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Saints Edge the Ravens in 24-23 Defensive Battle

Drew Brees entered the 500-Touchdown club, has now defeated all 32 NFL teams and the Saints are 5-1. Life’s good!

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees came into Sunday afternoon’s game between the Saints and the Ravens having defeated 31 NFL teams, in other words all but one. That one team that Brees had never defeated is the Baltimore Ravens. In what would probably prove to be the future Hall of Famer’s last attempt at becoming only the third quarterback in NFL history to defeat all 32 teams (Brett Favre, Peyton Manning), the Saints had a tall task in front of them, facing Baltimore’s top-ranked defense on the road.

Here’s how the game unfolded:

1st HALF

The Saints started the game with the clear intention to be aggressive, with New Orleans getting the ball first and going for it on fourth down no less than four times, converting three of them. After a monster first drive that ate over 10 minutes, the Saints turned the ball over on downs at the Ravens six-yard line. Baltimore would get out of the shadow of their end zone and make it to midfield, only to stall and punt.

The Ravens would finally break the seal and score a field goal midway through the second quarter, taking a 3-0 lead after a 17-play drive that took over seven minutes.

The Saints and quarterback Drew Brees would finally get their offense in rhythm, quickly moving into Ravens territory on the back of a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Thomas. New Orleans would use a savvy mix of run and passes to get into the end zone on a Brees’ pass to tight end Benjamin Watson, and take a 7-3 lead. The touchdown pass was Brees’ 500th of his career, further entrenching him in the pantheon of NFL great quarterbacks. On that play, Brees became only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach the mark, joining Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

But then, as we have often seen with Dennis Allen’s unit, the Saints defense which had looked stout suddenly allowed the Ravens to move down the field at warp speed and cap their drive with a touchdown run into the end zone by Baltimore’s version of Taysom Hill, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. At the half, the Ravens enjoyed a 10-7 lead.

2nd HALF

The Ravens started with the ball, having deferred their coin toss win to the second half. The teams would trade punts in the first two possessions, but the Ravens once again would find the end zone, driving 61 yards and scoring on a Joe Flacco pass to tight end Mark Andrews for a 17-7 lead.

On their second possession of the second half, the Saints would make things happen, getting into the Ravens’ red zone on a drive marked by incredible catches by wideouts Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith, and punctuated by an Alvin Kamara rushing touchdown. The Saints would close within three, trailing 14-17. The score by Kamara was the first touchdown allowed by the Ravens defense in the second half of any games this season.

On the Ravens’ next possession, the defense would show up, with Alex Okafor sacking Joe Flacco on a third-and-5 play, pushing Baltimore back to their 15-yard line to punt. An Alvin Kamara return would give New Orleans the ball at its 44-yard line. From there, the Saints would march 56 yards, converting yet another fourth down play to get into the end zone on a Drew Brees’ pass to Michael Thomas, for a 21-17 lead, the second lead of the game for New Orleans.

On their next drive, the Ravens would play like a desperate team, getting into Saints territory and going for it twice on fourth down, converting the first and failing on the second, turning the ball over on downs.

The Saints would then take over and drive into Ravens territory, playing with the desperation of a team that wanted to finally defeat the Baltimore Ravens under Sean Payton and Drew Brees’ direction. New Orleans however would stall just at the door of the Ravens’ red zone and the Saints would settle for a field goal, extending their lead to seven, at 24-17.

With two minutes remaining and one timeout, the Ravens had plenty of time to try and tie the game. The Saints defense would happily oblige, letting the Ravens drive down the field and easily score a touchdown on a pass from Joe Flacco to John Brown. Unbelievably however, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker would miss the extra point, keeping the Saints in the lead at 24-23.

The Saints then simply had to recover the onside kick, which Alvin Kamara did. New Orleans gets out of Baltimore at 5-1, with Drew Brees and Sean Payton finally edging the Baltimore Ravens.

Saints Win, Saints Win!


Here’s a quarter by quarter timeline of the game:

1st Quarter

  • Ravens win the coin toss and defer
  • Saints start at their 25-yard line
  • Saints fake a punt on 4th and 2 from their own 33-yard line, Taysom Hill gets the first down
  • Saints go for it on 4th and 1 at their own 47-yard line and make it again
  • Saints go for it on 4th and 2 in Ravens territory and Mark Ingram gets the first down
  • Saints go for it again on 4th and 1 in the red zone and fail to make it
  • The Saints drive took well over 10 minutes but results in no points
  • Ravens take over at their 6-yard line
  • Ravens stall around midfield and punt with 20 seconds left in the quarter
  • Saints take over at their 13-yard line
  • Saints face a third down and 7 as the quarter ends

2nd Quarter

  • Saints get a first down on a pass interference by Jimmy Smith
  • Saints stall near midfield and punt
  • Ravens take over from their 23-yard line
  • Ravens get into Saints territory
  • Ravens go for it and convert a 4th and 8
  • Ravens stall and Justin Tucker makes a 31-yard field goal
  • NO: 0 - BAL: 3
  • Saints take over at their 25-yard line
  • Brees finds Michael Thomas for a 32-yard pass into Ravens territory
  • Saints get into the red zone at the two-minute warning
  • Brees finds Benjamin Watson for a touchdown
  • This was Brees’ 500th career touchdown
  • NO: 7 - BAL: 3
  • Ravens take over at their 25-yard line
  • In three plays, Baltimore gets deep into the Saints red zone
  • Lamar Jackson runs into the end zone for a touchdown
  • NO: 7 - BAL: 10

3rd Quarter

  • Ravens start the game with the ball, having deferred the toss
  • Ravens get into Saints territory
  • Saints stop the Ravens on 3rd and 1 but are pinned to their 1-yard line by the punt
  • Saints get out from the shadow of their end zone
  • Saints stall and punt, Baltimore takes over at their 39-yard line
  • Ravens get into Saints territory and into the red zone
  • Joe Flacco finds tight end Mark Andrews for a touchdown
  • NO: 7 - BAL: 17
  • Saints take over at their 25-yard line
  • Saints get into deep into Ravens territory as the quarter winds down

4th Quarter

  • Alvin Kamara rushes into the end zone for a touchdown
  • NO: 14 - BAL: 17
  • After the touchback, Ravens take over at their 25-yard line
  • Saints sack Joe Flacco and force the Ravens to punt
  • Saints start at their own 44-yard line after a return by Alvin Kamara
  • Brees finds Ben Watson to get the Saints into Ravens territory
  • On 4th and 1 deep in Ravens territory, Saints go for it
  • Brees leaps and gets the first down
  • Saints get into the red zone
  • Brees finds Michael Thomas for a touchdown
  • NO: 21 - BAL: 17
  • Ravens take over near their 15-yard line
  • Ravens get into Saints territory
  • Ravens go for it on 4th down and 7, and convert on a penalty by P.J. Williams
  • Ravens once again go for it again on 4th and 6 and fail to convert
  • Saints take over at their 36-yard line
  • Brees find tight end Dan Arnold for a reception into Ravens territory
  • Saints eventually stall and Wil Lutz makes a 39-yard field goal
  • NO: 24 - BAL: 17
  • Ravens take over at their 20-yard line, but a penalty on Marcus Davenport advances the ball
  • Baltimore now at their 35-yard line
  • Ravens get into Saints territory with ease
  • Joe Flacco finds John Brown for a touchdown with 24 seconds left
  • Justin Tucker misses the extra point
  • NO: 24 - BAL: 23
  • Ravens go for an onside kick, that Alvin Kamara recovers
  • Saints win 24-23


Who gets the game ball for the Saints after today’s game?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Drew Breeeeeeeeeeees entering the 500 touchdown club
    (141 votes)
  • 32%
    Sean Payton for his aggressive playcalling
    (122 votes)
  • 16%
    Taysom Hill...what can’t he do?
    (61 votes)
  • 7%
    The defense for bending a lot, but breaking just sometimes
    (28 votes)
  • 5%
    All the burgers that kept me from having a heart attack!
    (20 votes)
372 votes total Vote Now