Sean Payton on fourth down: We wanted to make a play, fortunately they intercepted it

Getty Images

It’s not often that a coach is happy to see his quarterback throw an interception, but Saints coach Sean Payton felt fortunate when Panthers defensive back Mike Adams intercepted the Saints’ last pass.

Payton said after the Saints held on for a 31-26 win that his decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 with two minutes left in the game was all about trying to be aggressive. It didn’t work, but because Adams intercepted Drew Brees‘s pass rather than knocking it down, it didn’t cost the Saints as much field position as it could have.

“We went with a little hard count, called a timeout, and going to win the game,” Payton said. “I was talking to Drew about, we could punt there and play with a little longer field position, no timeouts for them, yet we felt we had a call. Tried to get Mike Thomas, they did a good job in coverage and they made a play. Fortunately it ended up being intercepted. That’s part of it.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera also said he wished Adams had knocked it down — and that the play had been reviewed on instant replay to determine whether Adams actually had possession.

“He’s excited, he’s got a chance to make a play,” he said. “You wish he would have dropped it or batted it down, just knowing the situation and circumstances.”

Adams should have known to knock the ball down, but in the heat of the moment he grabbed the ball and held on. That cost the Panthers about 16 yards of field position, which they could have used as their final drive fell short. It was an interception that ended up helping the team that threw it.

35 responses to “Sean Payton on fourth down: We wanted to make a play, fortunately they intercepted it

  1. Yes it did! He was in a hurry to get a stat and forgot to play situational football. Despite what Vikings fans might think, I think the Saints are relishing a chance at a rematch with them, after that abysmal showing in Week I.

  2. Absoutely idiotic play call (and I’m a Saints fan). Saints won in spite of Sean Payton today.

    But, hey, he’s the biggest genius that’s ever coached. If you doubt that, just ask him.

  3. Mike Adams is not a rookie. He has to know the situation, and the down, and what the smart play is. That play along might have cost them the game.

  4. It was a 16 yard difference, big deal. Panthers got it all back on the first play. Only savings would’ve been the time on the clock, as the Panthers and Saints would’ve played the same defense and offence when it got deeper into the Saints territory.

    If Adams knocks it down and it bounces off someone’s knee and to a Saint, all the football experts would’ve said he should’ve caught it.
    It’s not as if he was in his own end zone and wide open…he was battling for the ball with Saint players in the area, and you don’t risk that your arms get hit while batting it away or it bounces somehow to a Saints player.

  5. Mike Adams almost bailed Marlon McCree out for historical defensive stupidity. Cam def bailed pompous Sean Payton out from making a historical playoff coaching blunder.

  6. If drew completes the fourth down pass, Sean Peyton is a genius. Drew can’t convert a 4th and 2 and everyone is trashing Sean Peyton? Sean Peyton is a great coach great play caller but it all comes down to the players executing the play.

  7. Who cares….he had 2 chances to win it instead of 1. Once on offense, then from the Carolina 30 on defense. You punt….who knows what happens….chances are, Cam is at the 50 in 2 plays instead of 1. I don’t understand the old football in the dirt mentality of just punting it away and holding on for dear life.

  8. I still don’t understand how the interception was a g.d. catch! In a year in which the catch rule has been brought up over and over and over again, at what point did the criteria for establishing possession get met? Maybe that was the case, but we hardly even saw a reply, and how was it not close enough to at least merit review? The review process this year has been a tire fire.

  9. I don’t understand any of these negative comments. The call was good. They wound up sacrificing perhaps 15 yards for a 50/50 chance to win the game. The Panthers had it covered and it failed. So what? Nothing dumb about it.

  10. If Panthers receiver doesn’t give up the 7 points on the catch, and their kicker doesn’t muff the 25 yard FG, the Saints are trailing in the 4th qtr. Cam threw great, he simply had no reliable receivers. That loss is on Panther management…again!

  11. Aints Will be CRUSHED by the PURPLE PEOPLE EATERS next Sunday!!! Too bad the game is not also outside! Many Aints would simply Freeze to death…. LOL.

  12. Revenge Tour Gets Started Next Sunday! First the Aints then the Falcons and Finally the Steelers! Wish Terry Bradshaw was handing the Vikings the Trophy Too! That would be Perfect!!!

  13. If he gets it he’s a genius and if he doesn’t he’s an idiot. Payton is a great coach and has been a risk taker his entire career (onside kick in the super bowl). Every Monday morning qb can pick it apart but if they get it newton never sees the field and the game is over. I just didn’t like that they called a timeout right before to do that.

  14. Aints Will be CRUSHED by the PURPLE PEOPLE EATERS next Sunday!!! Too bad the game is not also outside! Many Aints would simply Freeze to death…. LOL…

  15. When you’re in that moment, the ball slows down and you can see the laces, you hear nothing. You see nothing. He just caught it. It happens.

    Like a poster said above: It costs them 15 seconds. The D and is all different if they’re at the 50 and not the 35, so you can’t assume Cam throws for 15 from the 50.

    And Funchess was playing with one arm. Two totally game changing non catches in the final few minutes. Can’t blame him but Cam was going too vertical at the end. Plenty of time to run crossing patterns or something. It was like he was in desperation mode when he didn’t need to be desperate. Wouldn’t be surprised if he has a concussion.


    Sean Payton sure seems like a tool. Might be a nice guy for all I know but he comes across as an arrogant know it all, like Jim Scwartz does.

  16. Past Saints team I would have understand the need to not put defense back on field. If this were a two point game I would have at least understood his risk/reward view, though still disagreed. And why on Earth would the qb be a part of such a decision as he later stated–coaches are paid to NOT listen to the players when emotions inevitably get involved.

    Coach had horseshoe up his butt to get away with that suicide wish, defensive organization and play calling on last two plays saved him. Fortunate for Saints there were a few adults around when the game was on the line–head coach was not one.

  17. Absoutely idiotic play call (and I’m a Saints fan). Saints won in spite of Sean Payton today.

    But, hey, he’s the biggest genius that’s ever coached. If you doubt that, just ask him.

    he is a genius but sometimes geniuses overthink and outsmart themselves.

  18. I’m not a huge Payton fan, but I liked that call. When you have a HOF QB you try to win the game. So many coaches get too conservative and end up losing. Hind sight is 20-20, but most of us would be shaking in our boots if we ever got the opportunity to put on a headset.

  19. stupid play call. lucky outcome based on defenders who are morons. Seriously, kids know to drop an interception if it’s 4th down. how does a professional not know this?

  20. The decision to go for it was dumb. Throwing the ball up for grabs was even dumber. Then the Panthers DB made a dumb play by intercepting the ball. I get that they turned the ball over on downs regardless of whether that was an actual interception or not but by rule that play should have been reviewed. Field position was a critical factor and there was a legit question as to whether he had possession. If that panther player had been a saints receiver it would have gone to review and may have been overturned. Same catch rules apply to DBs.

  21. To those who have never been there:

    I was playing LCB and 4th and 1 from the goal line, they threw the fade. I was covering their best receiver 1 on 1, in his face. I turned with his eyes and there was the ball. I could have caught it and ran 100 plus the other way. I could have caught it and kneeled. I grabbed/slammed it to the ground. Then we kneeled from the 1 for 3 plays and it was over.

    But I got yelled at for not catching the ball. What if a bad snap from the 1 blah blah blah.

    So you can’t win because everyone MMQB’s including your own coach who should have been thrilled. Next time I tried to catch the ball in a similar situation it went through my hands (I played both ways as a WR and it was an easy catch) and the guy scored.

    We had a 2 minute or so to comeback and a guy dropped a TD pass, so it was on me.

    I love all this situational football stuff when people never played. Yeah, you know not to go out of bounds, you know to intercept a pass and not fumble when the catch is the seal. Yes, he should have knocked the ball down but sometimes it works both ways.

    PS : He didn’t even catch the ball unless the catch rule is somehow different when intercepting (which is impossible). So you can add bad refereeing to a bad call by Payton to a good play on D that should have been a great play, if done correctly.

  22. Read enough of the above stuff. The ONLY good call, after trying to draw an offside call, was a “pooch” punt to take as much time as possible, which was the biggest problem. It might also have resulted in deeper penetration or a fumble opportunity. This does qualify for the Seahawks silliest play of the century award!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.