The New Orleans Saints took possession of the NFC's No. 2 seed in the playoff race on Sunday, pending a 49ers-Steelers showdown on Monday Night Football. They beat the Minnesota Vikings with a big-time game from quarterback Drew Brees, winning 42-20, and moving to 11-3 on the season. Minnesota started off well, but Brees quickly pulled the Saints away later in the game.
New Orleans actually had a huge touchdown called back early - so they went ahead and scored another, despite being around midfield. Minnesota got on the board first with a field goal, and actually had another to start the second quarter - but New Orleans responded to both of those with with touchdowns, taking a 14-6 lead. At that point, Minnesota scored a touchdown and brought it to 14-13, and that's where things turned ugly. Brees would go on to throw three more touchdowns, with Pierre Thomas adding a one-yard touchdown run to give them 42 points.
Christian Ponder would eventually hit Toby Gerhart, for his second receiving touchdown of the day, but that came with five minutes left in the game and was too little, too late. Brees eventually finished with 412 yards and his sixth game with five touchdowns or more, tying the most in league history. They also had 160 yards rushing combined, with Chris Ivory and Thomas leading the way. Adrian Peterson only had 60 yards for the Vikings, and though Ponder didn't throw any picks, he only threw for 113 yards.
Now the Saints will be watching Monday Night Football intently to see if the 49ers match their 11-3 record and, accordingly, take the No. 2 seed back, holding the tiebreak over them. Next week, they'll take on the Atlanta Falcons, while the Vikings will take on the Washington Redskins. For a full boxscore, go here.