Photos from the New Orleans Saints preseason home opener against the Tennessee Titans on Friday, August 15, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)
It wasn't pretty but the New Orleans Saints survived committing 22 penalties to defeat the Tennessee Titans 31-24 on Friday night in their preseason home opener at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"It was painful to watch," Coach Sean Payton said. "It was painful for a fan to sit through that."
The penalties cost the Saints 184 yards but they were slightly negated by the five turnovers the Saints' defense forced – four fumble recoveries and one interception (rookie Vinnie Sunseri).
"It's the first sign of a team that has no discipline," Payton said about the penalties. "… I'm very upset."
While starting quarterback Drew Brees sat out his second consecutive preseason game the offense still clicked as the team moved to 2-0 on the preseason.
Luke McCown started in place of Brees and hit on 12 of 20 passes for 117 yards and two touchdown passes, both to star tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham was responsible for two of the penalties for his goal-post dunk celebrations, which were made illegal by the NFL in the offseason.
Ryan Griffin came on in relief of McCown and was just as effective, connecting on 13 of 19 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, one to running back Mark Ingram (23 yards) and the other to rookie Seantavious Jones (3 yards).
The Titans (1-1) weren't immune to the penalty bug as they were flagged 10 times for 11 yards.
Ingram led the Saints in rushing with 19 yards on five carries. Graham finished with five catches for 48 yards and the two TDs (6 and 19 yards). Receiver Joe Morgan had a nice outing with three receptions for 108 yards.
The Saints will have an open practice Sunday at the team's Metairie training facility at 4 p.m. It will be the Saints' first training camp in Metairie after working for the first three weeks at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
The Saints will play in a nationally televised preseason game next Saturday at the Indianapolis Colts.