- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 7, 2008

— Ryan Longwell’s 30-yard field goal with 13 seconds left lifted the Minnesota Vikings to a 30-27 comeback victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, spoiling a record-tying performance by Reggie Bush.

Bush returned two punts for touchdowns - one 71 yards, one 64 - as the Saints, who trailed by 10 points in the second quarter, took a 27-20 lead in the fourth quarter.

But Gus Frerotte led the Vikings (2-3) back into a tie with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian.

Martin Gramatica, who had a blocked field goal returned 59 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, missed a 46-yard attempt that could have given the Saints (2-3) the lead with two minutes left.

Berrian then drew a pass interference call on a deep throw, setting up the winning kick.

The Vikings led 20-10 at halftime, but Bush drew the Saints within three with a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Winfield, who already had returned a blocked field goal 59 yards for a touchdown, stripped Drew Brees of the ball on a sack and returned the fumble 9 yards to the New Orleans 5. Running back Chester Taylor threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe on third down to give the Vikings their first lead 17-10.

New Orleans, which outgained Minnesota 251 yards to 120 in the first half, threatened to score on its next two possessions before committing a turnover on both. Bush fumbled at the Minnesota 34 to halt one series. Linebacker Ben Leber ended the second by intercepting a pass that bounced off receiver Lance Moore’s hands twice at the Minnesota 11.

The Vikings responded with their first sustained drive of the game, moving 72 yards on 15 plays to set up a 33-yard field goal by Longwell with four seconds left. Neither team could generate many yards in the third quarter, with each offense failing to cross midfield. The Vikings had two first downs. The Saints had three first downs, losing 15 yards on one third-down play when an errant shotgun snap forced Brees to run back and fall on it.

Bush provided all the excitement. Using excellent blocks, he ran untouched around the right side for his third career punt return for a touchdown. When the Vikings went three-and-out on their next possession, punter Chris Kluwe kicked right back to him, and Bush juked his way for 29 yards before stumbling at the Minnesota 49 in the open field as the third quarter ended.

Brees hit wide receiver Devery Henderson over the middle for a 17-yard touchdown on a third-and-10 to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

Kevin Williams blocked the field goal attempt by Martin Gramatica that Winfield caught on the fly and ran untouched to tie the score.

Brees led the Saints 34 yards in eight plays to set up a 35-yard field goal by Gramatica on their next possession. After a failed onside kick by the Saints, Minnesota responded with a 53-yard field goal by Longwell, matching his season long.

Brees, who is on pace to break the NFL record for passing yards in a season, was 19-for-29 for 220 yards.

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, the 2007 NFL rookie of the year, rushed 10 times for only 17 yards.

Referee Ed Hochuli was involved in more controversy in the second quarter.

Replays showed that Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway grabbed Bush’s face mask before forcing his fumble, but penalties cannot be reviewed in the NFL’s replay system. Later, the Saints thought they had recovered a fumble by Peterson. After reviewing the play, Hochuli ruled that although the ball was starting to come loose when Peterson’s knee hit the ground, he still had it in his hand.

That drive ended in Longwell’s field goal right before halftime.

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