Saints 28, Raiders 20
Drew Brees will need some unproven receivers to emerge this
year, and could not help but be encouraged by way rookie Kenny
Stills and second-year pro Nick Toon came through against the
Brees passed for 202 yards and a touchdown while leading five
scoring drives, and the Saints survived a sloppy second half for a
28-20 preseason victory over the Oakland Raiders on Friday
Toon, a fourth-round pick in 2012 who spend his rookie season on
injured reserve, started for Marques Colston, who has been getting
extra rest because of an offseason foot injury. Stills started at
wideout for the second straight game and hauled in Brees’ lone
scoring strike from 16 yards out.
”We asked them to do a lot. They were having to think a lot on
the move,” Brees said. ”They did a great job adjusting to that
and played w lot of confidence.”
Brees completed 78 percent of his passes (14 of 18), including a
56-yarder to Toon, setting up Mark Ingam’s 2-yard TD run.
On his long catch, Toon beat former Saints cornerback Tracy
Porter, who later left the game with a right groin injury. Raiders
coach Dennis Allen said that was one of eight injuries – three of
them potentially serious – for Oakland. In addition to Porter,
Allen was particularly concerned about offensive tackle John
Wetzel’s knee injury and tight end David Ausberry’s shoulder
New Orleans’ new defense under coordinator Rob Ryan thrived,
sacking Matt Flynn five times in the first half.
”Some of it was different looks, some of it was guys getting
beat and some of it was we have to recognize the pressure, find the
hot receivers and get the ball out,” Allen said, noting that Flynn
twice did not see receivers open for potentially big plays. ”I
can’t point to one individual aspect and say that was the
The Saints (2-0) led 23-0 before the Raiders (1-1) scored on
Flynn’s lone TD pass, an 18-yarder to Denarius Moore, late in the
first half. Flynn was 12 of 16 for 124 yards.
”The difference between moving the ball and not moving the ball
is just so small,” Flynn said. ”There are just some things we
have to clean up. We know we can do a lot better.”
The Saints finished with seven sacks. One by linebacker Ramon
Humber, who was credited with nine tackles, including a fourth-down
stop. The Saints also registered a safety in the fourth quarter
when linebacker Will Herring and numerous teammates swarmed running
back Jamize Olawale.
Brees, who played most of the first half, was pleased with New
Orleans ball control, and the fact that the Saints never punted in
the first half, but not with settling for Garrett Hartley’s field
goals of 53, 31 and 30 yards.
”I wish we could have had more points,” Brees said. ”So
there’s still work to do.”
Stills caught four passes for 64 yards, making challenging grabs
along the sideline twice, once on his TD.
Flynn was back in the stadium where he won a national title with
LSU in January 2008. It also was a homecoming of sorts for Allen, a
former Saints defensive assistant under Payton for five years.
Raiders second-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor completed one
of five passes for 9 yards. He also rushed four times for 15
What helped the Raiders make a game of it was poor ball security
by New Orleans. Second-year running back Travaris Cadet fumbled
twice, resulting in one turnover. Oakland’s second touchdown came
when defensive end Ryan Robinson recovered Seneca Wallace’s fumble,
which was forced by David Bass on the 1.
Eddy Carmona’s 46-yard field goal, which pulled Oakland to 23-17
at the end of the third quarter, was set up by Omar Gaither’s
interception of Seneca Wallace’s tipped pass.
”I know it was a preseason game, but we did everything in the
second half to allow them a chance to get back in the game,”
Payton said. ”That frustrated me.”
Wallace, competing with Luke McCown to back up Brees, was three
of six passing for 32 yards in five scoreless series.
Notes: Allen said other Raiders injuries were: RB Darren
McFadden (shoulder), LB Kevin Burnett (knee), CB Joselio Hanson
(shoulder), DL Brandon Bair (hamstring) and Carmona (neck, leg).
… The game was the last called by retiring public address
announcer Jerry Romig, who has handled those duties since 1969. The
83-year-old signed off by announcing the final score and added,
”It’s been fun. Good night. Love you.” He will be succeeded by
his son, Mark in the regular-season opener against Atlanta.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org/poll