Glendale, Ariz. - The New Orleans Saints dropped their season opener to the Arizona Cardinals 31-19 on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
It was a close game until veteran Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer hit running back David Johnson for a 55-yard touchdown with 1:33 left in the game. Palmer completed 19 of 32 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns. Veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald had six receptions for 87 yards and running back Andre Ellington ran the ball 12 times for 69 yards and a 1-yard touchdown before leaving the game with a knee injury.
The Saints had plenty of red-zone chances but could only manage one touchdown, a 12-yard Drew Brees pass to Brandon Coleman in the first half. The rest of New Orleans' points came on four Zach Hocker field goals (he was 4 for 4).
Brees had his typical strong outing, completing 30 of 48 for 355 yards with one touchdown and an interception that came on a deflected pass. Mark Ingram was the tam's leading rusher and receiver. He had nine carries for 24 yards and eight receptions for 98 yards. The touchdown was the first catch of Coleman's career and Willie Snead also recorded his first reception, a 63-yarder.
Penalties again were a problem for the Saints as they had seven accepted for 73 yards. The Saints also struggled a little bit on third down, going 7 for 18. Each team had one turnover. The Saints did not have a sack. Starting safety Rafael Bush left the game with a chest injury and did not return.
The Saints will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) next Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.