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Saints coach Sean Payton said Marques Colston’s lateral was a designed play

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(USA Today Sports Images)

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton finally let receiver Marques Colston off the hook.

After declining to talk about the whacky ending to New Orleans’ 23-15 play loss against Seattle, Payton said what occurred during the final seconds was actually a designed play.

New Orleans faced third-and-2 on its own 49-yard line with 13 seconds remaining. It seemed as if that was enough time for a quick pass and Hail Mary throw into the end zone. Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed a 13-yard pass to Colston, giving his team possession on Seattle’s 38-yard line.

However, Colston attempted a lateral with seven seconds remaining that turned into an illegal forward pass. In addition to the 5-yard penalty, 10 seconds were automatically run off the clock, which ended the game.

Payton defended Colston on Monday.

“Listen, Marques, we're at that point, and we're probably maybe a play early from it, but with no timeouts, we'd kind of seen something on tape, Marques has got a pretty good arm," Payton told Nola.com. “You know, hindsight, a play where he could have caught it, stepped out and then maybe 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 to (Travaris) Cadet. So, yeah, he wasn't freelancing.”

Colston echoed Payton’s thoughts when asked about the play on Monday.

“It's a play that we worked on," Colston told Nola.com. “Obviously, it's not an ideal situation (being behind), but the ball came out and obviously, the throw didn't go the way I would have planned. But, it happens.”

If Colston was following marching orders, add that play to the list of Payton’s errors during the loss.

New Orleans’ ineffective time management against Seattle was an issue throughout the game. The Saints faced third-and-15 on Seattle’s 30-yard line late in the fourth quarter, and Brees threw a short screen pass to Darren Sproles, which was immediately blown up. On the next play, Payton decided to attempt a 48-yard field goal into the wind, and that resulted into a predictable miss by Shayne Graham. Now add a lateral with seven seconds remaining to the list of blunders.

Colston may be off the hook, but Payton is still on it.

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at NFLAnwar@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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