Sean Payton doesn’t need a lot of lobbying to be aggressive.
But when punter Thomas Morstead got in his ear, it was clear they were going to go for it.
The decision to fake a punt on fourth-and-1 from their own 30-yard line in the second quarter was the pivotal one for the Saints, the first spark of life in a comeback from a 14-0 deficit to beat the Eagles.
“I was sitting there telling him, ‘Let’s run it,’” Morstead said of Payton, via Christopher Dabe of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Morstead does his day job less often than most punters anyway, so maybe he’s just lazy. Or more likely, he had an idea it was going to work. It was actually the fourth time they’ve successfully converted a fake punt this year, after doing it against the Giants and Ravens in the regular season, and one in the preseason against the Chargers.
That gave him and spare quarterback/favorite toy of Sean Payton’s Taysom Hill a chance to do his thing, and he burrowed through the line for the 4-yard gain — which was their second-longest rush of the day to that point.
“That was definitely a big spark,” Saints guard Larry Warford said. “It’s happened a couple times this season where we don’t even know — it’s just the special teams knows we need something and they go after it. They’re not worried about failing, it’s, ‘We’re going to get it, and we’re going to get the offense going.’ That’s this team, man.”
Plays such as that one have given the Saints a tangible confidence this year, which has helped them to the NFC Championship Game next week.