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Drew Brees sharp but Saints fall 26-24 to Patriots

Saints get off to fast start, can't hold on

Official team photos from the New Orleans Saints vs New England Patriots game on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. New Orleans Saints photos.

Drew Brees was sharp, the first-team defense was tough but the reserves couldn't hold on as the New England Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-24 on Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Brees, in his first action of preseason, was 8 of 10 for 159 yards with touchdown passes to Benjamin Watson (10 yards) and Brandin Cooks(45 yards) as the Saints grabbed a 21-7 halftime lead.

The Patriots' franchise quarterback, Tom Brady, wasn't nearly as effective as he finished 2 of 5 for 13 yards. Brady was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Chris Harper at the end of the second quarter.

Luke McCown subbed in for Brees in the second quarter and led the Saints on another scoring drive capped by a 6-yard pass to tight end Josh Hill.

Mark Ingram led the Saints in rushing in the first half with six carries for 18 yards while Cooks was the top receiver with four catches for 117 yards. Ingram also had three catches for 45 yards.

The Saints had 251 yards of offense in the first half.

The Patriots (1-1) outscored the Saints 19-3 in the second half and won the game on a 35-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Garoppolo finished 28 of 33 for 269 yards and a 14-yard touchdown pass to Chris Harper.

Saints safety Pierre Warren made an interception to set up a second half field goal for the only turnover the Saints' forced while Josh Morgan fumbled after a nice gainer for the team's only turnover on offense. The Saints cut their penalties from the first preseason game in half, from 16 to 8 for 88 yards.

The two teams held joint practices Wednesday and Thursday at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., before Saturday's game.

The Saints (0-2) will hold their first training camp practice in Metairie at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Weather permitting, it will be open to the public. The Saints players will be given Monday off then the team will hold four more open practices at its Metairie facility ahead of their preseason game vs. the Houston Texans at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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