The New Orleans Saints (0-2) will be looking for their first victory Sunday, when they host the Minnesota Vikings (1-1) for their 2014 home opener. Kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is 12 p.m. CT.
In Week 2, the Saints fell to the Cleveland Browns 26-24 at FirstEnergy Stadium while the Vikings were beaten 30-7 by the New England Patriots in Minnesota. The Saints will look to get their first win of the season in their friendly home confines where they finished 8-0 in 2013 and will look to extend the home winning streak to a franchise-record nine games. New Orleans fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter as Browns QB Brian Hoyer completed a three-yard touchdown pass to WR Miles Austin and K Billy Cundiff booted a 32-yard field goal.
K Shayne Graham got the Saints on the scoreboard with a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter. The Browns extended their lead again when S Tashaun Gipson intercepted Saints QB Drew Brees and returned the pick 62-yards for a touchdown. However a bobbled exchange on the extra point attempt only gave the Browns a 16-3 lead. The Saints would get within six points with three seconds left in the half when Brees connected with TE Jimmy Graham for a nine yard touchdown.
Brees and Graham connected a second time on their first possession of the third quarter on a one-yard touchdown to take a 17-16 lead. Graham tied a career-high for receiving with 10 receptions for 118 yards with the two touchdowns. It was the fourth time he had ten grabs, his tenth multiple-touchdown performance and his 13th game with 100-yards receiving. Browns RB Terrance West gave the Browns the lead back when he rambled for a nine yard touchdown with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter.
New Orleans struck back early in the fourth quarter, when Brees engineered a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by RB Mark Ingram to give the Saints a 24-23 lead. Ingram finished the contest with a game-high 11 carries for 83 yards with three grabs for 21 yards. Following the touchdown the two clubs would trade punts and the Browns would get the ball back with 2:46 remaining at their four-yard line. Hoyer would execute a 14-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal by Cundiff with three seconds remaining to secure the home-opening victory for the Browns.
"I think the one thing that is most disappointing is that situationally we have to do a better job of playing football," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "It's tough losing on the final drive and we talk all the time about the importance of two minute offense and defense and that is how a lot of these games end. I think it'll be important that we have a good week in preparing for Minnesota. They are coming off a tough loss themselves so I am sure they will be ready to play."