EditorsNote: adds “Adam” in sixth graf; adds two grafs at end
Cornerback P.J. Williams returned a Kirk Cousins interception 45 yards for a touchdown after forcing a momentum-changing fumble, and Wil Lutz added three field goals to lift the visiting New Orleans Saints to a 30-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.
Cousins had picked on Williams early in the game, but Williams stepped in front of a pass intended for Stefon Diggs and raced into the end zone untouched to give New Orleans (6-1) a 27-13 lead with 5:58 left in the third quarter.
Lutz connected on field goals of 52, 42 and 42 yards, and Drew Brees (18 of 23 for a season-low 120 yards and one interception) opened the scoring with a 3-yard shovel pass for a touchdown to Alvin Kamara. The Vikings fell to 4-3-1.
The Saints went to their bag of tricks on the first series. Wildcat quarterback Taysom Hill faked a run and then lofted a 44-yard pass to Michael Thomas to the Vikings 8-yard line. Three plays later, Kamara took Brees’ shovel pass around right end for a 7-0 lead.
The Vikings tied it 7-7 on the ensuing drive, moving 91 yards in 13 plays. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 1, Cousins hit Diggs for the touchdown in the left corner.
The Vikings took a 13-7 lead on Latavius Murray’s 1-yard run, but kicker Dan Bailey hooked the extra-point attempt. Adam Thielen made a 28-yard reception on a flea flicker to set up the score.
The Saints cut the deficit to 13-10 on Lutz’s 52-yard field goal halfway through the second period, but Brees threw his first interception after 231 passes this season when he overthrew Thomas and was picked off by safety Harrison Smith on the Saints’ next drive.
The Vikings appeared headed to another touchdown before Thielen was hit by Williams at the New Orleans 14, forcing a fumble that cornerback Marshon Lattimore returned 54 yards to the Minnesota 33.
Kamara caught a swing pass for 17 yards to the Minnesota 1 and then got the touchdown with a leap on the next play, giving the Saints a 17-13 lead at the half.
After stopping the Vikings on fourth-and-1 on the first series of the second half, the Saints widened their lead to 20-13 on a 42-yard field goal by Lutz.
Williams’ interception, which put the Saints up 27-13, was an easy grab because Diggs cut off his route.
Lutz kicked his third field goal of the game, from 42 yards, to put the Saints ahead 30-13 with 9:35 left in the fourth. The Vikings made it 30-20 on a 1-yard pass from Cousins to Thielen with 4:26 remaining.
Thielen finished with seven receptions for 103 yards, his NFL record-tying eighth consecutive game with triple-digit receiving yards. Calvin Johnson set the mark with the Detroit Lions in 2012.
Diggs amassed 119 yards on 10 catches for the Vikings, who outgained the Saints 423-270 in total yards.
—Field Level Media