Sunday, November 13, 2016

Saints find new, excruciating way to lose

It came down to shoe color for the New Orleans Saints.

Will Parks scooped up a blocked extra point in the waning moments and scampered all the way to the end zone for the final points in a 25-23 Denver Broncos victory in the Superdome.

Drew Brees connected with Brandon Cooks to tie the game at 23 apiece with one minute 21 seconds remaining. The Saints lined up for the point after to take the lead but Justin Simmons leapt over snapper Justin Drescher, blocked the kick easily, which led to Parks two-point’er. As Parks was racing down the sideline in front of the Saints bench it appeared that he stepped on the sideline however his white shoes matched the paint of the sideline making it inconclusive for replay officials, leaving the points on the board. The Saints onside kick on the next play was unsuccessful, and Denver kneeled out the clock to wrap up their seventh win.

The Saints fell to 4-5, unable to move over .500 yet again. The 2014 team, which lost in the second round of the playoffs, is the last New Orleans team to have a wining record.

Denver grabbed a 10-0 lead after their second interception of Brees, turning the turnover into three points early in the second quarter. The Broncos were driving late in the second quarter but Sterling Moore intercepted Trevor Simien, giving Brees and Co. a chance to drive deep enough to set up a Will Lutz field goal.

Brees and Willie Snead combined for a pair of pass and catch combo Touchdowns in the third quarter to give the Saints a 17-10 lead. The fourth quarter was a nightmare for Saints rookie receiver, Michael Thomas. His first fumble in the final stanza led to a Simien-to-Demaryius Thomas game-tying touchdown. Thomas fumbled again on the possession after Denver grabbed a 20-17 lead, giving the ball to the Broncos at the Saints 20 yard line.

New Orleans defense rose to the occasion, keeping Denver out of the end zone as the Broncos settled for a Brandon McManus field goal to make it, 23-17 Broncos.

Brees guided the Saints 75 yards in just six plays, finishing with the strike to Cooks. What followed was the first time in NFL history the game-winning points came on a blocked extra point returned for two points. Afterward, Saints head coach, Sean Payton commented on the possibility that Parks steeped out of bounds, "it's hard to tell. Those guys are doing their best to look at it. He's got white shoes on, the sideline is white, so, there's not a real good picture, so... I understand."

The Saints have a quick turnaround as they face Carolina in Charlotte Thursday night.