Final

Vikings 9

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Saints 14

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:30 PM ET, September 9, 2010

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 0 9 0 09
NO 7 0 7 014

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 237 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: A. Peterson (MIN) - 19 CAR, 87 YDS

Receiving: V. Shiancoe (MIN) - 4 REC, 76 YDS, 1 TD

Saints' D frustrates Brett Favre as Vikings fall in NFC title rematch

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- For football fans in the Big Easy, "Lombardi Gras" just keeps on rolling.

Drew Brees and the Saints extended New Orleans' post-Super Bowl euphoria for at least another week and denied Brett Favre a victory in the Louisiana Superdome one more time.

Brees completed 27 of 36 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown, and the Saints survived a hard-fought season opener for a 14-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.

It wasn't the most spectacular way to open a title defense, considering it was a rematch of the riveting 2009 NFC title game last January, which the Saints won in overtime to advance to their first Super Bowl.

"We're not used to 14-9 victories, but we're used to winning," said Brees, the reigning Super Bowl MVP. "So we like the W."

It was the lowest-scoring victory of the Sean Payton era, which began in 2006, but the Saints will take it, especially after their defense limited Favre to 171 yards passing and one touchdown.

"I know people are going to say it wasn't the fireworks they expected it to be," Favre said.

Although his offense was far less potent than usual, Payton said he "was proud of the way we came through and made enough plays to start the season 1-0."

Unlike the NFC championship game, the Vikings didn't lose a fumble and turned the ball over only once on Jonathan Vilma's interception of Favre, who made an ill-advised throw as Roman Harper hit him on a safety blitz.

Also unlike their previous meeting, the Saints had most of the statistical advantages, outgaining Minnesota 308 yards to 253 and controlling the ball for 33:43, compared to 26:17 for Minnesota.

"We knew we would have to play better in a lot of areas than we did last year [against the Vikings] and I felt like we did," Brees said. "We just showed that we can win in a lot of different ways."

New Orleans might have won the game more easily if not for two missed field goals by Garrett Hartley, who kicked the dramatic winning field goal last year.

Still, New Orleans was able to kneel on the ball to run out most of the last two minutes after Pierre Thomas capped a 71-yard, one-touchdown performance with a 10-yard, first-down run right after the 2-minute warning.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 122 yards and three TDs in the last meeting, rushed for 87 yards on 19 carries against New Orleans' stingy defense.

"We did a very good job of holding against the run and still taking some of the downfield throws away," Payton said.

Although the game was competitive, it hardly lived up to its hype.

Favre's comeback from ankle surgery, marking the start of his 20th season, was largely unspectacular. Despite being sacked only once and hit not nearly as often, or as hard, as in the NFC title game, he looked out of synch or inaccurate at times. The fact that Minnesota was without star receiver Sidney Rice may have had something to do with that.

"There's three of four throws that I just missed," Favre said. "I have no excuse. I just missed."

Favre's best sequence came on Minnesota's only touchdown drive late in the first half, when he found Visanthe Shiancoe on precision down-the-middle completions of 33 and 20 yards, the second for the Vikings' only TD.

That gave Minnesota a 9-7 halftime lead, which the Saints erased on their first drive of the second half.

"We were right where we wanted to be at halftime, then it was three-and-out, three-and-out," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "There were not a lot of throws to be made downfield. They were going to hold us down and make us bleed slowly."

The Saints' triumph ended a long day of festivities which for some might have been more exciting than the game itself.

Tailgaters were setting up around the Superdome at dawn, and one pregame cookout even doubled as a wedding. Some government offices, businesses and schools shut down.

NFL-sponsored pregame festivities included a concert in the French Quarter featuring Dave Matthews and Taylor Swift, along with a Mardi Gras-style parade, for which police estimated the crowd at about 200,000.

Shortly before kickoff, singer and New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. entered the Superdome on a parade float with a giant replica of the silver Vince Lombardi Trophy. Also on the float was Saints owner Tom Benson, holding the real trophy.

As Connick finished the first verse of, "When the Saints Go Marching In," a black championship banner was unfurled from the roof of the dome and Saints players streamed out of the tunnel to sustained and boisterous applause.

Shortly before kickoff, Brees stood on the 30-yard line, holding a fist up high before pumping his arm down in an orchestrated move to send the sellout crowd of 70,051 into a chants of: "Who dat say dey gonna' beat dem Saints!"

Soon after, the Saints received the opening kickoff and scored on only five plays, with Brees hitting three of his first four passes for 69 yards, including a 29-yard scoring strike to Devery Henderson on a rollout.

Minnesota made it 7-3 on Ryan Longwell's 41-yard field goal in the second quarter and the Vikings defense stifled Brees and the Saints in the second quarter, allowing only 7 yards. New Orleans' only scoring threat in the quarter came after Vilma's interception at the Vikings 34, but Hartley missed a 46-yard field goal.

The Saints quickly regained their stride on their first drive of the second half, going 74 yards in 11 plays, capped by Thomas' 1-yard TD plunge up the middle. That turned out that was all the scoring the Saints needed.

Game notes


The defending Super Bowl champion has played host to the last seven Thursday night openers and won them all. ... The previous lowest-scoring Saints victory under Payton was his debut as a head coach in the 2006 regular season, a 19-14 win at Cleveland. ... Brees, who completed 75 percent of his passes without an interception, had a quarterback rating of 101.3, the 30th time in 64 regular season games with the Saints that is rating was above 100. ... Favre was 15 of 27 (56 percent) with one interception for a passer rating of 71.7. ... Favre needs two more TDs passing to become the first NFL quarterback with 500. ... Shiancoe finished with four catches for 76 yards, all in the first half. ... Thomas rushed for all but 1 of his yards in the second half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MIN
NO
1st Downs1218
Passing 1st downs
712
Rushing 1st downs
56
1st downs from Penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
5-133-11
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays5162
Total Yards253308
Yards per play5.05.0
Total Drives1011
Passing162229
Comp - Att
15-2727-36
Yards per pass
6.06.4
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-91-8
Rushing9179
Rushing Attempts
2325
Yards per rush
4.03.2
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-01-2
Penalties6-603-20
Turnovers10
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession26:1733:43

Passing Leaders

MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Favre15/271716.3111-9
NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees27/362376.6101-8

Rushing Leaders

MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peterson19874.6014
Young320.702
NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Thomas19713.7111
Bush2147.008

Receiving Leaders

MINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Shiancoe47619.01337
Camarillo12929.00292
NORECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Colston56212.40286
Henderson23819.01294

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINNO
noTD12:56Devery Henderson 29 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERMINNO
minFG05:28Ryan Longwell 41 Yd 37
minTD00:34Visanthe Shiancoe 20 Yd Pass From Brett Favre (Pat Blocked) 97
THIRD QUARTERMINNO
noTD06:13Pierre Thomas 1 Yd Run (Garrett Hartley Kick) 914

Research Notes

Brett Favre has built a Hall of Fame career around making improbable plays, throwing off his back foot and employing every tool in his arsenal to generally stress out the opposing defense. Favre toned down the gunslinger mentality Thursday night, but it proved to be too little, too late.
  [+]
The Vikings struggled to move the chains with their passing game Brett Favre went 4-10 for 64 yards and three first downs on third down.
The Saints opened the season with a bang by calling 94 percent pass plays in the first quarter (15 passes, 1 sack, 1 rush). Brees completed 12-of-15 and averaged 9.2 yards per attempt in the opening frame, including a 29-yard strike to Devery Henderson.
  [+]
Brett Favre sorely missed Sidney Rice on Thursday night. Vikings wide receivers Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin and Greg Lewis only combined for four catches on 12 targets and just two first downs. Harvin was especially disappointing, catching just one of five passes thrown his way (including a dropped pass).
  [+]
Last season Brett Favre had a 96.9 passer rating and just one interception when opposing teams rushed five or more players. When the Saints rushed five or more on Thursday, Favre only completed 23 percent of his passes, including an 0-for-6 stretch after the Saints went up 14-9.
  [+]
After being one of the most effective play-action passers in 2009 (10 TD, 0 Int, 71 comp pct), Brett Favre and the Vikings did not throw a single play-action pass in the opener against the Saints. There was one play-action play, but it ended up being a sack.

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