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JOESAM2002 12-22-2003 12:01 PM

All go special........

All Go Special just goes for naught on missed kick

Bizarre play turns into bizarre finish

Monday December 22, 2003

By Brian Allee-Walsh
Staff writer

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. -- From a historical perspective, it goes down as a 75-yard touchdown pass from Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks to wide receiver Jerome Pathon against the Jacksonville Jaguars at ALLTEL Stadium.

But that doesn't begin to tell the whole bizarre story of what happened four days before Christmas.

"The only thing missing was the band," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said after his team beat the Saints 20-19 Sunday when Saints kicker John Carney missed a potential tying extra-point attempt as time expired.

"It was a surreal feeling," Pathon said. "My head is still hurting. It's not something you expect to go down, just the opposite. Right now, I'm confused."

What began innocently enough with six seconds remaining and the Jaguars leading 20-13 developed into a finish for the ages.

Facing second-and-10 from the Saints' 25, Brooks called "All Go Special," a pass play that features wide receiver Michael Lewis, running back Deuce McAllister and Pathon bunched wide left and wide receiver Dontè Stallworth flanked wide right.

Stallworth caught Brooks' pass at midfield and eluded the arm tackles of Jaguars cornerback Fernando Bryant and safety Deke Cooper. Stallworth broke another arm tackle inside the Jaguars' 40.

"My main thing was to run to daylight and not get tackled with the ball in my hands," Stallworth said. "I ran to the middle of the field and saw Mike (Lewis) out there by himself. He said he yelled, but I didn't hear him. I threw a duck to him and he caught it. It was all instincts on our parts."

Hemmed in, Stallworth pitched the ball to Lewis at the Jaguars' 33. Lewis maneuvered his way to the Jaguars' 26 before giving the ball to McAllister.

With Jaguars defenders trying to pin him against the sideline, McAllister came to a stop and threw a spiral back to Pathon, who caught the ball in stride at the 21.

Pathon put an exclamation point on the sandlot play by diving into the end zone, leaving the Saints an extra point away from sending the game into overtime.

"I hung back a little bit hoping that Deuce would see me," said Pathon, who trailed the play after blocking Jaguars strong safety Donovin Darius. "I don't know how he anticipated me being there, but he threw a perfect ball right to me. I barely had enough energy to get to the end zone, but we made it happen.

"Fate is funny. You would think that at that point in time that you're destined to win the game, but fate has a funny way of interfering with things."

Replay official Bobby Skelton reviewed the play and ruled the Brooks-to-Stallworth-to-Lewis-to-McAllister-to-Pathon touchdown was legal.

Asked if the Saints had worked on that play in practice, Saints coach Jim Haslett said: "Not that version."

"Nothing had to be said in the huddle," said Brooks, who threw a good block on Jaguars defensive end Hugh Douglas to help clear Pathon's path to the end zone. "We all knew the situation. You're back (75) yards with six seconds left and you need a prayer or two (answered). It was a miracle that we were able to get in the end zone."

"It could have gone down in the annals of the National Football League," said Saints center Jerry Fontenot, who got the ball rolling with a snap to Brooks in shotgun formation. "But there are no gimmes in this league."

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