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Saints beat Vikings 14-9 in NFL opener

 Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress yells instructions during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. ...
 A New Orleans Saints fan reacts during the NFL football season opener between the Saints and the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome in New ...
 New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees leads the crowd in a "Who Dat" cheer prior to an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orl...
 New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton watches from the sidelines during the first half of the NFL football season opener against the Minnesota Vikings...
 Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is pursued by New Orleans Saints defenders Jonathan Vilma, right, and Jimmy Wilkerson (99) during...
 New Orleans Saints receiver Lance Moore reacts after catching a first-down pass during the second half of the NFL football season opener against the ...
 New Orleans Saints fans react during the NFL football season opener against the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Thursd...
 Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre sits on the field after being tackled in the second half of the NFL football season opener against the New ...
 Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre gets up slowly after being tackled during the second half of the NFL football season opener against the New...
 Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre reacts after failing to make a first down during the first half of the NFL football season opener against t...
 Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by New Orleans Saints' Scott Shanle (58) during an NFL football game in New Orleans, T...

Vikings Saints Football

Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress yells instructions during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. ...

Vikings Saints Football

A New Orleans Saints fan reacts during the NFL football season opener between the Saints and the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome in New ...

Vikings Saints Football

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees leads the crowd in a "Who Dat" cheer prior to an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orl...

Vikings Saints Football

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton watches from the sidelines during the first half of the NFL football season opener against the Minnesota Vikings...

Vikings Saints Football

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is pursued by New Orleans Saints defenders Jonathan Vilma, right, and Jimmy Wilkerson (99) during...

Vikings Saints Football

New Orleans Saints receiver Lance Moore reacts after catching a first-down pass during the second half of the NFL football season opener against the ...

Vikings Saints Football

New Orleans Saints fans react during the NFL football season opener against the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Thursd...

Vikings Saints Football

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre sits on the field after being tackled in the second half of the NFL football season opener against the New ...

Vikings Saints Football

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre gets up slowly after being tackled during the second half of the NFL football season opener against the New...

Vikings Saints Football

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre reacts after failing to make a first down during the first half of the NFL football season opener against t...

Vikings Saints Football

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by New Orleans Saints' Scott Shanle (58) during an NFL football game in New Orleans, T...

Drew Brees and the Saints extended New Orleans' post-Super Bowl euphoria for at least another week after surviving a hard-fought season opener for a 14-9 victory over the Vikings on Thursday night.
Brees completed 27 of 36 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown.
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. But it was the lowest-scoring victory of the Sean Payton era, which began in 2006. Still, the Saints will take it, especially since their defense limited Brett Favre to 171 yards passing and one score.
"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 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 10-yard, first-down run right after the 2-minute warning.
Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 122 yards and three TDs in the last meeting, rushed for 87 yards on 219 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 until the final minutes, 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."


Updated : 2021-06-13 14:10 GMT+08:00