Drew Brees orchestrated the winning drive and Wil Lutz capped it with a career-long 58-yard field goal as the New Orleans Saints opened the season with a thrilling 30-28 win over the Houston Texas.
Brees and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson traded last minute heroics before Lutz nailed a walk-off field goal to give the Saints the win in a topsy-turvy season opener for both teams.
“It is crazy, that’s an amazing win,” Lutz said. “That’s got to be the top-one moment for me.”
Lutz’s kick came just moments after Watson had driven the Texans 75 yards for a touchdown in two plays in front of a crowd of 73,000 on Monday night at the Superdome stadium.
It gave the Saints a victory in their opener for the first time in six seasons.
“I knew we were going to get a chance,” said Lutz. “You got Drew Brees at the helm, you are going to get a chance.”
The final drama began with Houston’s go-ahead drive with 50 seconds left as Watson connected with DeAndre Hopkins for a 37-yard gain.
Watson then connected with former Saint Kenny Stills for a 37-yard touchdown.
Ka’imi Fairbairn missed the extra point, but Saints rookie C.J. Gardner-Johnson brushed Fairbairn and a penalty was called. Fairbairn converted on the second attempt to snap the tie.
Brees then completed three passes for 35 yards and the Saints called their final timeout with two seconds left.
They brought on Lutz, who had missed a 56-yarder on the final play of the first half.
“All I wanted was redemption after that miss at the half,” he said.
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 were hoping to begin the 2019 season on a winning note.
“I knew how big this win would be,” Lutz said. “There was a little more weight on my shoulders on that one.”
The 40-year-old Brees completed 32 of 43 passes. He threw one interception in the first half that could have proved costly. But he made up for it.
Asked what he was thinking on the last play, Brees said, “I think we all felt it was going to happen. The minute you heard the ball go off his foot, it was a thundering kick. We all knew it was going through the uprights.”
Watson also ran for a 21 yard touchdown in the second quarter and Hopkins snagged two touchdown passes in the game.
Elsewhere, Derek Carr threw a touchdown pass on the opening drive of the season and rookie Josh Jacobs rushed for two touchdowns as the Oakland Raiders defeated the Denver Broncos 24-16 in the late game.
The Raiders took out their frustrations over the drama surrounding former receiver Antonio Brown with a convincing win over the AFC West rival Broncos.
Carr completed 22 of 26 passes for 259 yards and wasn’t sacked once after being dragged down 51 times last season. Jacobs had 23 carries for 85 yards and a 28-yard reception.