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Saints vs. Rams Final Score: Saints Edge Rams 26-24 in Preaseason Opener

Breaking down the good and bad from the Saints win over the Rams in their first preseason game of the year. Who played well? Who played like hot garbage? Let's find out!

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints escaped St. Louis with a 26-24 win over the Rams, something they've have trouble doing during the regular season in recent years.

The story of the game for the Saints was their running attack led by Mark Ingram and buttressed by Khiry Robinson.

Overall, it was a positive effort by the Saints in their first preseason showing. Fans should be pretty happy. You certainly can't expect the team to be perfect in their first taste of game action.

Below are my notes, opinions and summary of the game.

1st Quarter

  • Luke McCown gets the start with Drew Brees inactive. He threw an interception to Chris Long at the line of scrimmage on the first series and looked unimpressive the rest of the time. To be fair, pass blocking left much to be desired in the first quarter.
  • Tim Lelito gets the start at center.
  • Mark Ingram starts with great runs of 5, 19, and 6 yards on the first offensive series. We had all hoped Ingram would pick up right where he left off last season. So far, it looks like he got the memo.
  • Marcus Ball gets the start at safety with the first team.
  • The Rams drove down the field easily with their first possession and scored a touchdown to take an early 7-0 lead. The Saints defense didn't look very good on that first series.
  • Not to be outdone by Ingram, Khiry Robinson busts out his own impressive 14-yard run. The run blocking in general was very good in the first quarter.
  • Shayne Graham nails a 37-yard field goal. Saints cut the Rams lead to 7-3.
  • Brodrick Bunkley picks up a sack.
  • We didn't see much of Brandin Cooks in the first quarter. He was back to return a punt but didn't have much room to make anything happen.
  • Ryan Griffin checks into the game for the Saints' final offensive series of the first quarter.

2nd Quarter

  • The first team defense remained in the game into the second quarter, presumably to make up for their poor performance on their first series. And it worked. They looked much better, forcing two straight three and outs.
  • Ryan Griffin completes a bullet over the middle to Josh Hill, who breaks a tackle and picks up a bunch of yardage after the catch for a big gain. Then completes another crossing route to Brandin Cooks on 3rd and short.
  • Khiry Robinson punches in a 1-yard touchdown to give the Saints a 9-7 lead.
  • Shayne Graham hits the upright on his first extended extra point attempt and misses. A missed extra point? That's gotta hurt your stock.
  • Brandon Coleman makes a nice special teams tackle on a kick return. That will seriously help his chances of making this team.
  • Stanley Jean-Baptiste shows his inexperience when his back is turned toward the play and gets beat in the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown pass. Rams take the 14-9 lead.
  • Mark Ingram checked into the game again and continued to dominate on the ground with runs of 8 and 22 yards, followed by an impressive 22 yard touchdown run. Saints back on top 16-14.  Ingram's final stat line is 8 carries for 83 yards.
  • The defensive star of Saints training camp so far, Pierre Warren, narrowly missed an interception chance. Just couldn't come down with the pass. That No Catching Mother F***er! He fits in perfectly.
  • The Rams kick a field goal as time expires to take a 17-16 lead into the locker room at halftime.

3rd Quarter

  • Tyrunn Walker looking incredibly solid, picking up a sack on the first defensive series and getting great penetration all freakin' game.
  • Ryan Griffin remains in at quarterback to start the second half and plays most of the third quarter. He looks pretty solid, but definitely not mistake-free. His final stat line is 16/23 179 yards and 1 TD.
  • Derek Dimke gets his turn to show what he can do in the kicking game, nailing a 37-yard field goal. Saints reclaim the lead 19-17.
  • Brandin Cooks catches a Griffin pass, stops on a dime, and accelerates into the end zone for his first career NFL touchdown. It was everything we expected to see from Cooks. The word "special" gets tossed around a lot. Saints increase their lead to 26-17.
  • Logan Kilgore checks in at quarterback right as the third quarter winds down.
  • The Saints wind up outscoring the Rams 10-0 in the third quarter.

4th Quarter

  • The Saints third string defense looks bad on their first series of the quarter. Blatant pass interference by Brian Dixon. Holding call on Ronald Powell. It ends with poor coverage by Rod Sweeting in the end zone for a touchdown by the Rams to cut the Saints lead down to 26-24.
  • Derrick Strozier - another former Tulane guy! - shows some versatility with a couple of catches in the screen game, looking pretty good with pickups of 4 and 5 yards consecutively. Kind of reminds me of Darren Sproles, honestly.
  • A wide open Brandon Coleman drops not one but two easy catches. The second bounces right off his hands and into the waiting arms of a Rams defender for an interception. That's disappointing. Lack of focus/concentration? This game may have seriously hurt his chances of making the team.
  • The Saints third string defense doesn't show much improvement as the 4th quarter rolls on.
  • Logan Kilgore was unimpressive.

Team Stats

First Downs 22 21
Total Yards 375 388
Passing Yards 252 238
Rushing Yards 123 150
Penalties (Yds) 10(104) 14(118)
Turnovers 2 0
Punts (AVG) 4(50) 5(45)
Time of Pos. 28:36 31:08

Top Performers

R. Griffin 16/23 179 1 0
M. Ingram 8 83 1 22T
K. Robinson 5 23 1 14
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
B. Cooks 5 55 1 25T
D. Strozier 3 23 0 11
N. Toon 3 11 0 6
A. Davis 10/15 134 1 0
T. Mason 15 51 0 20
C. Reynolds 6 46 0 38
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
A. Bayer 5 71 0 42
E. Blake 3 41 0 29
T. Austin 3 20 0 8

Inactives: Drew Brees, Jairus Byrd, Pierre Thomas, Champ Bailey, Ben Grubbs, Jahri Evans, Kenny Stills, Erik Lorig, Victor Butler, Andy Tanner, Terrence Frederick, Ty Nsekhe, Je'Ronn Hamm.