The Saints’ first team offense struggled early in the game to get things going, but the backups led a dominate performance in LA. If nothing, this shows how the depth has vastly improved over the years.
The Saints opened the first half with a touchback by Brandon Tate. Austin Carr, the second year UDFA out of Northwestern, ran the series with the starters. Unfortunately, three plays in Drew Brees threw a deep ball intended for Ted Ginn, Jr that was intercepted by Derwin James. The throw was an unusual, poor decision by Brees.
Austin Ekeler was the big mover in the second series of the game. Ekeler ran for 42 yards on 3 carries that moved the Chargers into the redzone eventually. He also caught 3 passes for 13 yards. The Chargers offensive line made decently large sized holes for Ekeler to make his way for the large gains. The Saints D ultimately rebounded to stop the Chargers on 4thdown at the goal line with great coverage on Chargers receiver Mike Williams by Ken Crawley.
After the big stop, the Saints offense went three and out. They had a very hard time getting anything going. Mark Ingram II was shut down twice up the middle, while Michael Thomas cause a screen for no gain. Thomas Morstead punted to Travis Benjamin, who had a rather large return of 19 yards to put the Chargers in excellent starting position at the Saints 42 yard line.
The Chargers running backs put the Saints defense in a blender once again with a large gain by Derek Watt on a quick wheel route out the back field. Marcus Davenport made an extremely athletic tackle on Travis Benjamin who ran a reverse on the play. Detrez Newsome ran to the left side for a touchdown to finish the drive for six. Caleb Sturgis knocked the extra point through.
The Saints finally seemed to get a drive going, only to have the drive fall short by an Alvin Kamara dropped pass. BUT WAIT, IT’S A FAKE. Backup QB Taysom Hill, ran the ball out of the punt formation for a first down. The Chargers never saw the move coming. Michael Thomas followed the play with a large catch on a cross route for 37 yards.
Alvin Kamara broke two tackles on his first solid run of the night for 8 yards, then caught a very quick pass out of the backfield only to be brought down by Derwin James just short of the goal line. Alvin Kamara then easily plowed into the end zone with a run up the middle for six. The Saints elected to go for two after the touchdown with a successful quick screen to Michael Thomas.
Saints 8 – Chargers 7
Former Ohio State QB Cardale Jones opened the next series with a pass to Mike Williams on the right side for a solid gain of 13. The Saints sacked Jones on third down with Onyemata. Hendrickson was set very wide on this play to produce a creative blitz by the Saints D. Flawless execution.
That’s it for Brees as Savage come in the game halfway through the second quarter. Ingram starts the drive with a loss of yardage after being stuffed up the middle. Ingram made up for the loss with a gain of 8 yards on a quick pass to put the Saints in a third and manageable situation. Savage made a fantastic throw to Austin Carr over the middle for a huge gain of 31 yards. Second stringers such as Josh LeRibeus and Tommylee Lewis began rotating into the game. The Saints fell short once again just short of the goal line with an incomplete pass to Josh Hill on the 5 yard line. Lutz drills the 35 yard field goal.
Saints 11 – Chargers 7
Two minute drill was in effect for the Chargers who began the drive from their 25 yard line after a touchback on the kickoff. Jones begain the drive with a deep drop for a screen but the Saints defensive line was able to overcome the blocking, get to Jones, and force a spike to kill the play. David Onyemata makes another huge play that was almost a sack but ended in a one yard gain for Jones. The Saints took over on their own 41 with 1:20 left on the clock.
Savage makes another HUGE throw to Tommylee Lewis, who made an incredible over the shoulder catch for a huge first down deep into Chargers territory. The Saints are unable to reach the endzone and settle for a Lutz 25 yard field goal.
Saints 14 – Chargers 7
Geno Smith started the third quarter, with a toss over the middle to Andre Patton for a modest gain of 14 yards. AJ Klein and Demario Davis remained the only defensive starts left in the game. Saints Rookie Natrell Jamerson made and impressive stop in the secondary to end the drive. Tommylee Lewis entered the game for the Saints in the return game for a small gain.
Jonathon Williams revered direction in the backfield hoping to make something out of nothing, but only lost yardage on the play. Tommylee Lewis made another incredible catch, jumping backwards in his route, but was stopped short of the first down.
On the next drive, Chris Banjo made a HUGE hit on Scott for the Chargers to force and incompletion and third down. The Saints stopped the Chargers with a stop by Vonn Bell, who swatted down the ball in the secondary near the sideline. The Chargers punted to Tommylee Lewis who was rocked by a defender who missed him earlier in the play for no gain on the punt. The Chargers held on the play, which gave the Saints an extra 10 yards.
Taysom Hill finally entered the game half way through the third quarter. Hill hit a wide-open Boston Scott out of the backfield, who broke a tackle and ran for a large gain and first down. Hill hit rookie Tre’Quan Smith for a solid gain of 12 on a screen pass. Jermon Bushrod stalled the drive with a holding penalty after a modest run by Boston Scott. Lucky for the Saints, Chargers DB held Tommylee Lewis on an out route for a pass inference to put the Saints into the redzone. Hill scrambled to the left for a 13 yard TD run, barely sliding in at the left pylon. Hill followed up the touchdown with a quick scramble on the two point conversion to add two.
Saints 22 – Chargers 7
Geno opened the next drive with a pick six by Craig Robertson, but there was a pass interference penalty called on Saints backup DB Marcus Williams.
Saints opened the 4thquarter with a sack on Geno Smith by George Johnson. Backup DB Marcus Williams make a big play with a pick six on Geno Smith. It was a great read by Williams, who jumped the route and sprinted to the endzone. Boston Scott took the QB option from Hill to complete the third two point conversion on the night for the Saints.
Saints 30 – Chargers 7
The Saints D forced a three and out as Geno Smith led their offense back onto the field. The Chargers punted to Lewis who had a small gain.
Hill hit Saints rookie Tre’Quan smith over the middle for a HUGE gain of 30 yards, but the play lost some yardage due to a holding penalty on Michael Floyd. Taysom Hill scrambled twice for 21 yards. Hill looked fast on the two runs, ensuring he could get first downs on each run. Hill hit Tre’Quan Smith for 4 yards on 4thdown to convert. Hill continued the drive with a great broken tackle to extend a screen play to Vereen for a big gain of 13 yards to get the Saints to the 5 yard line. Hill rocketed a touchdown into the hands of Tre’Quan Smith for six. Jonathon Williams stuffed on the two point conversion.
Saints 36 – Chargers 7
The Chargers completed a pass on 4thdown to keep the series alive and into the two minute warning. Devaroe Lawrence sacked Chargers backup QB Shimonek to start after the two minute warning. Kamrin Moore finishes up the drive with another sack on Shimonek.
Hill kneed the ball to end the game
FINAL: Saints 36 - Chargers 7
The Saints (2-1) wrap up the preseason next week at home against the 2-1 Rams.
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