(The Sports Xchange) - Drew Brees threw for 511 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints beat the New York Giants 52-49 at the Superdome on Sunday.
Brees tied an NFL record with his seven touchdown throws, and he and Giants quarterback Eli Manning (30 of 41 for 350 yards and six TDs) combined for an NFL-record 13 scoring passes.
However, it was placekicker Kai Forbath who decided the outcome by nailing a 50-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Saints, who started the season 1-4, to their third consecutive victory.
“I’ve never been a part of something like that,” said Brees, who led the Saints on a 14-play, 80-yard march in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 49 with a 9-yard scoring pass to running back C.J. Spiller.
“When you reflect on it, it’s pretty wild, with that much scoring and that many yards on both sides. We were just in the flow of the game. Every time we got the ball, it was just a sense of urgency, being efficient and going down and scoring points.”
The Saints rolled up 614 yards and 36 first downs and had six touchdown drives of at least 80 yards against the Giants. But it took a wild sequence in the final 36 seconds to set up the improbable victory after New York had rallied from a 42-28 deficit to take a 49-42 lead with 21 fourth-quarter points.
With the game tied 49-49, the Giants took over at their 20-yard line with 36 seconds remaining. They gained 5 yards in three plays -- using a pair of timeouts -- and Brad Wing was forced to punt with 20 seconds left.
The Giants didn’t instruct Wing to punt out of bounds, and Saints’ returner Marcus Murphy fielded the 46-yard punt near the left sidelines and returned it 24 yards to the Giants’ 47, where he was hit and coughed up the ball.
Saints wide receiver Willie Snead alertly hauled in the fumble in mid-air, but on the tackle, Wing grabbed Snead’s facemask, drawing a flag with five seconds remaining.
After the officials huddled, referee Craig Wrolstad initially waved off the flag, meaning the Saints would have the ball near midfield with time for a Hail Mary pass. But Wrolstad then enforced the original facemask call, moving the ball to the Giants’ 32. That set up Forbath for the game-winner.
“He was outstanding,” said New Orleans coach Sean Payton of Forbath, signed just three weeks ago.
“Brees had seven touchdowns, and we told them the game ball was going to the kicker.”
Despite the loss, the Giants (4-4) remain atop the NFC East, but the result showed that quarterback Manning, who has won two Super Bowls, will have to carry his team if they intend to make the playoffs.
“I thought our offensive line protected well and we had good run-pass action, the receivers were winning the one-on-ones,” Manning said.
“We had a lot of opportunities, a lot of plays. We were able to convert on some third downs, convert some fourth downs. It’s a tough one to bite on right now.”