Football Team

Collins: WFT's defense 'wasn't prepared' for Saints' Hail Mary

Football Team

After a back-and-forth first half, it appeared that the Washington Football Team was going to enter halftime of its Week 5 matchup against the New Orleans Saints tied at 13. 

Then, a Saints miracle happened. Quarterback Jameis Winston's prayer to end the half was answered, as wide receiver Marquez Callaway hauled in a 49-yard touchdown as the first half expired, giving New Orleans a seven-point cushion entering the break.

If that gaffe by Washington's defense wasn't embarrassing enough, what safety Landon Collins admitted after the game about the play was equally as eyebrow-raising.

"We were just thinking field goal, not Hail Mary," Collins said. "When the ball went up in the air, we just [weren't] prepared for that." 

So, if Washington's defense wasn't thinking Haily Mary with the Saints at midfield and under 10 seconds remaining, what was the unit actually expecting?

"We were expecting them to try and get the ball to the outside and try and get a field goal before half," Collins said.

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Watching the replay of the touchdown, it's clear the defense wasn't expecting a deep pass play, too. Washington's defensive backs were beaten to the end zone by multiple Saints wideouts, and when Winston's pass did reach the end zone, not even one Washington player tried to make a play on the ball.


Collins wasn't the only defender to admit Washington wasn't expecting a Hail Mary there, either.

"We weren't expecting them to go Hail Mary there," cornerback William Jackson III said. "A regular football team would try and get yards and kick a field goal. They did the right play at the right time."

Ron Rivera was asked about the play postgame, but the head coach failed to give much of an explanation on the defensive breakdown.

"They caught it," Rivera said. When the head coach was asked about the play once again minutes later, he responded with "we were supposed to have a man deep."

Regardless of who is to blame for Washington's breakdown on the Hail Mary, that play simply cannot happen. And, the fact that the group as a whole wasn't prepared for a Hail Mary is as much of a coaching breakdown as it is on the players.