NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The fourth-quarter hit on Kalif Raymond that created a fumble and set up a Saints' touchdown should have been called an illegal hit on a defenseless receiver, a former VP of officiating in the NFL said.

Mike Pereira, now of FOX, said by text he saw the play live. Looking again at video I shared he said he saw a hit on a defenseless receiver and could have also seen a case for an incomplete pass.RaymondHitSaints

Such a call by Jerome Boger's crew would have resulted in a first-and-10 from the Saints' 47 for the Titans with 4:06 left in the game. [Unlocked]

Instead, the fumble that resulted from C.J. Gardner-Johnson's hit on Raymond stood, as did his 37-yard return. The Saints drive 25 yards in six plays and 1:56 to a 2-yard Mike Thomas TD catch that puffed their lead to 38-28, the final margin.

As a turnover, the play was reviewable by New York, but not as a result of a challenge flag from Mike Vrabel.

Raymond was in concussion protocol as a result of the hit after the game and thus unable to share his thoughts on the hit.

Vrabel said he thought it was a hit to the head of a defenseless receiver.

"I did, but again, they didn’t see it that way," he said. "That’s what happens. It’s fast; it happens quickly. Again, it’s about player safety and about when that player becomes unprotected. There’s a certain time completing the process of the catch, and it’s a fine line."

Rayn Tannehill said he obviously hates to see such a hit on any icon 144x144 precomposed

He talked through the play and what he thought was going to happen from there, with the Titans down 3 when he threw it.

"They did a good job taking away Jonnu (Smith), No. 1," he said. "I reset and saw Kalif give him a good move at the top. I was able to give him the football over a backer, so I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, we’re across midfield. We’re rolling.’

"I saw the hit. I didn’t see the ball come out initially, but I saw their guys – I was kind of behind the O-line – scrambling for the ball, and knew what it was then. I wasn’t sure what the call was going to be because it was so bang-bang. Obviously, it didn’t go our way."

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