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3 Stats That Stood Out: Saints at Vikings

The Vikings fell to the Saints 30-20 on Sunday thanks, in large part, to a couple of critical mistakes on offense.

A fumble after a short gain on a reception began a tremendous momentum swing late in the first half.

Minnesota's defense limited Drew Brees to minimal passing yards and kept New Orleans from breaking big ones in spite of missing Pro Bowl defenders Anthony Barry and Xavier Rhodes.

Add it all up, and the Vikings are 4-3-1 as they react to reaching their season's midpoint.

Here are three stats that stood out.

1. All but 1 — and a very big 1 at that

When Kirk Cousins targeted Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs, he completed 17 of 18 passes for 222 yards. He threw a 1-yard touchdown to each and totaled a passer rating of 131.9 when targeting Thielen or Diggs.

The only incompletion, however, was an interception returned 45 yards for a touchdown by P.J. Williams. Cousins was flushed from the pocket and thought Diggs would continue running to the right against man coverage, but Diggs said seeing Cousins under duress prompted him to stop to try to show his hands and give the QB a stationary target for an escape throw.

The interception and score by Williams put New Orleans up 27-13 with 5:58 left in the third quarter.

Cousins was 14-of-22 for 137 yards when targeting other teammates.

2. 4.0 sacks allowed

Cousins was sacked four times, and press box statisticians counted nine hits on the quarterback.

The Saints showed that their ability to rush the passer is expanding beyond Cameron Jordan because of recent investments in draft picks up front.

Sheldon Rankins, the 12th overall pick of 2016, recorded 2.0 sacks. Marcus Davenport, who was selected 14th overall in April after a trade with the Packers, also recorded 2.0 sacks. New Orleans sent the 27th overall pick, a 2018 fifth rounder and a 2019 first-round selection to Green Bay to draft Davenport.

Rankins and Davenport each matched the sacks totals they had through Week 7.

3. 17 points on 11 offensive snaps

From late in the second quarter to the interception return by Williams, the Saints scored a total of 17 points on 11 offensive snaps.

New Orleans struck quickly with a two-play touchdown drive after the fumble and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the second quarter, going in front 17-13.

The Saints then capitalized with another short field after the Vikings failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from their own 45-yard line. New Orleans ran nine plays, using up more than four minutes of clock to net 21 yards before kicking a 42-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead.

The pick six followed less than three minutes later.

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