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Tommylee Lewis on fumble: 'Just a dumb play by me'

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The New Orleans Saints defense saved Tommylee Lewis from a sobering walk down the aisle of ignominy.

With the Saints clinging to a three-point lead and 1:51 remaining on the clock, the receiver took the handoff near the goal line on a jet sweet. Lewis raced to the boundary and leaped from the 2-yard-line in hopes of reaching the end zone.

The ball, however, was popped out of his hands, and flew out of bounds through the end zone, referees determined. By rule, a fumbled ball out of bounds through the end zone is a touchback for the defense.

Instead of a game-sealing score, Lewis breathed life back into a fading Panthers squad.

"Just trying to do too much, trying to get in the end zone," Lewis said after the game, via Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune. "At that time in the game, that's a bad play just by me. Luckily, the defense came through in the clutch for me. I'll learn from it, just a dumb play."

Luckily for Lewis, Cam Newton's shoulder is currently hindering him from throwing the ball more than 15-yards, and the Saints defense held on to preserve the 12-9 victory.

"Relieved ain't the word," Lewis said. "I'm grateful. I'm glad they came through for me, for us and the team. At that time in the game, we're up, don't really need a touchdown. Just a dumb play by me."

The end zone fumble rule continues to be a baffling policy, but the play-call was also a questionable one for the Saints, who could have burned 40 seconds off the clock and kicked a field goal to extend the lead had Lewis simply slid down when his path was contested.

In the end, the Saints escaped with the win and are one step closer to securing home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

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