Saints Beat Texans on Last-Second 58-Yard Field Goal
- by NewYorkTimes
- Sept. 10, 2019
All hope was lost, until it wasn’t.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, having fallen behind the Houston Texans with less than a minute to play at home on Monday — a predicament exacerbated by a boneheaded penalty having allowed Houston to take the lead — stormed down the field to set up place-kicker Wil Lutz for a 58-yard field goal that gave the Saints an improbable 30-28 victory.
Lutz hardly seemed surprised by Brees’s heroics on the 35-yard drive that took just 37 seconds of game clock to unfurl.
“When you have Drew as your quarterback, all I cared about was getting ready for the kick,” he said at his postgame news conference. “I knew with 37 seconds left that there was going to be a chance to get a kick there.”
It was a night of comebacks for New Orleans. Still smarting from their painful end to the 2018 season, the Saints had allowed Deshaun Watson and the Texans to build a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.
After New Orleans rallied to lead by as much as 27-21 with just 55 seconds to play, the Saints watched as Watson needed only two plays to get his Texans into the end zone. They scored on a 37-yard strike to one of the team’s most recent acquisitions, Kenny Stills, that tied the game at 27-27.
It seemed as if the Texans would take the lead on an extra point, but Houston’s place-kicker, Ka’imi Fairbairn, missed wide right. The miss would most likely have resulted in the game going to overtime, but the Saints’ C.J. Gardner-Johnson, a rookie out of Florida, was called for roughing the kicker. The young safety had collided with Fairbairn’s plant leg well after the kick was in the air, adding to the frustration for New Orleans.
Given a second shot, Fairbairn nailed the kick and Houston took a 28-27 lead.
But as Gardner-Johnson sat on the bench covering his head, Brees was far from done. The 40-year-old Brees, starting his 19th season, completed three passes on the drive — two to Ted Ginn Jr. sandwiched around one to Michael Thomas — putting New Orleans at Houston’s 40-yard line.
Lutz, who had missed a 56-yard attempt as time expired in the first half, jogged onto the field to hit the game-winner, saying he knew it was good as soon as he kicked it.
“I’m confident in what I do,” he said. “All I wanted was redemption after the miss.”
Brees finished the game having completed 32 of 43 passes for 370 yards and two touchdowns, while Watson, who looked electric in spurts, threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns while also running in a highlight-reel score in the second quarter.
Now 1-0, New Orleans will travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams next week in a rematch of last season’s controversial N.F.C. championship game. Houston will host the Jacksonville Jaguars as it tries to improve to 1-1.