Vikings beat error-plagued Saints
The New Orleans Saints committed so many blunders, not even Reggie Bush’s record-tying two punt returns for touchdowns could make up for them in a 30-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.
Gus Frerotte passed for 222 yards and a game-tying touchdown to Bernard Berrian with 7:10 to play, and Ryan Longwell’s 30-yard field goal with 13 seconds left gave the Vikings the comeback win.
Longwell’s game-winning kick was set up by a pass interference call on a long throw to Berrian, who was run into before the ball came down despite being double-covered. That was only the latest gaffe by New Orleans.
Martin Gramatica, who had a field goal blocked and returned 59 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, missed a 46-yarder that could have given the Saints (2-3) a lead with two minutes to go.
Soon after, Minnesota (2-3) was celebrating Longwell’s winning kick.
New Orleans committed four turnovers, dropped several passes and committed 11 penalties for 102 yards.
With the Saints trailing 20-10 late in the third quarter, Bush had his first touchdown return for 71 yards, slipping a tackle early and accelerating past a bone-jarring block at midfield by Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
Bush nearly broke another punt return, but tripped and fell at the Minnesota 49. Still, New Orleans only needed one first down to set up Gramatica’s 53-yard field goal to tie it.
The Vikings kicked to Bush again and paid for it. Bush caught the kick on the run and burst between the only defenders who really had a shot at him before cutting outside into the open field for a 64-yard score.
Bush was 12th player in NFL history to return two punts for TDs in a game. The last do it was Eddie Drummond of Detroit against Jacksonville on Nov. 14, 2004.
Frerotte, who repeatedly delivered clutch throws under heavy pressure and absorbed several hard hits, connected with Berrian for 36 yards to the New Orleans 27, then found him again for a 33-yard score to tie it at 27.