You could sense it in the stadium.
After four consecutive punts and the score at 13-9, the uneasiness inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was steadily on the rise. It wasn't quite at the point of 'here we go again', but it was close. The fear of 0-3 was getting too close for comfort for the Who Dat Nation.
Then, the Captain came calling.
Captain Munnerlyn that is.
On a 3rd & 13, with the Saints offense stumbling, Munnerlyn blitzed through the Saints offensive line to sack Drew Brees for a nine yard loss. But instead of taking him to the ground, he supplexed Brees Hulk-Hogan style into the field turf.
Then, Brees got angry. Munnerlyn got flagged. The Saints got a first down. And the crowd got rowdy.
Instead of a fifth consecutive Thomas Morstead punt, the offense got a fresh set of downs.
"You need to create some fire. You need to create some momentum, stuff guys can feed off of and give them confidence," Brees said after the game. "It comes in different forms. Obviously, I wasn't too happy about getting supplexed so I showed a little emotion and got the guys revved up. Certainly the guys up front, they don't like seeing that either. They came to my rescue pretty quick, and then after it's 'Alright fellas let's stick it to them.'"
Seven plays later, they did. When Brees found Marques Colston for an 18-yard touchdown to give them a 20-9 lead, the game was effectively over.
There's no guarantee the Saints would have actually lost without the call. They'd never trailed at any point in the game and the defense had managed to keep the Vikings out of the end zone, despite two tries deep into the red zone.
But thanks to Munnerlyn, the Saints never had to find out.