The New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans played a thriller on Monday that ended with a 58-yard Wil Lutz field goal.
The game-winning kick may not have been possible without a lapse on defense from the Texans in the game’s critical final moments.
The kick delivered a 30-28 victory for the Saints as time expired that culminated a frantic final few minutes that saw both teams trade three scores in the game’s final 2:39.
Brees, Lutz answer Watson’s heroics
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson had just stunned the Superdome with a two-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to give Houston a 28-27 lead with 37 seconds remaining.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees answered by driving New Orleans 26 yards to the Houston 49 yard line before spiking the ball with six seconds remaining for one last desperate play to set up the field goal.
The Saints needed around 10 yards to get into reasonable long-shot field-goal range and call their last time out. They did almost exactly that when Brees connected with Ted Ginn at the 40-yard line. Ginn immediately dropped to the ground, and the Saints called a time out with two seconds left.
Texans mistake gives Saints light
It was a perfect play by the Saints. But it might not have been possible without a defensive mistake by the Texans.
The Saints clearly needed to connect on a quick, short pass, a situation that demanded press coverage from Saints defenders.
Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson spotted a flaw in Houston’s defense, noting the soft coverage by Texans defenders on the right side of the play. Ginn was lined up in the slot and made the uncontested catch.
I want to be sure I get the picture accurate. Here is the #Texans’ corner alignment on the play that gave up the yardage which allowed the field goal. Ted Ginn is in the slot. Why the corners aren’t in press with the safeties over the top, I’m not sure. pic.twitter.com/ktz2rI66bc
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 10, 2019
Booger McFarland calls out mistake in real time
“Monday Night Football’s” Booger McFarland identified the lapse before the ball was snapped.
“The Texans are playing loose coverage,” McFarland said as the Texans set up their defense. “I don’t agree with this. It’s too easy to get a quick completion. He’s checking it, Brees sees it.”
See it, Brees did.
“It was just too easy,” McFarland said after the play as replay cameras showed three Texans safeties lined up in deep coverage. “The Houston Texans were almost in a prevent defense. Look how far the safeties are back. They’re 25 yards back. They only need seven yards.”
It’s difficult to find fault in either team, both of which played outstanding football for the duration of the game. But the mistake on the game’s final critical play from scrimmage is impossible to ignore.
Head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel have some questions to answer.
More from Yahoo Sports: