Saints rue uncharacteristic play after early playoff exit

Narrowly missing out on an NFC playoff bye came back to haunt the Saints right away. A series of missed opportunities led to yet another excruciating exit from the postseason in 26-20 overtime loss at home to sixth-seeded Minnesota. The Saints were done in by the combination of a missed field goal, two uncharacteristic turnovers and untimely penalties. One penalty nullified what looked like a successful fake punt. Another caused a 10-second runoff at the end of regulation, likely depriving the Saints of extra chances for a go-ahead touchdown from the Vikings 26 in the final minute.

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