ARLINGTON, Texas — Drew Brees was having little trouble dissecting the Cowboys defense on the game-winning drive of overtime Sunday at Cowboys Stadium. But the game’s decisive play came with some controversy.
Brees connected with wide receiver Marques Colston around the Cowboys’ 24-yard-line on a play that initially looked like an incomplete pass. The ball came loose, and rolled forward to the Cowboys’ two-yard line. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham landed on it and Garrett Hartley drilled a 20-yard field goal one play later, giving the Saints a 34-31 victory.
The referees reviewed the play and said Colston made the grab, made a football move and then fumbled.
“He had two feet down, had possession of the ball and turned up field and got hit as his third step was coming down,” NFL Official Walt Coleman said. “He had possession and time enough to do something with the ball – a football move.”
The ball was not tucked against Colston’s body but Coleman said that is not needed to determine if a player has possession.
Coleman also explained why a forward fumble was allowed.
“In the overtime, you play fourth-quarter rules,” Coleman said, “so the fumble rule doesn’t start until you get to the two-minute warning – as far as the forward fumble rule where you would bring it back to the spot of the fumble.”