First-half analysis: Don't blame Saints' defense

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

NEW ORLEANS -- The Saints' defense has taken a lot of heat this season and most of it's justified. But if the Saints end up losing this one, you can't pin it on the defense.

The defense did its job through most of the first half, holding Adrian Peterson to 17 yards on 10 carries. With Minnesota's one-dimensional offense (remember, Gus Frerotte is the quarterback), that should be good enough. However, the Vikings took a 20-10 lead into halftime.

However, the Saints are giving this game away on offense and special teams. You could even question a call or two by the officials. New Orleans has turned the ball over three times. The Saints had a blocked field goal attempt returned for a touchdown by Antoine Winfield.

The Saints, so far, have wasted a pretty strong first half by quarterback Drew Brees, who has completed 19 of 29 passes for 220 yards. Brees did have a second-quarter interception but that came after the ball went through receiver Lance Moore's hands.