Tom Brady pulled off one of the most miraculous comebacks of his career on Monday night and one of the reasons it happened is because he got a little bit of help from the Saints, who made a few boneheaded plays down the stretch during the Buccaneers' wild 17-16 win.
The most egregious mistake made by New Orleans came on a gaffe that was so bad that the player involved -- Mark Ingram -- actually apologized for it after the game.
So what did Ingram do? Let's go over it real quick.
With 6:12 left to play in the game, the Saints were facing a second-and-8 from their own 49-yard line. With a 16-3 lead, the Saints were looking to burn some clock and possibly get a score to ice the game. On the second-down play, Andy Dalton hit Ingram in the flat and it looked like he was going to run for an easy first down, but then HE RAN OUT OF BOUNDS before he got the first down.
Ingram had been injured earlier in the game and he clearly didn't want to take a hit from Devin White there, which is why he ran out of bounds, but the fact of the matter is that he could have very easily gotten a first down.
If Ingram gets the extra yard, the Saints could have burned even more clock because they would have gotten a fresh set of downs. At that point, the Buccaneers would have likely had to start using their timeouts. If the Saints get the first down and run the ball three straight times without the Bucs using any timeouts, New Orleans could have milked the clock to under four minutes.
Instead, Ingram didn't get the first down. The Saints then threw an incomplete pass on third-and-1, which stopped the clock, and then New Orleans ended up PUNTING on fourth-and-1 from Tampa Bay's 40-yard line. Ingram's bad decision ended up being the start of a total meltdown for New Orleans.
Following the game, Ingram apologized for his decision-making.
Im sick about this one. Regardless of circumstances or how I feel I have to get that fresh set of downs for the squad. I apologize to my teammates my coaches and my city for a crucial mistake. We work way too hard and sacrifice blood sweat and tears. I will be better. ⚜️🖤— Mark Ingram II (@markingramII) December 6, 2022
It's easy to blame Ingram for the loss, but there's a lot of blame to go around for New Orleans. The Saints defense had two chances to stop Brady in the final five minutes, but came up empty both times. Brady set several personal records and even one NFL record during the win and .