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Saints fall to Patriots in preseason opener

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The New Orleans Saints drop their first preseason game to the New England Patriots 34-22, but there were some bright spots.

NFL: Preseason-New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As long as it took for the New Orleans Saints first preseason game to come, it sure did go by quickly.

The black and gold dropped Thursday’s contest 34-22 to the New England Patriots at Foxborough. Sean Payton is now winless (0-4) in the preseason against the Patriots. Here’s a few brief takeaways from tonight’s action.

This rookie guy is good at football: The excitement of the night can probably be summed up by this Michael Thomas play. This guy can play, and makes for a scary presence for Drew Brees.

Hold on to your butts: Second-year linebacker Stephone Anthony rode off in a cart. The extent of his injury is unknown, but that’s hardly good news.

Veterans flashed: John Kuhn may be 33, but it’s easy to see that he can still play. Kuhn had some very smart plays. Kasim Edebali had 2 sacks in the first half, one that came after James Laurinaitis failed to bring Jimmy Garoppolo down on a blitz. Nick Fairley was seen dropping back in coverage a couple of times, and had some good stuffs. Nathan Stupar showed us why he’s going to be a nice player for Dennis Allen’s defense.

Defense looked better: Sacks, good coverage plays (Kenny Vaccaro on Martellus Bennett) early), Roman Harper snuffed out a run play, and pretty strong overall. That’s encouraging when you compare it to last year’s opener against the Baltimore Ravens. It was like the complete opposite.

Mistakes: The Saints had four turnovers on the night, which certainly isn’t good. The team had 9 penalties for 93 yards, and you know that is a big pet peeve of Payton’s. I didn’t exactly see the best out of the team’s offensive line, especially during the first half. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh.

Saints Scoring

  • 1st Quarter: Mark Ingram (1-yard TD run), Garrett Grayson run for 2PT
  • 2nd Quarter: Mark Ingram (1-yard TD run), Tommylee Lewis run for 2PT
  • 4th Quarter: Reggie Bell (4-yard TD pass from Luke McCown), 2PT failed

Top Performers

  • Luke McCown - 18-for-27, 143 passing yards, TD, INT
  • Garrett Grayson - 10-for-16, 133 passing yards, INT
  • Marcus Murphy - 7 carries for 22 yards, 3 receptions for 18 yards
  • Mark Ingram - 7 carries for 18 yards, 2 TD
  • Michael Thomas - 4 receptions, 67 yards
  • Tommylee Lewis - 3 receptions, 38 yards

The Saints were previously 7-3 in preseason openers under Sean Payton, and now haven’t won a preseason game since August 23, 2014 (23-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts).