Saints defensive back De’Vante Harris is an undrafted rookie trying to show his worth and make an NFL career for himself by impressing on special teams. Instead, he made one of the more dramatic misplays possible, obliterating his teammate Tommylee Lewis as Lewis tried to catch a punt.
As Lewis tried to track and catch the ball, Harris barreled in and completely decked him. Worried the ball had taken a bounce off his prone teammate, Harris then tried to pick up the wobbling ball off a hop and run with it. But he muffed the catch, and the Falcons picked the ball up and ran with it.
I like the look of Falcons gunner Taylor Gabriel here — “woah, look, I did not cause this to happen, he just made this enormous mistake on his own.”
Harris is an undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M hoping to show via special teams that he’s worth a spot on NFL rosters. It’s hard to imagine things going much worse than they did here: He failed to block, blindsided a teammate, and misjudged a ball in a way that led to a turnover.
Monday night’s game was supposed to be a callback to another Monday night game, the 10th anniversary of the Saints’ post-Katrina return to the Superdome. That game was highlighted by Steve Gleason famous punt block that led New Orleans to a win and has since been commemorated with a statue. But the Saints didn’t exactly pay tribute to Gleason’s amazing play (and post-football life) on the punt coverage team.