The New Orleans Saints saw their season come to a close in heartbreaking fashion for the second consecutive year.
However, Who Dat Nation can hang their heads high for the valiant effort from their team.
The Saints lost 26-23 in overtime to the visiting Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game. Greg Zuerlein converted a 57-yard field goal in overtime to send the Rams to Super Bowl LII in Atlanta, where they’ll face the New England Patriots.
It was the longest game-winning kick in playoff history, per the NFL.
Last season, the Saints lost in the NFC divisional round to the Minnesota Vikings. Stefon Diggs slipped past Marcus Williams for a 27-yard touchdown reception as time expired.
A costly interception by Drew Brees set up the game-winning drive for the Rams. Yet, the Saints have a legitimate gripe about an officiating miscue that could’ve altered the outcome.
With 1:45 left in the regulation on 3rd-and-10 from the Rams’ 13-yard line, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman bulldozed Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis and made helmet-to-helmet contact before the ball arrived.
The game was tied at 20 at that point. The no-call resulted in the Saints kicking a field goal to only go ahead 23-20. Afterwards, the NFL’s head of officials confirmed to Saints coach Sean Payton that they “blew the call,” according to ESPN.
Zuerlein converted a 48-yard field goal with 15 seconds to go in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Brees finished with 249 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Rams’ only lead of the game came at the final result. The Saints jumped out to a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter on a pair of Will Lutz kicks field goals and a five-yard touchdown reception by Garrett Griffin.
The Rams responded in the second quarter with a Zuerlein field goal and a six-yard rushing touchdown by Todd Gurley.
Taysom Hill hauled in a two-yard touchdown reception for the Saints and Tyler Higbee caught a one-yard score as New Orleans led 20-17 going into the fourth quarter.
Rams receiver Brandin Cooks hauled in seven receptions for 107 yards. Saints running back Alvin Kamara had 11 receptions for 96 yards.
The Saints earned the top seed in the NFC and a first round bye. They advanced to the NFC title game by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round.
The Rams exacted revenge on the Saints, who handed them their first loss of the season on Nov. 4.
Afterwards, Brees spoke with CST’s Mike Nabors about the tough loss and how proud he is of the strides the Saints made this season.
“As we look at this season, there is so much to be proud of. It’s hard to sit here and reflect on that now because the pain is still so great from the loss…You can go in the tank or you can find a way for this to make you better,” Brees said. “I think we can look at a lot of the things that happened this year and get really excited about the future of this team with the great young talent that we have and the type of guys that we have with character. It’s a special group.”
For more watch Saints Gameday with Scott Shanle, Mike Nabors and Victor Howell. Check the CST program schedule for more information.