The New Orleans Saints showed why they're among the NFL's best teams by throughly dominating the Super Bowl champion Eagles on both sides of the ball during Sunday's 48-7 blowout win at the Superdome on Sunday.
But with about 13 minutes remaining in the game and the Eagles down by 31 points, Saints head coach Sean Payton decided to pour on by going for it on fourth down, leading to a 37-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to running back Alvin Kamara.
That didn't sit well with longtime Eagles radio announcer Merrill Reese, who made it clear on 94.1 WIP he wasn't too happy about Payton running up the score against the Eagles.
"Wouldn't you think that at this point that Sean Payton would be sportsmanlike enough to just run the football and maybe bring in Teddy Bridgewater to quarterback? I mean, they've won the game, alright," Reese said after the Saints fourth down touchdown.
"Maybe he's going for the scoring title," Mike Quick, Reese's broadcast partner, responded.
Reese was further angered when Brees came back on the field with the Saints up late in the fourth quarter by 38 points.
"I would be furious if I were Doug Pederson and saw Brees out there at this stage of the game," Reese said. "They're still throwing the football, Mike, and I think there's no point in that. … They're way, way, way out of reach."
"I hope they're proud of themselves. … At this point I'd be a little embarrassed," Reese added. "I realize that this is professional football, and there are no mercy rules. But very often when you are up by this amount of points, you call off the dogs. You make it conservative, you run the clocks."
During his post-game press conference, Payton explained why he decided to go for the jugular despite the Saints' seemingly-insurmountable lead.
"It was going to be a long field goal, longer than we wanted with a potential block," Payton said. "We still weren't at that point in the game. … You just have to play in one game where you're up 31 in the fourth quarter and lose, and that's an explosive offense."
Payton also made it clear the decision had nothing to do with losing a golf bet to Pederson during the offseason, which was the reason the Eagles were wearing their home jerseys on the road in New Orleans.
"I think a lot of Doug. We have a good friendship, and he's a heck of a coach," Payton said.
Reese wasn't the only one angered by the Saints' strategy. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who played five seasons in New Orleans, was caught flipping off Payton after being beaten by Kamara on that fourth down touchdown pass late in the game.
"We talked after the game. It's all good," Jenkins said following the game. "I know Sean. They're going to go for it. I was more so upset that it was on me."
"I think the world of him," Payton said of Jenkins during his press conference. "He is a tremendous player. I hate that he got out of here. That is probably as big of a mistake as we have made here in 13 years. He's made up of all of the right things. He's a tremendous competitor."