Momentum favored the New Orleans Saints early in the fourth quarter Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Defensively, the Saints likely were at their highest peak in terms of confidence after producing their first fourth-down stop of the season, facing fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 48-yard line and the score tied 27-27.
The Packers and running back Aaron Jones tested the left side of the Saints' defense, was stuffed, and Jones then shifted to his left side (and the Saints' right) to see if there was a soft spot.
No go there, either. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore caught him attempting to spin, stoned him at the 48 and slammed him backward behind the line of scrimmage.
Saints ball at the Packers' 48, with 13:07 left, courtesy of a spirited, fourth-down stop.
Two play later, that momentum was gone.
On first down, quarterback Drew Brees completed a seven-yard pass to Latavius Murray to move the Saints to the 41. Next play, with Taysom Hill at quarterback, he took a shotgun snap and kept the ball on a zone read play. Packers linebacker Za'Darius Smith was ready.
Smith not only caught Hill in the backfield, but also punched the ball loose and recovered it at the 43. Less than a minute after the Saints took possession – 48 seconds, to be exact – the Packers had the ball back.
Six plays later, kicker Mason Crosby made a 49-yard field goal to give Green Bay a 30-27 lead and after the Saints' offense couldn't respond to the score, the Packers took their next possession 64 yards in seven plays – aided by two pass interference penalties – and punched in a security touchdown in the Saints' 37-30 loss.
The lost fumble was New Orleans' only turnover; it was the only turnover in the game. But it proved to be a very significant one.