With the quarterback competition between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston getting all of the pregame hype, it was New Orleans Saints running back Tony Jones Jr. who was the star of the first half of the preseason opener vs. the Ravens on Saturday, Aug. 14 in Baltimore.
Jones ran four times for 64 yards, capped by an 18-yard scoring run in the second quarter to give the Saints a 7-3 lead over Baltimore. He also made several key blocks on blitz pickups as the Saints entered halftime up 14-9.
Hill started and went 8 of 12 for 81 yards with one interception. Winston came on in the second quarter and led the Saints on two scoring drives, the second touchdown coming on an 8-yard pass to Lil' Jordan Humphrey. Winston finished the half 7 of 12 for 96 yards with the score and one interception.
The New Orleans lead could have been much larger if not for fumbles by running backs Latavius Murray and Devonte Freeman and the interceptions. The Saints' defense was in midseason form early and limited Baltimore - minus superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson - to just two yards in the first quarter. Defensive lineman Marcus Davenport and David Onyemata were exceptionally disruptive when they were in the game. Rookie cornerback Paulson Adebo also had a strong half and fellow rookie cornerback Bryce Thompson came up with an interception.
The Ravens scored on a 56-yard field goal by Justin Tucker and two field goals by his backup, Jake Verity.
Saints receiver Marquez Callaway had a nice half with three catches for 61 yards.
Numerous Saints players were held out of the game including running back Alvin Kamara, starting tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk and on defense Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis and Marshon Lattimore all watched from the sideline.