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Questionable call, turnovers plague Saints as they fall to the Broncos

The Saints had it, or did they? Once again, the team can’t punch through the .500 mark.

NFL: Denver Broncos at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints had four turnovers against the Denver Broncos at home, and a blocked extra point that went back for a 2-point conversion ended up being the difference as the black and gold fell 25-23.

Unfortunately, the first half was as flat as they come for the Saints. The offense opened with a punt after their first five plays, and then Drew Brees had two interceptions on back-to-back drives. They followed that up with two more punts, and it took the final drive before the half to put points up on the board after Sterling Moore picked off a Trevor Siemian pass. The Saints had three sacks in the first half (Nick Fairley, Cameron Jordan, Dannell Ellerbe), and trailed 10-3.

Meanwhile, the Broncos first offensive drive went 85 yards in 13 plays that ended with a Jordan Taylor touchdown that got a second look after it appeared Jairus Byrd did enough to negate the catch. Siemian and the Broncos offense went 6-of-9 on third down conversions, and almost doubled the time of possession 19:16-10:44.

On the opening drive of the second half, Dennis Allen’s defense was gashed on the first two plays, but the Saints would hold the Broncos to force a punt around midfield. The offense would then come alive by going 90 yards in 10 plays that was capped off by a Willie Snead touchdown catch, which ended up being No. 450 in Brees’ career. Big plays to Brandin Cooks and Travaris Cadet helped move the team down the field.

Kenny Vaccaro would get a huge interception on the next drive, which put the Saints back in business. It’d only take 4 plays, but Brees would find Snead again for the second touchdown of the day to put the Saints up 17-10. After starting 4-of-10, Brees hit 13 straight.

Michael Thomas had his first real rookie mistake of the season after he caught a Brees pass following a missed field goal attempt by Brandon McManus, which gave possession right back to the Broncos. This time, they cashed in after a 3rd and Goal fade route to Demariyus Thomas over Delvin Breaux to tie the game at 17-17.

The Saints would punt on their next drive, and after a good return the Broncos would have excellent field position. A stupid unnecessary roughness penalty by Kenny Vaccaro would move them well into Saints territory. The defense would hold the Broncos to a field goal, but would pull ahead 20-17 with 3:23 left in the game.

The next offensive possession saw Michael Thomas fumble again to give the Broncos back the ball, and Brandon McManus would hit a 38-yard field goal with just 2:50 left in the game. Brees and the offense would march down the field before the 2-minute warning and Brees would find Brandin Cooks in double coverage to tie things up at 23. That’s when the stuff hit the fan, as the extra point would be blocked and the Broncos would return it for a 2-point conversion. It clearly looked as though the runner stepped out of bounds, but the referees didn’t see it that way.

Sean Payton and company now face a short week and travel to take on the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football in Week 11.