Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Coach Sean Payton called the league office after an NFC Championship loss to hear confirmation that officials blew a game-changing pass-interference call.
The missed penalty came with 1:45 remaining in the New Orleans Saints' 26-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Saints quarterback Drew Brees stepped back on a 3rd-and-10 play from the Rams' 13-yard-line. He tossed a pass to his right toward Tommylee Lewis.
Lewis turned back toward the ball but was hit by Nickell Robey-Coleman before the ball arrived. But the Saints weren't awarded a penalty by the referees. New Orleans ended the drive with a field goal to take a 23-20 advantage instead of having a chance at a late score
The Rams would tie the game with a field goal on their next drive to send the game to overtime.
"It was simple. They blew the call," Payton told reporters. "They said it should have never not been a call. They said not only was it interference, it was helmet to helmet. They couldn't believe it. We spoke initially then I called to follow up."
"The first thing [NFL vice president of officiating Al Riveron] said on the phone: 'We messed it up.'"
“It was simple, they blew the call.”— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 20, 2019
Saints head coach Sean Payton discusses the explanation he got from the officials about the controversial pass interference no-call. pic.twitter.com/nCCFqFmF5N
Robey-Coleman admitted that he arrived early on the play when speaking with reporters after the win.
"Yes, I got there too early," Robey-Coleman the MMQB. "I was beat, and I was trying to save the touchdown."
The Rams battle the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.