NFL Game Summary - Minnesota at New Orleans|
(Thursday, September 9th)
Final Score: New Orleans 14, Minnesota 9
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Drew Brees threw for 237 yards and a score
and Pierre Thomas ran for the decisive touchdown in the third quarter, as the
Saints opened their title defense and the 2010 season with a 14-9 win over
New Orleans captured its first championship seven months ago with a 31-17 win
over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, and is looking to become the
first repeat champion since New England in 2003 and 2004.
The Saints (1-0) took one step toward that end with a victory Thursday in a
rematch of last year's NFC Championship game, which New Orleans won by a 31-
28 score in overtime.
"I think obviously, preparing for this game was extremely exciting," Brees
said. "You're going to hear so much of the talk about last year's game -- a
lot of the same personnel, same coaching staff. Our defense took it personal.
We gave up a lot of yards, but we got some turnovers. Coming into this game,
we knew we would have to play better. Obviously, the defense played very, very
In addition to the Saints' good defensive showing, Brees was efficient,
completing 27-of-36 passes and spreading the ball around -- six Saints had at
least three receptions. Thomas finished with 71 yards rushing on 19
Brett Favre was once again under center for the Vikings (0-1), making the
286th consecutive start of his storied career. His playing status was in
question during the offseason, and an ankle surgery helped to delay his
decision. However, he ultimately returned in mid-August, and Thursday passed
for 171 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-27 completions, with one interception.
"I think the timing was a little bit off," Favre said. "I'll give credit to
the Saints like I did last year; they are a good football team. They create
confusion in their defense. I thought, for the most part, we handled that
well. We didn't have the points that we had last year, and neither did they."
Adrian Peterson ran for 87 yards on 19 carries, while Visanthe Shiancoe caught
four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
New Orleans' Super Bowl banner was revealed at the Superdome shortly before
the game started, and the Saints showed flashes of what got them the title
during the contest's opening drive.
On the first play from scrimmage, Brees connected with Marques Colston for a
28-yard gain deep over the middle. Brees then threw for a 12-yard gain to
Lance Moore to get the ball deeper into Vikings territory.
Three plays later, the Saints had a 3rd-and-2 at the Minnesota 29, and Brees
found Devery Henderson deep on the right side of the field. Henderson made the
catch and fell over the goal line as New Orleans took a 7-0 lead just more
than two minutes into the game.
But neither team could sustain that kind of offensive success Thursday. New
Orleans had four more full drives the rest of the half and punted three times.
Garrett Hartley also missed a 46-yard field goal with under two minutes left
in the second quarter.
The Vikings, meanwhile, punted on their first two possessions before getting
on the scoreboard with 5:28 left in the half. Minnesota started at its own 11-
yard line and needed 16 plays and about 9 1/2 minutes to go 66 yards. That got
the ball deep enough for Ryan Longwell to send a 41-yard field goal through
Minnesota got the ball back after the Saints punted, but the drive ended when
Favre was intercepted. Under pressure, he hurried a short pass to Shiancoe
over the middle, where Jonathan Vilma snagged it to set New Orleans up at the
The play was somewhat reminiscent of last season's NFC title game, when Favre
threw a key interception late and the Saints pulled out the victory in
But Thursday, the Saints couldn't find similar success, as Hartley missed his
kick to give the ball back to Minnesota. The Vikings capitalized thanks to
With under a minute left, he found Shiancoe past the Saints' secondary for a
33-yard gain to the New Orleans 20. He went to Shiancoe again on the next
play, sending a bullet to the end zone, and the tight end reeled in the catch
with 34 seconds left. However, the missed extra point kept Minnesota's lead at
9-7 going into the break.
But the Saints grabbed the lead back on their first drive of the second half.
The 11-play, 74-yard march ended on two Thomas runs, the second a one-yard
plunge across the goal line with 6:13 remaining.
It gave New Orleans a 14-9 edge, and the Saints' defense continued to hold the
Vikings in check, despite missing a key player in Pro Bowl safety Darren
Sharper. Minnesota punted on all five of its second-half drives.
Hartley missed another field goal, this one from 32 yards out, with a little
more than nine minutes left in the game. Minnesota got to the New Orleans 44
on the ensuing drive, but was once again forced to punt, and the Saints ran
the clock out from there.
The Saints, the league's best offense last season, had 308 total yards
Thursday. The Vikings totaled 253...Sharper is expected to miss at least the
first six games because of microfracture knee surgery...Minnesota was playing
without No. 1 wideout Sidney Rice (hip surgery).
09/10 02:02:10 ET