Saints Stunned in Overtime For Second Consecutive Year
Last year ended in overtime in the NFC Championship game at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams and the NFL officiating. This season was more of the same only against the Minnesota Vikings and on Wild Card Weekend.
For the second consecutive season, the Saints season ends in a heartbreaking loss in overtime as the Minnesota Vikings win 26-20.
The Saints tied the game at 20 on their final drive of regulation as Drew Brees pushed the ball down the field and Wil Lutz nailed a 49-yard field goal.
In overtime, the Vikings won the toss and picked up a couple of first downs pushing into New Orleans territory. On their second first down, Marshon Lattimore was forced to exit the game due to an ankle injury and Kirk Cousins took advantage.
With Patrick Robinson matched up on Adam Thielen now, Cousins attacked by connecting with Thielen for a 43-yard completion to set Minnesota up at the Saints two-yard line.
The defense stood up Dalvin Cook on first down, strung him out on second down for a loss of two yards, and so it was third down one more hold.
Unfortunately, they weren't able to hold up as Cousins dropped back and found Kyle Rudolph on a fade route in the back corner of the end zone on PJ Williams for the win. Drew Brees never got a chance to possess the ball in overtime.
On that play, it looked like Rudolph pushed off a bit on Williams but of course, no call was made and no review was initiated from the league office in New York. It wasn't the worst push off I've ever seen but he definitely pushed off and a call could have been made.
The Saints beat themselves in this one as they turned the football over twice, one of which was a late fumble by Drew Brees in the fourth quarter as they were driving into Minnesota territory. The offensive line for New Orleans also struggled in this one as Brees was sacked three times, he was constantly pressured, and the running game couldn't gain any traction.
Michael Thomas was solid but didn't have his usual dominate performance as he had seven catches for 70 yards and Alvin Kamara just didn't look like himself.
The biggest bright spot in this game for New Orleans was Taysom Hill. He set an NFL record by becoming the first player with 50+ pass yards, 50+ rush yards, and 25+ receiving yards in a playoff game. He threw a 50-yard bomb to Deonte Harris in the first half and also caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
As for the Vikings, it was all Dalvin Cook who looked healthy and fresh rushing 28 times for 94 yards and in turn that allowed Kirk Cousins to be just effective enough. He threw for 242 yards on 19/31 passing, a touchdown, and zero turnovers. Thielen also had a big game with seven catches for 129 yards.
Another disappointing end to the Saints season, the question now is, will Drew Brees return for more? Time will tell.