Marques Colston's illegal forward pass ended the Saints' comeback hopes. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The Saints' attempt to pull off a miraculous comeback against the Seahawks in their NFC divisional playoff game ended with receiver Marques Colston attempting an illegal forward pass rather than stepping out of bounds to stop the clock. Instead of having one more play to attempt a Hail Mary pass, the penalty burned the rest of the clock and left the Saints wondering "what if" in a 23-15 loss.
While Colston instantly became a Twitter target for his off-target lateral attempt and mental gaffe, Saints coach Sean Payton said Monday that Colston followed the play he drew up. Payton also admitted he should have called the play earlier.
“We’re probably maybe a play early from [needing to call] it, but with no timeouts ... ” Payton said. “We’d kind of seen something on tape, Marques has got a pretty good arm. 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 to Cadet. So, yeah, he wasn’t freelancing.”
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Colston said he followed orders, but the throw wasn't his best:
"It's a play that we worked on," Colston said. "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."