The Eagles, trailing 13-10 with about six minutes left, had a chance to force overtime against the Saints or win them in regulation time. Then came a pick-six from Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore that iced the game.
After the game, Lattimore called PFT to say that he could tell from the formation that the ball was coming at an angle towards the man he was marking, receiver AJ Brown.
Lattimore explained that he realized what was going on through studying film and the flow of the game.
“The movie is one thing, but when you get on the field you have to get a feel for everything that’s going on,” Lattimore said. “I gained weight throughout the game, the whole game. When the opportunity presented itself, I had to take it. It. I really should have gotten it earlier, earlier like the first half. I should have had one.”
Lattimore said it was a combination of seeing Brown split alone on one side of the field and moving before snapping.
“I just picked it up,” Lattimore said. “I just knew it was coming. I just knew.”
On Monday, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni accepted the blame for calling a game that the defense could foresee.
“I accept responsibility for the interception,” Sirianni told reporters. “We came back to a game that we had run earlier in the game and they recognized it and made a game out of it. We gave them a recognizable formation and they made a game out of it. We put them in a difficult position right there. I think that’s obviously a major turning point in what people think of as Gardner [Minshew’s] gaming. You’ll put a lot of that into this piece. But I take responsibility for that. It’s up to me We put him in a difficult position right there.”
The pre-snap movement put four receivers on one side and Brown alone on the other.
“It’s a very recognizable formation,” Sirianni said. “A good corner made a game. . . . You recognized it. [Saints coach] Dennis Allen is a good coach. He recognized it. They made an adjustment. They did a play.”
It’s the kind of mistake that’s easier to make late in the season given how much film there is out there. Self-scouting becomes critical as the playoffs get closer, because there’s enough evidence on tape for savvy defensive coaches to spot trends and their players to be prepared to spot them — especially when savvy players like Lattimore see it coming.