Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, beneficiaries of six fumbles (three lost) and two interceptions as well as two questionable calls by the referees in overtime, giving the “Who Dat” nation a superb 31-28 overtime victory against the bumbling Minnesota Vikings.
Somewhere in Louisiana, kicker Garrett Hartley is getting laid.
Hartley’s 40-yard game-winning field goal came on the heels of a questionable catch by Robert Meachem (trapped on the ground) and a phantom pass interference penalty on the Vikings’ Ben Leber (barely touched him). Both plays put the Saints in just enough distance for the second-year player to nail the field goal comfortably.
But don’t think these minuscule observations are reason to believe the Saints won — or rather the Vikings lost. The game’s result is a product of all four quarters. And in this case, five. The Vikings played like crap, losing the turnover battle which proved to be the team’s downfall.
All week long, critics remarked that if the New York Jets had beaten the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, it would’ve been ironic because it was the Colts who could’ve knocked the Jets out of the playoffs before they even got started. Well that didn’t happen. But as the Vikings and Saints game wore on, casual observers could note how many times the Vikings could’ve put the Saints away (twice) if they had not turned the ball over. Their mistakes came back to bite them.
Adrian Peterson, a fantasy treasure, accelerated his abnormal fumbling adding two on the day (nine on the season) and Brett Favre ended his third consecutive season (with three different teams) on an interception. Two of those games were in the NFC championship.
While the Vikings might have lost this game, the Saints certainly played their part. The combination of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas at running back, carried New Orleans throughout the game. And despite only 69 yards rushing between them, and only one touchdown, they each came up with huge plays to give the Saints new life and capitalize on Minnesota’s mistakes. Thomas’ 4th-and-inches run proved pivotal and Bush’s 5-yard screen pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was a key turning point.
A couple of storylines that will most definitely appear after this game:
- What will Brett Favre do next? — I’m soooo glad we don’t have to go through two weeks of Favre stories. But I’m sad that now we’ll be subjected to six to seven months of Favre watch.
- New Orleans is playing in its first ever Super Bowl — With all that New Orleans has been through, this positive is long overdue.
- Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees — The inevitable great quarterback matchup. I’ll likely dissect this one here.
- Peyton Manning vs. Archie Manning’s legacy team — Ain’t nothing like a good ol’ family story about how Peyton will be facing the team of his father.
Is there something I’m forgetting?