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Saints Come Up Short in London

The Saints had a better effort on Sunday, but it ended up coming up just short in London.

LONDON -- The Saints had a better showing on Sunday against the Vikings, but their bid to get back to .500 just came up just short. They fall to 1-3 after losing 28-25 to the Vikings.

Game Recap

The Vikings started with the football, as the Saints won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. They put the first points up on the board in the game after going 75 yards in 13 plays. New Orleans had Minnesota's offense pinned in a good position after an offensive pass interference call on Justin Jefferson backed them up to a 3rd-and-Goal from the 15-yard-line, but missed tackles on the screen play to Alexander Mattison helped them get into the end zone to take a 7-0 lead with 8:12 left in the opening quarter.

New Orleans' first drive was extremely underwhelming, as penalties once again ended up killing their momentum. The three-and-out saw Calvin Throckmorton pick up a false start penalty to make it 3rd-and-11, and Mark Ingram looked to pick it up afterwards, but the play was wiped out by an ineligible man downfield by Cesar Ruiz. Minnesota took back over at 5:35.

The Saints defense settled in after giving up a couple of first downs on their next drive. Kentavius Street picked up a sack on 3rd-and-9 to get off the field to end the 6-play, 33-yard drive. As New Orleans took over with 2:27 left in the first quarter, they had another three-and-out after Mark Ingram picked up 7 yards on the first play of the drive. Dalton's pass to Marquez Callaway was broken up by Cameron Dantzler Sr.

New Orleans got a big turnover just two plays into the Minnesota drive, as Tyrann Mathieu ready Kirk Cousins perfectly to pick the ball off and give it back to the Saints as the quarter was winding down. The Saints capitalized, as Andy Dalton went 5-of-5 on the drive for 38 yards, which ended with a 4-yard touchdown catch from Chris Olave. The drive took 6:13, going 60 yards in 12 plays to make it 7-7 with 8:57 left until the half.

The Saints settled in a bit more on defense, getting the Vikings off the field after six plays. Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan played meet at the quarterback to sack Kirk Cousins on 3rd-and-3 from midfield. New Orleans couldn't get anything going with the less than ideal field position, running a three-and-out to give the Vikings back the ball with good starting field position. They'd capitalize on it, getting a 28-yard Greg Joseph field goal to take a 10-7 lead with 1:04 left until the half.

New Orleans looked to get to work in the minute offense with two timeouts left, but disaster struck on the very first play of the Saints drive after Dalton fumbled the ball trying to do a little too much. Credit the Saints defense for holding strong with the Vikings starting at the 20-yard-line, as they helped force a false start penalty on 3rd-and-10 that led to 3rd-and-15 and them allowing just 2 yards on the short drive. Joseph booted it in from 36 yards to make it 13-7 at halftime.

Second Half

As the Saints got the kickoff to start the half, things started out somewhat promising. Dalton hooked up with Chris Olave for a 20-yard gain to start the drive, but Olave went into the medical tent after the play. Mark Ingram had a 4-yard loss on the next play, and the 3rd-and-14 play didn't go for much and saw New Orleans punt to Minnesota. It was short-lived too, as Deonte Harty fumbled the punt return to give the ball right back to the Vikings.

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With new life across midfield, it took the Vikings one play to get in goal-to-go after Kirk Cousins connected with Justin Jefferson for a 40-yard hookup. Paulson Adebo collided with Pete Werner on the play to help him be wide open on the route. New Orleans would stand tall the rest of the way, forcing another Greg Joseph field goal, this time from 24 yards out. However, the damage was done, as Minnesota took a 16-7 lead with 9:23 left in the third.

New Orleans finally responded, putting together a 12-play, 78-yard drive that featured a heavy dose of Latavius Murray running the ball and the Saints converting a 4th-and-4 play. The big play of the drive came when Dalton hooked up with Marquez Callaway for a 33-yard gain. Murray capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 16-14 with 3:49 to play in the quarter.

The Saints defense looked to get off the field early after stopping the Vikings, but a gutsy fake punt play on 4th-and-2 ended up putting their offense back on the field. A costly intentional grounding penalty followed by a false start after a good Dalvin Cook run pinned the Vikings back to a 2nd-and-25. After a decent pickup on the 3rd-and-20 play, Greg Joseph connected on another field goal, this time from 46 yards out to give the Vikings a 19-14 lead with 14:14 left in the game.

New Orleans answered in a big way, putting together another great offensive series. They went 75 yards in 9 plays to get into the end zone after Taysom Hill carried it in from 2 yards out. Dalton hit Jarvis Landry on the 2-point attempt to make it 22-19 with 9:29 left in the game. Big plays to Tre'Quan Smith and runs with Mark Ingram and Latavius Murray were the big highlights on the drive.

Minnesota countered, getting a touchdown of their own after marching 75 yards in 10 plays to retake the lead with 4:15 left in the game. A huge 40-yard pass interference call on Marshon Lattimore set the Vikings up at the Saints' 3-yard-line. Justin Jefferson had an easy rushing touchdown to get in, with the extra point being missed to make it 25-22 with 4:15 left in the game.

The Saints had a decent drive going, but were not able to push it much further after crossing midfield. New Orleans was down to a 4th-and-9 with less than two minutes to go, with Dennis Allen electing to kick the 60-yard field goal with Wil Lutz, and he drilled it to tie the game 25-25 with 1:51 left.

The Vikings hit quick on their ensuing possession to get inside field goal range. A big connection from Cousins to Justin Jefferson for 39 yards helped put them in prime position. They'd take the lead with 24 seconds left after Joseph hit again, this time from 47 to go up 28-25.

New Orleans would get a huge play to Chris Olave on the first play on the next drive, a deep pass over the middle for 32 yards to give the Saints a chance. However, the 61-yard attempt by Wil Lutz would hit the crossbar and bounce out.


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