Saints dealt more bad luck with Brees’ injury, blown call

Saints dealt more bad luck with Brees’ injury, blown call

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LOS ANGELES — Another big game, another blown call.

The New Orleans Saints must be so sick of this.

In a cruel twist of NFL fate, the rematch of the infamous NFC title game – marred by the missed pass interference call in crunch time that helped the Rams score a Super Bowl berth – featured one more officiating gaffe that worked against the Saints.

Go ahead, Who Dat Nation: Scream.

This time, the Saints had an apparent touchdown – an 87-yard fumble return by Cameron Jordan in the second quarter – wiped out after referee Walt Anderson and crew erroneously whistled the play dead as an incomplete pass. Replays showed that Rams quarterback Jared Goff lost control of the football while pressured by Trey Hendrickson and David Onyemata, and that his hand was empty as he followed through with his throwing motion.

If only the Saints could catch a break.

The blunder changed the complexion of a game that New Orleans lost 27-9 while also being deprived of star quarterback Drew Brees, who suffered a thumb injury.


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Rather than a go-ahead touchdown, New Orleans started a drive with horrendous field position at the 13-yard line when the on-field ruling was reversed. The drive stalled near midfield when Alvin Kamara was stuffed on fourth-and-1.

Yes, beating the Rams is tough enough. The Saints, it seems, have to beat the refs, too.

And making matters even more challenging on Sunday at the Los Angeles Coliseum was the sight of Brees on the sideline with his right hand taped while the Saints offense struggled to establish rhythm – or even score a touchdown – behind backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Brees was hurt midway through the first quarter on a hit from Aaron Donald and apparently never came close to returning.

All of this amounted to quite the gut check to test the Saints’ resilience. They demonstrated a measure of grit to keep it close until the middle of the third quarter. But then the floodgates opened for a Rams barrage. Todd Gurley capped a 75-yard drive by diving to the pylon for a 4-yard TD. Brandin Cooks nagged a 1-yard TD thrown through a tight window. Cooper Kupp went 66 yards on a catch-run-power-and-weave job to set up Goff’s 1-yard TD. And it was over.

It’s natural to wonder what the game could have become if the fumble-turned-touchdown that cost the Saints had actually happened officially. Another case of what might have been, though not as drastic as the missed pass interference call in the NFC title game, when Rams slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman got away with the blatant hit on Tommylee Lewis – which led to so much consternation from Saints fans that a lawsuit against the NFL was filed (and thrown out) and the league instituted a new rule that allows for replay reviews of pass interference calls.

Still, the Saints left the rematch with much more concern about the future than the past.

Brees’ injury potentially swings the scales of power in the NFC, as many projected the Saints to overcome the disappointment of the title game setback and advance to the Super Bowl.

All bets for that could off. If Brees’ injury is a long-term situation, the Saints will be hard-pressed to keep up with other top NFC contenders.

That could be a bad break in another sense for the Saints.

Follow Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL: Saints dealt more bad luck with Drew Brees’ injury, blown call

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a group of people in uniform: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is sasked by New York Giants defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson (94) during the first half at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2019. 

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