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Turning Point of the Game

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Jared Cook's 61-yard touchdown reception helped New Orleans Saints snap into form offensively against Tennessee

Another game action gallery from the New Orleans Saints win over the Tennessee Titans in week 16 of the 2019 NFL season.
Another game action gallery from the New Orleans Saints win over the Tennessee Titans in week 16 of the 2019 NFL season.

The New Orleans Saints needed something – anything – to inject a dose of adrenaline.

By no means were they out of Sunday's game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, trailing the Tennessee Titans just 14-3 when they took possession offensively with 2:34 left in the second quarter. But New Orleans had been about as un-Saint-like offensively as it had been at any point during the season: eight penalties called (seven of them accepted), four punts, two sacks allowed and 2 of 7 on third-down attempts.

Then, in one play, that all changed.

Actually, in truth, the change started with quarterback Drew Brees, who audibled at the line of scrimmage because he saw something he liked better. And what he liked better helped open the floodgates to a 38-28 victory for the Saints (12-3).

On first-and-10 from the Saints' 39-yard line, Brees got the Saints into an offensive set in which tight end Jared Cook came free on a crossing route from right to left in the middle of the field. Brees found him in stride and when Cook shed one would-be tackler, he finished off the play with a little help from his friends.

Cook got to the left sideline and headed for the end zone and, en route, he picked up a block from running back Alvin Kamara, who walled off a defender for a couple of seconds, enough time for Cook to gallop past and reach the end zone. Also on the play – not as prominent but perhaps as important – receiver Ted Ginn Jr. sprinted across the field to also get in a late block to ensure Cook's clear path.

The one-play, 61-yard drive - New Orleans' longest play from scrimmage this season - lasted 11 seconds. But in those 11 seconds, the Saints offense got back to being the unit that was averaging 34.8 points per game in its previous five games, and 40 points per game in its last two. And it gave New Orleans the turnaround play it sought in the first half.

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