How the hell did we make it through an entire offseason without this?
Deshaun Watson and Drew Brees both pulled off epic late-game heroics in what wound up being a 30-28 win for New Orleans. After starting the 2019 season off with two stinker primetime games — the Packers’ 10-3 snoozer win over the Bears, and the Patriots’ 33-3 curbstomping of the Steelers — the Saints and Texans more than delivered by being the first Monday Night Football game to ever have more than one lead change in the final minute.
And it also reminded us why we’re so glad to have football back.
50 seconds left: Deshaun Watson ripped two big throws to give Houston a one-point lead
With less than a minute to go and Houston needing a touchdown, Watson showed exactly why the Texans traded a future first-round pick to select him in the 2017 NFL Draft (and more future first-round picks to try to get him help).
On the next play and with another defender in his face, Watson — right before he got rocked — threw a beautiful pass to the recently acquired Kenny Stills for a 37-yard touchdown. Stills absolutely burned the Saints’ cornerback on his way to the end zone.
ALL DESHAUN NEEDED WAS TWO PLAYS pic.twitter.com/TPpYIUiPyR— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 10, 2019
Stills’ touchdown tied the game, but the drama on that drive didn’t stop there. Kicker Kai Fairbairn missed the extra point, but was able to try the kick again due to a roughing the kicker penalty. He made the kick on his second try to put Houston up 28-27.
6 seconds left: Houston’s defense fell asleep at the worst possible time
37 seconds, 35 yards, and six plays was all Brees needed. That and a gift from the Texans’ defense.
With the Saints just barely out of field goal range, Houston oddly decided to give the Saints’ receivers all the room in the world to get there.
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
The corner over Ted Ginn Jr. was playing almost 10 yards off of the line of scrimmage. Ginn caught a 9-yard pass and the Saints called the timeout they had been saving with two seconds on the clock.
2 seconds left: Wil Lutz redeemed himself to win the game
Wil Lutz absolutely nailed a 58-yard kick to win the game after Brees and Ginn put him in range:
Can't leave too much time for Deshaun.— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 10, 2019
Can't leave too much time for Brees.
WHAT. A. FINISH. pic.twitter.com/4LMgHJtcNO
Lutz had to come in and make things right after he missed a 56-yard field goal to close the first half — which, to be fair, was a longer kick than the Saints were hoping for due to an incorrect 10-second runoff by the officials.
This time, though, an official’s mistake didn’t end up costing them the game.
This was big game for both teams. The Saints were able to notch a win after an entire offseason of being miserable about their blown call against the Rams.
Watson proved he’s as relentless as ever— even though he took six sacks, was hit 11 times, pressured on 45 percent of his dropbacks, and made a couple trips to the medical tent. If Houston can protect him better, it shouldn’t be sweating a Week 1 road loss against a tough opponent too much. After all, the Texans started off last year at 0-3 and went on to finish as AFC South champs with an 11-5 record.
It’s just the first week of this season, but it’s hard to imagine too many games coming close to the thrill and excitement that the Texans and Saints blessed us with Monday night.
Football is back — and the last minute of this game showed us why we’re glued to our television every week.