Damien Wilson knew right away he and the Cowboys were in trouble.
“Immediately. Immediately,” the rookie linebacker said.
The Cowboys insist they were not confused on the Saints’ game-winning touchdown in overtime Sunday. Middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens, making the calls after Sean Lee went out with a concussion, said his presnap call wasn’t heard by everyone.
“It was not confusion,” Hitchens said. “I’m not sure who didn’t get the call, but at the end of the day, it’s on the Mike and I’m the Mike, so I’ll take responsibility for that one and just trying to get the call out and as a team we lost, and that’s all that matters.”
Hitchens had Keith Smith on one side and Wilson on the other for the final play. Smith, subbing for Andrew Gachkar who limped off the previous play, and Wilson had played a combined 32 defensive snaps this season before the fateful play.
Wilson, who played two defensive snaps the first two games, took responsibility. He said he should have had outside leverage on running back C.J. Spiller.
“It was my man,” he said. “I just lost leverage on him. ... Hitch did a good job getting us all lined up. Yeah, just lost him.”
Spiller blew by Wilson, and Drew Brees found him for an 80-yard touchdown that ended the game only 13 seconds into overtime. Diving safety Barry Church missed Spiller at midfield, and Wilson had no chance of catching Spiller after he was beaten.
“I gave it all I had, you know?” Wilson said. “He’s a track guy.”
With Rolando McClain back from his suspension this week, and Lee hopeful of returning from a concussion, Wilson likely returns to full-time special teams duty. But he insists he’ll be more ready for his next chance on defense.
“I’m still learning,” the fourth-round pick said. “There’s still a lot I can better. I guess that’s what comes with the first year, just trying to pick up a little piece at a time.”