There was one huge unanswered question following the Saints 23-15 playoff loss to Seattle on Saturday: Was Marques Colston's lateral on the final play of the game a called by the Saints coaching staff or did Colston go rogue and decide to make an unplanned lateral across the field?
Saints coach Sean Payton didn't really answer the question when he was asked about it after the game, but he did it answer it on Monday. Payton said Colston's lateral was planned and that the Saints called the play because they saw something on film that made them think it would work.
Payton did concede that he might have called the play to early. There were 13 seconds left when Brees took a third-and-2 snap from the Saints' own 49.
"We're probably maybe a play early from [needing to call] it, but with no timeouts... " Payton said via ESPN.com. "We'd kind of seen something on tape, Marques has got a pretty good arm. You know, hindsight, [it was] a play where he could have caught it, stepped out and then maybe [we throw] a Hail Mary to the end zone. But it was a play we had put in a week and a half ago, prior to this game, which was a deep throw to Marques and then across the field to Cadet. So, yeah, he wasn't freelancing."
Colston caught a 13-yard pass from quarterback Drew Brees near the sideline at the Seattle 37 with eight seconds still showing on the clock. Colston's orders were to throw the ball across the field to running back Travaris Cadet, which he tried to do, as you can see below:
It might make Saints fans feel a little better to know that Colston didn't decide on his own to throw the ball, but it still doesn't change the fact that Colston threw the worst lateral ever, mainly because it wasn't even a lateral. Colston's throw was a forward pass, which was penalized as an illegal forward pass. The penalty led to a 10-second runoff and since there were less than 10 seconds left, that meant the end of the game.
Basically, Colston did the only thing he shouldn't have done, which is throw the ball forward. If Colston had thrown the ball backward and it skipped out of bounds, New Orleans would have still had a chance to run one more play.