NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Wil Lutz made a 58-yard field goal as time expired, and the New Orleans Saints beat the Houston Texans 30-28 on Monday night in a game that had three scoring plays in the final minute.
“That one’s got to be a top-one moment for me,” Lutz said, adding that as much as he tries to treat each kick the same, “I got to be honest. That one felt a little different.”
New Orleans had lost their previous five season openers. And after last season ended with a bitter loss in the NFC title game, the Saints had expressed urgency in recent weeks to start the 2019 campaign off well.
“I knew how big this win would be,” Lutz said. “There was a little more weight on my shoulders on that one.”
The moment the ball left Lutz’s foot, holder Thomas Morstead appeared to know it was good, and turned toward his kicker triumphantly flexing both arms at his side. Moments later, the crowd noise in the Superdome reached an ear-splitting crescendo as the ball split the uprights and Saints players began jubilantly streaming onto the field.
Deshaun Watson threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to former Saints receiver Kenny Stills with 37 seconds left, capping a two-play, 75-yard drive that put the Texans in front after they began their final possession down by six with 50 seconds left.
But there was just enough time for Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who capped a 370-yard, two-touchdown performance by completing a 15-yard pass to Ted Ginn Jr., an 11-yarder to Michael Thomas and another pass to Ginn for 9 yards in quick succession. That allowed New Orleans to save its final timeout until just 2 seconds remained and set up Lutz’s career-long kick.