NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – The New Orleans Saints committed so many mistakes, not even Reggie Bush’s record-tying two punt returns for touchdowns could do for them in a 30-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL Monday the night game.
Gus Frerotte passed for 222 yards and a game-tying touchdown to Bernard Berrien with 7:10 to play, and Ryan Longwell’s 30-yard field goal with 13 seconds gave the Vikings win the return.
“This is as good a win as it gets,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said. “I do not know if I’ve ever participated in one that was that way.”
Longwell’s game-winning kick was set up by a pass interference call to launch a long Berri, who was found before the ball fell despite being double covered. That was only the latest GAFFE by New Orleans.
Martin Grammar, who had a field goal blocked and returned 59 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, missed a 46-yard that could have given the Saints (2-3) a lead with two minutes to go.
Shortly after, Minnesota (2-3) held Longwell kick the winner.
With the Saints trailing 20-10 late in the third quarter, Bush had his first touchdown return for 71 yards, a landslide early and cope with accelerating past a bone jarring block in the midfield by Jo-Lone Dunbar.
Bush nearly broke another turning point, but tripped and fell at the Minnesota 49. However, New Orleans needed only a first in the creation of Grammar 53-yard field goal to tie it.
The Vikings kicked Bush again and paid for it. Bush caught the kick on the run and burst between defenders that the only really had a shot at him before cutting outside in the open field for a 64-yard score.
“Great blocking my team,” said Bush. “It’s obviously a big game at a time of need. It would have been even sweeter if they had won the game.”
Bush was 12th player in the history of the NFL two punts for TD in a game. The latter is not Eddie Drummond Detroit against Jacksonville on Nov. 14, 2004.
Frerotte, who repeatedly delivered clutch throws under heavy pressure and absorbed several hard blows, related to Berrien for 36 yards to New Orleans on 27, then found him again for an 33-yard points to tie it at 27.