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John DeShazier's turning point in Saints comeback win over Washington

Posted Nov 20, 2017

Te'o, Bell team up for huge third-down stop

If Washington had converted, ballgame. It was as simple as that.

When the New Orleans Saints lined up to defend Washington’s third-and-1 attempt from Washington’s 34-yard line, with the Saints trailing 31-23 with 2:38 remaining and no timeouts remaining, the failure to produce a stop would have meant the end of New Orleans’ seven-game winning streak.

If Washington had converted, it would have been able to run out the clock because the Saints no longer would have had the ability to stop it.

Washington went heavy on the play, with guard Tyler Catalina reporting as eligible. The Saints played heavier.

Rookie running back Semaje Perine took the handoff from quarterback Kirk Cousins and ran off right tackle, testing the left side of the Saints’ defense. There, he found resistance, a charge led by linebacker Manti Te’o and safety Vonn Bell. Te’o and Bell not only stuffed the play, but spearheaded a gang-tackle effort that resulted in a one-yard loss to force a punt with two minutes remaining.

Because of the tackle for loss, the Saints’ defense handed back the ball to the offense, and it took the offense all of 48 seconds to drive 87 yards in four plays, to score a touchdown and a score-tying two-point conversion to force overtime.

The Saints went on to win 34-31 in overtime, with 18 fourth-quarter points and an overtime field goal to erase a 31-16 deficit, and win the first game in franchise history when trailing by 15 or more points at any time in the fourth quarter.