The New Orleans Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the closing game of Sunday’s NFL program. The final result was 20:30 for the guest from Louisiana.
It was January the 15th this year, when Drew Brees and his teammates left Minneapolis devastated after they lost the NFC Divisional Round. Back then, Stefon Diggs annihilated Saints dreams of reaching their second Super Bowl title. That game was called the Minneapolis Miracle.
However, last night we didn’t see any wonders at the U.S. Bank stadium. The Saints cleverly used all the mistakes made by the Vikings and improved their record which now stands at six wins and only one loss, making them a legitimate Super Bowl contender once again. Also, we need to add that Minnesota (3-4-1) played without Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr, two guys who are the cornerstones of their defense.
Thielen’s Fumble Changed Everything
The game didn’t start as the Saints wanted. Kirk Cousins was perfect in the first two drives, and the home team scored two touchdowns from both. Brees, whose numbers were not at his usual level, responded with a similar intensity, but the edge was still on the Vikings side. All that changed in the late part of the second quarter when Marshon Latimore picked up a fumble made by Adam Thielen, and ran for 54 yards, giving the perfect starting position for his offensive team to change the flow of the game. Shortly after that, Alvin Camara carried the ball into the end zone, and for the first time, the guests had a lead, 17:13.
After the game, Sean Payton stated that the play changed everything for his team, and that they started playing better and better.
“That point shift was big,” said Saints coach. “That’s a 10-point swing and was a huge sequence for us.”
Coming into the third quarter, Vikings started playing more aggressive and riskier, but Latimore once again denied all their efforts after he forced Laquon Treadwell’s fumble. It eventually led to a field goal and increasing of the lead. It was now 20:13 for the Saints and Payton could be a bit more relaxed than some half an hour ago. Meanwhile, the pressure started to bind Vikings offense and their leader. P.J. Williams intercepted Kirk Cousins’ pass, and the ex-Florida State sealed the faith of the hosts with a 45-yard return. Williams was involved in Thielen’s fumble, as he and Alex Anzalone stopped Vikings wide receiver before Latimore picked up the ball.
“Man, anybody that played here last year, they can say anything. But we definitely wanted to come in here and get this win bad,” P.J. Williams said. “We knew they were a good team, this was a big game for us, and they took us out last year. So we definitely wanted to make sure we took them out today.”
Media Blaming Treadwell for the Loss
After this one, the home team simply couldn’t recover. Most of the local media from Minnesota are marking Treadwell as the man to blame for this loss. In the second quarter, he stopped Latimore from going all the way but afterward smashed the helmet to the ground. The Vikings were penalized 15 yards for his unsportsmanlike conduct, which moved the Saints to 18 yards from the end zone.
We need to point out that Adam Thielen tied Calvin Johnson’s record in this match and became the second player in the NFL history with eight consecutive games with 100+ receiving yards. Nevertheless, he was very disappointed after the event ended.
“We’re a really good football team, but you can’t make mistakes in this league and win, especially on critical situations when you have the ball in the red zone,” Thielen said. “Obviously I’m going to think about that one for a while, and I’m definitely disappointed in myself.”
Also, this is the first win for the Saints since 2006, in which Drew Brees threw less than 150 yards. He had 18 of 23 for only 120 yards, along with one interception and one TD pass.
“I think it says a lot about the team,” Brees said. “We come into every game with a ton of confidence. We feel like we are battle-tested and that we win in a lot of different ways.”
Alvin Camara had two TD’s one after rushing and the second after Brees’ pass.
On the other side, Cousins threw 359 yards, for two TD’s, but he also had one interception and suffered four sacks. Diggs had 119 receiving yards for one TD, while Thielen had 103 for one TD too.
Next week we are going to see the Saints at home, against the undefeated Rams (8-0) in what appears to be the game of the week. The Vikings will host the Lions (3-4)
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.