photo gallery from the New Orleans Saints preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, August 28, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)
With the New Orleans Saints resting most of their offensive and defensive starters the Baltimore Ravens cruised to a 22-13 victory Thursday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Quarterback Drew Brees didn't play a snap and most of the team's other key personnel sat out the final preseason game. Luke McCown got the start at quarterback and was a perfect 4 for 4 as he led the Saints (3-1 in preseason) on their only touchdown drive of the game. McCown hit running back Travaris Cadet for a 3-yard scoring pass on the team's opening possession.
Ryan Grffin played the rest of the game at quarterback and had missed success, hitting some big plays (a 52-yard completion to Robert Meachem) but failing to convert on third down (0 for 7).
"This game matters for somebody every year," Coach Sean Payton said Thursday night. "We got a lot of guys reps tonight and that part of it was encouraging."
The Saints' defense surrendered just one touchdown (an 8-yard scoring pass to Deonte Thompson in the second quarter) but also struggled on third down, allowing the Ravens (4-0) to convert on 11 of 19 attempts. The third-down disparity gave Baltimore a huge edge in time of possession, 42:39 to 17:21, and total plays (79-38).
Griffin finished 11 for 21 for 126 yards. Joe Morgan had the most receptions, four for 33 yards. Travaris Cadet led the team in rushing with 24 yards on 7 carries.
Reserve safety Pierre Warren had a nice interception in the end zone in the first half and rookie Vinnie Sunseri delivered several hard hits as hed led the team in tackles.
The Saints return to practice Friday as they continue preparations for the season opener Sept. 7 at division rival Atlanta. The Saints have to cut their roster down to 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday.
"Being healthy is important, that's why you saw a lot of starters not playing," Payton said.
Saintsations photos from the New Orleans Saints preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, August 28, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert and Matthew Sharpe (New Orleans Saints photos)