Nov 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Denver Broncos defensive back Will Parks (34) returns a blocked extra point for two points during the fourth quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Broncos defeated the Saints 25-23. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
WORST MOMENT OF THE 2016 SEASON: BLOCKED EXTRA POINT LEADS TO A LOSS VS. DENVER
If you were to go back through and review the entire Saints 2016 season and pick out just ONE SPECIFIC MOMENT that summed up the year for New Orleans, it was easily near the end of the game in the eventual loss to 25-23 loss to Denver.
The Saints had come into the game with a 3-game winning streak and were seeking to have their first winning record during the season since 2013, which was the last year the Saints had a winning season and made the Playoffs,
In a crazy back and forth game that saw both teams have and then lose big leads, the Saints got the ball back following a Denver field goal that put them ahead, 23-17.
The Saints got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff and with under 2 minutes to play, Drew Brees drove the Saints down the field with a masterful drive, and connected with WR Brandin Cooks on a near-miraculous 32 yard TD catch in the endzone with 2 Broncos defenders all around him.
This game would have been remembered for the big play that the Saints’ 3rd year superstar made, had it not been for what happened next.
All the Saints had to do was kick the extra point to take a 24-23 lead, and have the defense stop the Broncos one last time to preserve the win and win their 4th straight game.
But as the Saints prepared to snap the ball for the kick attempt, Denver defensive back Justin Simmons hurdled Saints long-snapper Justin Drescher for the block, which was then scooped up by Broncos rookie cornerback Will Parks for the score.
Replays showed that Denver may have been guilty of a penalty that allowed Simmons to make the block in the first place, and then that Parks may have stepped out of bounds as he was running down the sidelines for the winning score.
Unfortunately, the NFL says that Simmons’ hurdle of Drescher was legal, though replays showed that Drescher may have been held down by Broncos defensive end Jared Crick.
Nevertheless, it appeared that the referees missed both calls; but there are no “do-overs” in the NFL — meaning that despite the manner in which the game ended, it was a stunning loss for New Orleans.
The Saints never seemed to recover from that point — and it seemed as if any momentum and confidence that the team had built on all season long in a year full of tough breaks and heart-breaking last-minute finishes, came all crashing down at once.