Saints Coach Sean Payton should have muzzled his mouth completely when he ordered that pitch-out at the end of the game against Tampa Sunday.
He usually hides his mouth with a sheet of paper bearing his list of plays so the opposing team cannot read his lips when giving orders. He should have stuffed the whole list into his mouth so his team couldn’t understand him.
Why, with the game just about sewed up, does he call a risky play like a pitchout? With first down and only 3.5 minutes to play and a three-point lead, he just about had the whole game in his hands. Plus, Tampa was out of timeouts and the opportunity to stop the clock.
Instead, he has Quarterback Drew Brees hand off to Reggie Bush who throws a pitchout with hordes of opposing linemen coming at him to Devery Henderson. As was very possible under the circumstances, with bodies crashing all around him, the pitch-out hit the ground and was recovered by Tampa. From there, it is only history as Tampa made its way to the goalline and won the game.
That was the only disappointing event on the gridiron over a very exciting weekend. First of all, Destrehan High got into the state finals and will play for the championship Saturday in the Superdome. This has been a great year for the Wildcats and a final win would be a brilliant climax.
And LSU won the Southeastern Conference championship over Tennessee and, miraculously, ended up in the College Football Championship game against Ohio State which will be played in the Superdome January 7. The Tigers are still undefeated in regular game play. Their only defeats were those two triple overtime losses which is probably the only time in history when such a sequence of events occurred.
Incidentally, the Saints are still barely in the race for the playoffs as the one remaining available wild-card team. They are among five teams with 5-7 records, just a peg below three other teams at 6-6. Winning their remaining four games would give them a very slight chance.
Payton is a very good coach but every now and then even good coaches screw up. And we think that piece of paper in his hands could have come in handy Sunday.