x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Saints cling on to winning run by skin of their teeth

Garrett Hartley kicked an 18-yard field goal in overtime as the New Orleans Saints kept their unbeaten record intact with a 33-30 win over the Washington Redskins.

The Saints' Garrett Hartley kicks the game-winning field goal against the Redskins.
The Saints' Garrett Hartley kicks the game-winning field goal against the Redskins.

Garrett Hartley kicked an 18-yard field goal in overtime as the New Orleans Saints kept their unbeaten record intact with a 33-30 win over the Washington Redskins. The Saints (12-0) never led in the game until Hartley kicked his fourth field goal of the game six and a half minutes into overtime.

"They had us on our heels and we were fortunate to hang in there," said the Saints coach, Sean Payton. New Orleans trailed by 10 points deep into the fourth quarter, but Drew Brees's 53-yard pass to Robert Meachem and a Hartley extra point with 1:19 remaining tied the score at 30-30 and forced overtime. Washington (3-9) could have iced the game seconds earlier but Shaun Suisham was wide on a 23-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Redskins a 33-23 lead with 1:52 to play in regulation.

"The missed field goal was huge and gave us life and Drew marched us right down there and made some big plays," said Payton, whose team clinched the NFC South title with the win. Washington fumbled away their final chance in overtime when replay officials ruled Mike Sellers had lost the ball on the Redskins' 37-yard line. New Orleans then marched to the Washington one-yard line before giving Hartley a chance to seal the comeback.

"It was a great game," said the Redskins coach, Jim Zorn. "It just feels awful to stand up here and be the losing head coach again." The loss was the seventh in eight games for the Redskins. Washington led 10-0 after the first quarter and were ahead 30-20 early in the fourth before Brees, who passed for a season-high 419 yards and two scores, brought the Saints back. The Indianapolis Colts, the only other unbeaten team, tied an NFL record with their 27-17 win over the Tennessee Titans (5-7).

The win was their 21st consecutive regular-season victory, equalling the mark set by the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2008. "There were enough good things to make us feel pretty good about ourselves, and certainly enough things to humble us as well," said the Colts' coach, Jim Caldwell. Indianapolis, who had come from behind in their previous five games, took a 21-3 lead in the first-half with two rushing touchdowns by Joseph Addai and Peyton Manning's only touchdown pass of the game, to Austin Collie.

The Colts can break the consecutive win record when they play the Denver Broncos on Sunday. * With agencies