jeffery’s muffed-catch interception. And Sunday, everyone seemed to ignore Sean Payton’s horrific clock management due to the blown PI call.
There really isn’t much question here. Run the ball. Run the ball. And run the ball again. By running the ball in that situation, you accomplish many things: you force the Rams to use their final two timeouts. You run the clock down under a minute and take the lead. You force the Rams to drive into field goal range with less than a minute and no timeouts. And guess what else? You have the most prolific 1-2 rushing punch in the NFL, so you might actually get a first down running the ball three times, which then enables you to wind down the clock before kicking the game-winning field goal.
I can’t hate on Sean Payton for being aggressive – that’s who he is. But yeah, I hate the play calls in that situation. Run the rock, take away all of LA’s timeouts, and you probably win the game (probably). The Rams would have had roughly a minute to drive the field with no timeouts to either tie or win the game – that’s a tough row to hoe. LA could certainly have still pulled it off, so there’s not much point to speculate. But if I’m Sean Payton, I’m putting as many odds in my favor as possible. He didn’t, and now he’ll have an entire lifetime to live with it.
George “Cannonball” West
Sean Payton absolutely blew the clock management out of the 2-minute warning. I was listening to the game broadcast on Westwood One Radio (Hey, I’m old), and analyst Kurt Warner lost his mind when the Saints threw the ball on that first down. Kurt was correct. The Rams only had 2 timeouts left and Payton had to make them use them or let the clock run. That mismanagement gave L.A. the chance they needed to get in position to tie the game on a late FG, and ultimately cost the Saints the game.
Senior News & Fantasy Editor
I don’t agree with Payton’s decision to pass it on 1st down. Two run plays and then a pass on 3rd down seemed the more logical play and what I would’ve done in that situation. But I’m sure Payton with his aggressive mindset was thinking more touchdown and less clock.
The Saints gained 46 yards on 17 carries yesterday, so two runs probably leaves them in 3rd and long, which they ended up in anyway and with the Rams keeping a timeout. That was a high-percentage shot on first down, but the execution was horrendous for an accurate quarterback like Drew Brees. My guess is if he had to do it over, Payton would play it the same way and hope for better execution and of course for the official to throw the flag on the PI against Lewis.