Marcus Murphy won the Saints’ return job by fielding seven kicks and five punts in the preseason.
But he got a very different kin of chance altogether against the Packers on Thursday night.
With nothing to lose, the Packers sent kicker Mason Crosby out to try a 66-yard field goal attempt, a Herculean kick that few can replicate.
Crosby’s offering fell short.
And the Saints had Murphy waiting in the end zone.
“It’s a special situation, we work on it in training camp,” Saints coachSean Payton said. “You have to rehearse it.”
Murphy returned the kick 38 yards, ducking and weaving his way through the Packers and nearly breaking free. At one point, he cut back, and it looked like he might have gone all the way if he’d stayed outside.
New Orleans always practices the play. Rarely do the Saints get a chance to practice it in live action.
“The plus about it is the minute it’s caught, there’s generally a group of guys on the field goal team that aren’t as apt at tackling a returner,” Payton said. “I was kind of glad we got a chance to work it.”