Sep 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills (84) congratulates wide receiver Marques Colston (12) after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans defeated the Vikings 20-9. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Game 3 Reaction: Saints 20, Vikings 9
Saints get that ‘all important first victory’, move to 1-2
Who Dat Nation was pumped and ready for the opening game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints leaped out to a quick 13-0 lead, powered by touchdowns from Pierre Thomas and Josh Hill. After that, it seemed like the Saints were poised to blowout the Vikings, but there seemed to be a large momentum shift when Matt Cassel exited, and rookie Teddy Bridgewater entered. The Saints defense would hold strong, allowing three field goals to the Vikings.
The Saints’ offense looked fairly stagnant up until the fourth quarter, when Drew Brees was suplexed by Vikings cornerback, Capain Munnerlyn. That seemed to wake everyone up, as Brees found Marques Colston for a Saints 18-yard touchdown. The Saints would emerge victorious, earning their first victory of the season.
Quick Box Score Stats
Total First Downs: Minnesota (13), New Orleans (27)
Third Down Efficiency: Minnesota (40% – 6/15), New Orleans (69% – 9/13)
Total Net Yards: Minnesota (247), New Orleans (396)
Sacks: Minnesota (1), New Orleans (2)
Turnovers: Minnesota (0), New Orleans (0)
Time of Possession: Minnesota (26:27), New Orleans (33:33)
Let’s look at some key points from the game.
The Fast Start
The Saints had drives of 80 and 82 yards on their first two possessions, which both ended in touchdowns. The first drive started at the Saints’ own 20-yard line, and the second drive started at the Saints’ own 18-yard line. The Saints did not have a single drive start past their own 20-yard line. To suggest that the offense had to work hard for their points is a bit of an understatement.
Isolating the Run
Obviously, we knew that Matt Asiata wasn’t Adrian Peterson. However, the Vikings still attempted to run the ball 22 times. The Saints run defense only allowed 59 rushing yards on the day, which was only a 2.7 rushing yard per carry average for the Vikes. This number is factoring in Teddy Bridgewater’s 6 rushes for 27 yards. Curtis Lofton led the way with 8 tackles, including 2 for a loss.
Defense, Defense, Defense
You might not have called it the best performance in the world for the Saints defense, but know this: the defense surrendered only 247 total yards of offense. The Saints defensive unit managed to get two sacks from their big pass rushers, Cam Jordan and Junior Galette.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, and Matt Asiata each had huge gains on pass plays (30, 28, 41). Overall, the defense had a solid outing, and you should be encouraged by it. Corey White was the starting corner opposite of Keenan Lewis.
What You May Have Missed/Overlooked
- The Saints are now 26-0 under Sean Payton when the team does not commit a turnover.
- Center Jonathan Goodwin left with a lower left leg injury, he is set to undergo an MRI today, but it doesn’t seem as bad as first thought.
- The touchdown combo of Drew Brees to Marques Colston hooked up for their 64th time, which moved them into 7th place in NFL History. They passed Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry.
- Pierre Thomas needs just one catch to become the Saints leader in receptions for a running back. It’ll be his 295th, which would break the record held by Reggie Bush.
- The Saints produced their third straight 100-yard rushing game.
This victory, although it may not be thought of as ‘pretty,’ is a win. This could be the stepping stone the team needs to help push them over the next two games. Of course, we have to take it a game at a time, and the Saints now look to a prime time showdown with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys are coming off a huge win in St. Louis, where they rallied from a 21-0 deficit against the Rams.
What do you think about the win? Does this make you feel better about the season? Sound off below!