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Saints Win Opener 14-9

Pierre Thomas charges third quarter scoring drive

Approximately 15 minutes after their Super Bowl XLIV Championship banner was unveiled in the Louisiana Superdome, the New Orleans Saints immediately got on the board in the NFL kickoff contest against the Minnesota Vikings. However Minnesota eventually scored a touchdown and a field goal to take the lead at halftime before putting it back in New Orleans' hands with a one-yard scoring run by RB Pierre Thomas in the third quarter. The score put New Orleans on top 14-9.

Winning the coin toss and electing to receive, starting at the New Orleans 23-yard line, QB Drew Brees immediately found WR Marques Colston for a 28-yard gain. On their second play from scrimmage, Brees found WR Lance Moore for a 12-yard gain. On a second down play, RB Reggie Bush rushed for eight yards to move up to the Vikings 29-yard line. Brees then found WR Devery Henderson at the seven-yard line where he scampered in to the end zone give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

The two clubs each would then fail to score on their two ensuing possessions leading to the start of the second quarter.

Minnesota would finally advance past midfield on their first drive of the second quarter, but the Saints would keep them from advancing past the 23-yard line, where K Ryan Longwell kicked a 42-yard field goal.

New Orleans failed to score when they got the ball back, hurt by a pair of penalties against the offensive line, but P Thomas Morstead boomed a 58-yard punt and Vikings WR Bernard Berrian was immediately tackled by WR Courtney Roby for no gain, putting Minnesota back at their 18-yard line.

Facing pressure on a second down play Vikings QB Brett Favre threw the ball up the middle where it was picked off by LB Jonathan Vilma and returned five yards to the Minnesota 29-yard line.

The Saints were unable to convert a first down on the possession and K Garrett Hartley missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

The Vikings took advantage of the miss and Farve found Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe for a 33-yard gain on a pass play down the middle leading to the Saints 20-yard line. He then completed a another 20-yard throw into the end zone to the Vikings tight end. However Minnesota would only get six points when DT Remi Ayodele blocked Longwell's extra point attempt.

Minnesota took the ball out of the third quarter, but couldn't get to midfield and were forced to punt when CB Jabari Greer tipped a Favre pass on third down.

The Saints offense took the field for the first time in the second half and successfully ran down the field on a 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive. RB Pierre Thomas ran for 28 yards on the drive and also caught a 15-yard screen. The scoring drive ended with a one-yard TD run. 

The Vikings got the ball back at their 16-yard line and managed only one yard of offense before they were forced to punt. The Saints got the ball back, but also fell victim to a three-and out before Morstead punted a 36-yard kick to the Vikings 29-yard line.

The Vikings failed to convert on a defensive stand, marked by a quarterback takedown by DT Sedrick Ellis. The Saints again failed to convert on four downs and Morstead trotted out again where be booted a 50-yarder. The Saints had an additional field position victory though when the Vikings were called for holding, pinning them back at their 13-yard line.

The stingy New Orleans defense would again force the Vikings to a three and out, and they would get the ball back at the Saints 40 with favorable field position. New Orleans would churn 46 yards of offense on the drive, getting to the Minnesota 14, but Hartley would miss a 32-yard field goal attempt, giving the Vikings the ball back at the 22-yard line.

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