Carson, Calif. - With rookie Alvin Kamara leading the offense, and newcomer Manti Te'o keying the defense, the New Orleans Saints defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 13-7 Sunday night before 21,197 at the StubHub Center in the second game of preseason.
The victory ended a 10-game preseason losing streak for the Saints.
Kamara, one of the Saints' third-round draft picks, raced through the left side for a 50-yard touchdown run on New Orleans' opening snap. The Saints added a 53-yard Wil Lutz field goal on their second possession and a 26-yarder late in the game. That was it for the Saints offense and it turned out to be plenty as the defense turned in an impressive effort, stifling the Chargers offense.
Te'o, a linebacker in his first season with the Saints after playing with the Chargers for the past four seasons, had a sack, eight tackles and a fumble recovery. The Saints finished with eight sacks and constantly had the Chargers quarterbacks (Kellen Clemens, Cardale Jones) on the run. On the Chargers' final possession the Saints sacked Jones on back-to-back plays and then ended the drive with a Adam Bighill interception.
The game ended a week of activities with the Chargers, including three joint practices. Neither team's star quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Philip Rivers) played and the Saints also held out star running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson along with star defensive end Cam Jordan. Chase Daniel started at quarterback for thew Saints and played the entire first half. Ryan Nassib played the second half. He gave up a 99-yard pick-six interception to Dexter McCoil in the fourth quarter.
The game marked the debut of the Saints' two 2017 first-round draft picks, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and tackle Ryan Ramczyk. Both players started and saw action for most of the first half.
Safety Chris Banjo had a strong first half on special teams with three tackles.
The Saints will fly to New Orleans on Monday and resume training camp with a closed practice Wednesday. Thursday's practice with the Houston Texans is open to the public. The Saints will play host to the Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday, Aug. 26.
There was a strong and vocal contingent of Saints fans at the StubHub Center, primarily a soccer facility which will be the Chargers home for the next three seasons.
Saints players who did not dress: Ted Ginn Jr., Max Unger, Stephone Anthony, Clay Harbor, Travin Dural, Jake Lampman, Jack Allen, John Fullington, Travaris Cadet, Taveze Calhoun, Terron Armstead and Delvin Breaux.
New Orleans Saints Chase Daniel, 7 of 12 for 80 yards
Alvin Kamara, five carries for 61 yards and one TD
Michael Thomas, one reception for 28 yards
Los Angeles Chargers
Kellen Clemens, 10 of 17 for 99 yards and three carries for 26 yards
Branden Oliver, seven carries for 10 yards
Geremy Davis, one reception for 20 yards
A look at the New Orleans Saints 1st half action at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA on August 20, 2017.