The season has come to a close for the New Orleans Saints. They were defeated on Sunday by the Minnesota Vikings, 29-24, in a heartbreaking defeat The Vikings took the lead early in the first half, but saw that lead disappear in the second half. It took the Saints three quarters to score and then they took the lead in the fourth quarter. But it was wide receiver Stefon Diggs who caught the game-winning 61 yard touchdown pass as time expired.
Quarterback Drew Brees threw two interceptions in the first half, leading to ten points for the Vikings to have a 17 point lead at the half. The Saints were able to get on the board with wide receiver Michael Thomas scoring a touchdown in the third quarter. In the ensuing possession, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum threw an interception to Saints safety Marcus Williams. And it was Thomas again who scored to make it a one-possession game.
The Saints were able to block a punt and set up good field position late in the fourth quarter. Brees found running back Alvin Kamara to take the lead. In the next three minutes, the teams exchanged field goals to keep the Saints in the lead. Keenum had 30 seconds to get in to field goal range, but did one better. A missed tackle from Marcus Williams led to Diggs running down the sideline after a catch and scoring as the clock hit triple zeroes. The Vikings move on the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
A lot of credit needs to go to the Vikings and Keenum for making the plays they did to win the game. They earned the win and deserve to be off to the conference championship. It would be very cool to see the Vikings win next week and get a chance to play for a super bowl in their home stadium. As for the Saints, this one will hurt. The offseason will be very long thinking about what could have been with this game.
Brees finished with 294 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Saints were held to only 80 rushing yards, but Kamara finished with over 100 yards from scrimmage. Punter Thomas Morstead deserves a lot of respect for the game he had. Morstead had four punts averaging with a long of 56 yards and had one downed inside the twenty yard line. But the remarkable thing about it, is Morstead played the entire game with a broken rib. And after Diggs scored the walk-off touchdown, the Vikings had to line up for the extra point with no time remaining. And Morstead came back out of the locker room for that last play even with his injury.
This ends a remarkable season for the Saints. The team improved in many areas and made a historic comeback in this game, but fell just short. Both Kamara and cornerback Marshon Lattimore are up for offensive and defensive rookie of the year respectively. Brees surpassed 70,000 passing yards in his hall of fame career. And the Saints reclaimed the NFC South title and made it to the playoffs. This is not the end for the Saints, just the beginning. Who Dat.