Turner came up with key rejection in win over Falcons

Published 1:20 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

By John DeShazier

New Orleans Saints

METARIE, La — Amid the mass of behemoth football players sweating and straining and jostling at the snap, Payton Turner estimated he had enough time to move about an inch.

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Fortunately for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, it was the right inch.

Turner blocked Younghoe Koo’s 63-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, preserving New Orleans’ 27-26 victory over Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Turner’s block preserved the largest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history (the Saints trailed 26-10 with 12:41 left after Koo’s 27-yard field goal) and gave the second-year defensive end the biggest play of his brief career.

“I just got off the ball and got my hand up,” Turner said Monday. “You got to move probably like an inch by the time you see the ball get kicked. So I was in the right spot at the right time.”

Turner said special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi dialed up the block once Atlanta reached field goal range and after that, he was the player that managed to get a full palm on the attempt.

“We went out there, defense made a good stop, (kicker) Wil Lutz down and kicked a 51-yard field goal (to give the Saints their 27-26 lead),” Turner said. “They moved the ball a little bit, got in position to go out there and kick a field goal. We needed (the block), so Rizz dialed it up. We went out there, me and (defensive tackle) Shy (Tuttle) were over there on the right side. We all had our hands up there, but I got my hand on it.

“You’ve got to rush every field-goal block the same. You’ve just got to get off and try to get your hand up.”

After the block: Pandemonium.

“It was lit. It was lit,” Turner said. “There were a lot of New Orleans fans out there, I saw them dancing in Mercedes-Benz. It was dope. We got to get the dub and got out of there with the win.”