Minneapolis, Mn. — What looked like a comeback win for the Saints, was spoiled by a 61-yard touchdown by Stefon Diggs at the end of the game, lifting the Vikings to the 29-24 win over New Orleans.
The Saints overcame a 17-point third quarter to take their first lead of the game with 3 minutes to play, where there were 4 lead changes over those final 3 minutes.
The Saints’ rally started with 90 seconds to play in the third quarter, when Drew Brees connected with Michael Thomas for the 14-yard touchdown, getting the Saints on the board, down 17-7. Then just 8 seconds later, they got a huge play on defense. Cam Jordan’s pressure on Keenum caused him to make an ill-advised throw, which landed in the hands of Saints cornerback Marcus Williams. He returned it 12 yards to the 30, setting-up the Saints with a short field. The drive carried-over to the 4th quarter, where it was Brees to Thomas again for another touchdown– this one from 3 yards out, making it a 17-14 ballgame.
After a Kai Forbath 49-yard field goal made it 20-14, the Saints came-up with another big play– on special teams this time. George Thompson broke-through to block the Vikings’ punt, setting-up the Saints’ offense at the 40. Just 4 plays later, Brees found Alvin Kamara in the endzone on the 14-yard touchdown and with the point after, the Saints took their first lead of the game with 3 minutes to play, leading 21-20.
The Vikings then marched down the field and Forbath drilled a 53-yard field goal to put Minnesota back out front 23-21 with 1:34 to play.
The Saints then went to work themselves. Brees connected with Willie Snead on a huge 4th and 10 play for a 13-yard pick-up down to the 33. That drive resulted in a Wil Lutz 43-yard field goal to put the Saints back out front with :29 to go, making it 24-23.
With 10 seconds to play, one last shot for the Vikings, when Keenum found Diggs, who broke-loose from a tackle and took-off down the sideline as time expired, scoring the game-winning 61-yard touchdown. The Vikings (14-3) now advance to face the Eagles in the NFC Championship game, while the season comes to an end for the Saints, finishing at (12-6).