Reggie Bush was the nightmare of the Minnesota Vikings' special teams unit Monday night at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. He returned two punts for touchdowns in the second half and could have returned a third one for a score, but tripped and fell.
The first return came in the third quarter and was of 71 yards. The second came in the fourth quarter and was good for 64 yards.
But, Bush could not make up for his earlier mistakes as the Saints fell to the Vikings 30-27. Earlier in the game, Bush fumbled twice (both lost); the Saints fumbled the football away 5 times in the game.
Pierre Thomas returned the opening kickoff back 50+ yards into Viking territory. Then, a few plays later, Drew Brees threw a 17 yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson.
The Saints then drove down the field again and got within field goal range. Martin Gramatica's attempt was blocked and Antione Winfield returned it 59 yards for a touchdown.
The Saints then drove down the field again, Gramatica this time making a 35 yard field goal. Vikings' kicker Ryan Longwell then kicked a 53 yard field goal to end the first quarter.
In the second quarter, it was all Vikings with Chester Taylor throwing a 4 yard touchdown pass to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Later in the quarter, Longwell kicked a 33 yard field goal and at the end of the half, the Vikings led the game, 20-10.
The only score in the third quarter was the 71 yard punt return by Reggie Bush. The score was then at 20-17.
The Saints opened up the fourth quarter with a 53 yard field goal by Gramatica. Reggie Bush followed the field goal with his second punt return for a touchdown.
From there, it was all Vikings. Bernard Berrian caught a 33 yard pass from Gus Frerrotte for six points. The Saints had a chance to win the game on a kick by Gramatica. But, he, while nursing a groin injury, missed the field goal.
The Vikings proceeded to drive down the field into Ryan Longwell's field goal range. He kicked a 30 yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining.
The Saints had one final chance, but a pass from Drew Brees was intercepted with two seconds remaining. The Vikings went on to win the nationally televised game.
Drew Brees was 26 of 46 for 330 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He also fumbled once.
The leading rusher for the Saints was Reggie Bush, with 12 attempts times for 29 yards. Duece McAllister finally saw some playing action, and even converted a third-and-one situation in the fourth quarter. McAllister rushed 6 times for 13 yards.
The leading receiver for the Saints was Devery Henderson, who caught 4 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Bush also caught 7 passes for 64 yards.
The leading tackler for the Saints was Jonathan Vilma, who had 7 tackles and 3 assists.
The Saints held Adrian Peterson to 21 runs for 32 yards. Chester Taylor ran 3 times for 8 yards.
This loss was another heartbreaker, just as the other two losses were. It came down to the wire and the Saints couldn't pull it off.
One concerning thing was that rookie cornerback Tracy Porter left the game in the fourth quarter with an injured right wrist. The loss of Porter would certainly be horrible at this time in the year, in that the Saints are already pretty banged up. We can only hope for the best.
The Saints will meet the Oakland Raiders in the Superdome at high noon in the Big Easy next weekend. Until then,