Meridian Star


August 16, 2013

Brees starts strong, Saints down Raiders 28-20

NEW ORLEANS —  Drew Brees looks as if he has found his rhythm early in the preseason.

    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 night.

    Brees' scoring strike was a 16-yarder to rookie Kenny Stills, who made the most of his second straight game playing with the first-team offense.

    Brees completed 78 percent of his passes (14 of 18), including a 56-yarder to Nick Toon, setting up Mark Ingam's 2-yard TD run.

    New Orleans' new defense under coordinator Rob Ryan thrived, sacking Matt Flynn five times in the first half.

    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 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.

    Saints coach Sean Payton kept Brees in most of the first half. His second and third series ended with Ingram's and Stills' TDs. Garrett Hartley added field goals of 53, 31 and 30 yards. The Saints never punted in the first half.

    Stills, drafted in the fifth round this year, and Toon, a 2012 fourth-rounder who is essentially a rookie after spending last season on injured reserve, could be thrust into regular roles this season. Against the Raiders, at least, they appeared up to the task.

    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 Raiders coach Dennis Allen, a former Saints defensive assistant under Payton for five years. It was a good thing for them the stakes were low in their return to the Superdome.

    With Oakland's line struggling to pick up Saints blitzes, Flynn was under constant pressure. During a stretch of 15 plays in the first half, the Raiders netted 1 yard.

    Flynn's lone scoring drive covered 82 yards in 11 plays, ending with 18-yard timing pass to Denarius Moore near the back of the end zone.

    Raiders second-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor completed one of five passes for 9 yards. He also rushed four times for 15 yards.

    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.

    Wallace, competing with Luke McCown to back up Brees, had a rough night. His drives ended with three turnovers and two punts. He was three of six passing for 32 yards.

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