New Orleans Saints fans dress as referees against the Houston Texans for a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NFL admits error by officials in Saints Monday Night Football matchup

Officials took too much time off of the clock in first half

Amos Morale III
September 10, 2019 - 1:09 am
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There where a lot of Saints fans in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome dressed as referees Monday night. 

Many of them were still reeling from the now infamous “NOLA no-call,” where NFC championship officials missed a pass interference call late in that game and helped contribute to the Saints loss. If New Orleans wouldn’t have won their Monday Night Football matchup against the Houston Texans, 30-28, those fans might have had another complaint about the officials as a mistake Monday night took time away from the Saints offense late in the second quarter.

New Orleans was looking to narrow the Texans 14-3 lead before the end of the first half and had the ball with less than two minutes to play.  

On third-and-17, with 48 seconds to play, Saints quarterback Drew Brees connected with receiver Michael Thomas for for what was initially ruled a 16-yard gain. After a review, Thomas was ruled to have reached the line to gain. The Saints elected not to use a timeout and by rule there was a 10-second runoff. However, instead of the Saints having a first down at their own 47 with roughly 30 seconds to play, they were left with just 14 seconds.

The NFL’s senior vice president, Al Riveron, officiating said that that was a mistake. 

“The play ended at 41 seconds when we ruled him down. 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,” Riveron said. “At that time, we should have gone to Coach Payton and asked him if he wanted to take a timeout in lieu of a 10-second runoff. Instead of setting the clock to 41, 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."

With just 14 seconds to go and a time out the Saints were Abel to run two plays and set kicker Wil Lutz up for a 56-yard attempt with four seconds to play. He missed the attempt. 

Brees was frustrated with the error after the game and called it “game changer.”

“We end up having to kick a 58-yard field goal, or whatever it was, attempt a 58-yard kick," Brees said. "If we had 15 more seconds, are you kidding me, we would’ve gotten closer. That’s a game changer. That can’t happen.”

Ultimately, the Saints were able to win the game thanks to a 58-yard field goal from Lutz as time expired in the fourth quarter.  

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