The New Orleans Saints 2020 season has now come and gone following their divisional-round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite falling short of the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl title, New Orleans claimed their 4th consecutive NFC South championship and displayed consistent resilience in the face of adversity.
Until the Super Bowl, we will look at 10 moments that defined the New Orleans Saints’ 2020 campaign. #10 is the Saints' overtime victory over the Chargers on Monday Night Football.
Saints QB Drew Brees faced off against the team that drafted him and released him in possibly his last Monday Night Football game. The move ultimately paved his way to joining the New Orleans Saints. In the thrilling overtime victory in Week 5, Brees had his best passing performance of the season.
The NFL’s All-Time leading passer gave the national audience a vintage performance, throwing for 325 yards and 2 total touchdowns. Brees also completed a season-high 33 passes on 42 attempts to go along with yet another Game-Winning drive.
New Orleans was fresh off a week of adversity with a COVID-19 scare before Week 4 against Detroit and superstar WR Michael Thomas ruled out of Monday Night's action for disciplinary reasons. The Saints started slowly against the Chargers, falling behind 20-3 in the late stages of the second quarter.
Despite the slow start, New Orleans felt the momentum shift in their direction right before half, converting an eight-play, 51-yard drive into 7 points, and headed into the locker room down 10.
The Saints were 2-2 and at a crossroads at this point in the season. They were down at halftime in Week 5 and had yet to play their best football. The next half of football would dictate the direction of the team moving into their bye week. Were the Saints real contenders for football's ultimate prize - the Super Bowl?
THE SECOND HALF
Out of the gate into the second half of action, both teams could not match the high energy from the first half. Instead, both sides would leave the fireworks for the fourth quarter.
The entertaining final quarter began as New Orleans tied the game on a Drew Brees 41-yard touchdown pass to TE Jared Cook with a little over 11:00 minutes remaining. The pass would be Brees' longest touchdown pass of the season in terms of air yards and second-longest overall (52-yards to Alvin Kamara in Week 3).
The teams would both trade touchdowns late in the game, and then just like any successful season, luck was on the Saints' side.
Following a Taysom Hill Touchdown scamper with less than a minute remaining in the contest, Chargers' QB Justin Herbert led his squad on a 48-yard drive. They marched into position for a 50-yard game-winning field goal attempt from K Michael Badgley but his kick rattled off the right goal post and sent the game into overtime.
With the ball "literally" bouncing the Saints way - off of one of the upright posts - New Orleans executed a scoring drive with their first possession in overtime. Saints K Wil Lutz connected on a 36-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 3 point lead.
New Orleans' defense would make a fourth-down stand near mid-field with an incredible tackle from CB Marshon Lattimore to keep WR Mike Williams from extending the football for a first down. New Orleans would be victorious, 30-27. The win moved them into the bye week with a 3-2 overall record.
While it was not a pretty victory by any stretch of the imagination, this game was a turning point in the season for New Orleans. The Saints found an identity in the weeks that followed. In the overtime win, they proved their resilience as a football team. New Orleans continued winning seven consecutive games on the season.
Sometimes you have to get lucky. The Saints certainly did have a little luck on that Monday night in October. That ounce of luck gave New Orleans the ability to find their groove and pivot their season 180 degrees, which is why this moment lands in our Saints Top 10 Moments of 2020.
Saints News Intern Joe Mcguan contributed to the Article Series: Top 10 Defining Moments of Saints 2020 Season.
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