The New Orleans Saints fall to the Baltimore Ravens 30-27 in their first preseason game of 2015. After trailing for most of the game, the Saints took a 27-23 lead with less than two minutes in the game only to have the Ravens come back and score with 10 seconds left.
"There are a lot of things we have to work on... it's obvious," said head coach Sean Payton. "This group will sink or swim on its own merit."
Luke McCown got the start as quarterback for the Saints with Drew Brees dressed on the sideline. Wide receiver Marques Colston was on the sideline in street clothes after having been in uniform for warm ups. Not many starters were expected to play with this being the first preseason game.
Rookie linebackers Stephone Anthony and Hau'oli Kikaha started the game as well as rookie defensive end Bobby Richardson.
At the end of the first quarter, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux left the field for the locker room for injuries. DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Ramon Humber and G Cyril Lemon also left the game due to injuries in the second half. Browner was seen limping after a play that ended with a helmet hitting his lower leg. He was carted to the locker room. Virgil was also carted off the field.
The Saints defense allowed Baltimore 80 yards on 16 plays to take an early lead, 7-0. It was Baltimore QB Joe Flacco's only drive of the game.
The New Orleans offense went three-and-out on its first two possessions before finally having a 10 play, 77-yard scoring drive in the second quarter.
McCown was 7-of-10 passing for 75 yards with one touchdown. He was replaced by Ryan Griffin just before halftime. The Saints were 2-4 on third-down conversions in the first half.
Garrett Grayson came in to replace Griffin before the end of the third quarter. Griffin was 10-for-17 passing for 112 yards with one touchdown. Grayson ended the game 8-for-12 passing for 87 yards.
"I thought they both handled it pretty well," said Payton about Griffin and Grayson.
In the third quarter, Saints kicker Zach Hocker missed a 50-yard field goal before coming back a few plays later to kick a 47-yard FG, cutting the Ravens lead to 20-17. He also kicked a 50-yard FG to tie the game up at 20 with 11:20 left in the game.
Hocker was given the second chance for a FG thanks to an interception by Saints rookie Damian Swann who picked off a throw by Schaub at mid-field. CB Terrence Frederick gave the Saints to score and take the lead before the end of the game with an interception of a Bryn Renner pass.
Both teams gave up at least 360 yards. Baltimore had two turnovers, while New Orleans had 16 penalties.
"I get upset because I see 16 penalties and it's a reflection on us (coaches) as much as the players," said Payton.
Before Thursday night's game, the Saints had gone through two weeks of training camp in West Virginia.
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Baltimore RB Lorenzo Taliaferro rushes for a 1-yard touchdown. (Ravens 7, Saints 0 - 6:45 1st Qtr)
Baltimore backup QB Matt Schaub throws a 45-yard TD pass to WR Michael Campanaro. (Ravens 14, Saints 0 - 2:16 1st Qtr)
Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker hits a 42-yard FG. (Ravens 17, Saints 0 - 12:42 2nd Qtr)
Saints backup QB Luke McCown throws a short pass to WR Brandin Cook for a 28-yard TD. (Ravens 17, Saints 7 - 7:41 2nd Qtr)
Baltimore's Tucker hits a 25-yard FG. (Ravens 20, Saints 7 - 2:21 2nd Qtr)
Saints backup QB Ryan Griffin passes to RB Khiry Robinson for a 21-yard TD. (Ravens 20, Saints 14 - 0:49 2nd Qtr)
Saints kicker Zach Hocker hits a 47-yard FG. (Ravens 20, Saints 17 - 6:01 3rd Qtr)
Saints' Hocker kicks a 50-yd FG. (Saints 20, Ravens 20 - 11:20 4th Qtr)
Baltimore's Tucker kicks a 51-yard field goal. (Ravens 23, Saints 20 - 7:21 4th Qtr)
Saints RB Marcus Murphy rushes 3 yards for a touchdown. (Saints 27, Ravens 23 - 1:56 4th Qtr)
Baltimore QB Bryn Renner runs in for a 1-yard touchdown. (Ravens 30, Saints 27 - :09 4th Qtr)
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