Saints stay perfect with overtime win over Redskins
LANDOVER, Md. -- The New Orleans Saints completed a sensational comeback as kicker Garrett Hartley hit an 18-yard game-winning field goal in overtime to slip by the Washington Redskins, 33-30.
New Orleans improved to 12-0. The Saints also clinched the NFC South title after Atlanta loss 34-7 to Philadelphia.
Washington (3-9) fumbled on the first series of overtime. The Saints drove to the Redskins 1 to set up Hartley's kick with 8:37 remaining in the extra period.
Saints head coach Sean Payton credited the Redskins for their effort.
"They had us on our heels and we were fortunate to hang in there," Payton said.
Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham missed wide right on 23-yard field goal late in regulation, which would have given Washington a two-score lead over the Saints in the closing minutes.
The Saints answered with an 80-yard drive for a touchdown without any timeouts. Quarterback Drew Brees found wide receiver Robert Meachem wide open over the middle for a 53-yard touchdown pass with 1:19 remaining.
Brees went 35-of-49 passing for 419 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His first touchdown pass was a 40-yard score to wide receiver Marques Colston in the second.
Meachem also scored in the second after he forced and recovered a fumble on a Redskins interception return. Meachem returned the fumble 44 yards.
Meachem led the Saints with eight catches for 142 yards on a day when the team struggled rushing. Running back Mike Bell led the team in rushing with 34 yards.
“I definitely believe in destiny and I believe in karma and what goes around comes around," Brees said. "We have been on the other side of this deal probably too many times, maybe its our time that we start catching some of the breaks and start being the team that wins them like this in the end. I feel like if you continue to do things the right way then good things happen to you."
Hartley, who stepped in for injured starting kicker John Carney, finished 4-of-5 on field goals with a long of 34.
"He's cool, calm and collected and he obviously made some big kicks for us today," Payton said of Hartley.
Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell called the game the strangest he has been a part of.
"We take our hats off to the Saints," the former Auburn quarterback said. "They are a great football team. Drew Brees is a great quarterback. We just have to continue to fight."
New Orleans will travel to Atlanta next for the second match-up of the season between the divisional foes. The Dec. 13 game will kick off at noon.