It’s time to take some of the heat off Marques Colston. His poorly-executed lateral to end the Saints’ season was actually a play called by New Orleans coach Sean Payton.
When speaking with the media, Payton admitted that, given the amount of time remaining, he should have set up for a final pass by quarterback Drew Brees, rather than push the gimmick.
“Marques has got a pretty good arm,” Payton said. You know, hindsight, [it was] a play where he could have caught it, stepped out and then maybe [we throw] a Hail Mary to the end zone. But it was a play we had put in a week and a half ago, prior to this game, which was a deep throw to Marques and then across the field.”
The questionable play happened with seven seconds remaining in the team’s NFC divisional game against the Seattle Seahawks. Colston caught the ball, but rather than stepping out of bounds, attempted a lateral across the width of the field. His pass went forward, resulting in a penalty and 10-second runoff, which ended the game.
Colston also acknowledged that he ran the scripted play, but that the execution was off.
“It’s a play that we worked on,” Colston told ESPN. “Obviously, it’s not an ideal situation [being behind with time expiring and no timeouts], but the ball came out. And obviously the throw didn’t go the way I would have planned. But, it happens.”
The wide receiver took a beating on social media after the game. As it turns out, it was all due to him following instructions. For Payton, it was a curious play call, considering the time remaining, field position, and large stakes.