The Saints lost an absolute heartbreaker this past weekend to San Francisco, 48-46. The game was a back and forth matchup that included 10+ touchdowns.
The Saints ended up losing on the games’ last play as Robbie Gould connected on a 30-yard field goal to win it. While our boys in black did give all the credit to San Francisco’s offense, maybe there was a little more to it that pushed them over the edge.
During the 3rd quarter, Taysom Hill fired a pass down the right sideline during a fake punt attempt. The result of the play ended up an incompletion, but it wasn’t without controversy. The cornerback for San Francisco clearly interfered with Saints receiver Tre’Quan Smith on the play; and just like the NFC championship game against the Rams last season, no call was made.
The officials repeated twice over the PA that – by rule – there can be no pass inference on a gunner during a punt formation.
Now here is the kicker: while the rule is obscure, it seems the officials had a grasp on what the rulebook says, except a play from week 10 shows that maybe they don’t. The Cardinals successfully ran a fake punt against the Bucs in week 10, and the result? A first down by pass interference.
Now after watching this, you might say #12 wasn’t exactly lined up as a wide gunner; therefore, he is still eligible for pass interference. But, the Cardinals were lined up in punt safe and #12 cleary releases down the field. The definition of a gunner is clearly defined by the NFL, read below.
“In American football, a gunner, also known as a shooter, flyer, headhunter, or kamikaze, is a player on kickoffs and punts who specializes in running down the sideline very quickly in an attempt to tackle the kick or punt returner.”
By definition, #12 was a “gunner” and was interfered with. What do you think? The Atlantic’s Jeff Duncan gave his idea on why this was called, and not on the Saints.
Not the same play. In Cardinals’ fake, Cooper was not lined up outside, as Smith was for the Saints. Therefore the rule does not apply. It only applies to the player lined up widest in punt formation.
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) December 9, 2019
If you are scratching your head saying this is ridiculous, maybe it’s just the luck the Saints are having the past 6 months. One thing is certain: Referees or not, giving up 500+ yards on defense won’t beat most teams. On to the Colts we go,feeling slighted once again.