The New England Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 7-6 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Thursday night.
The Saints (1-1) will return home and continue Training Camp this week prior to facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday night at 7 p.m. (CST/WVUE-FOX8). The Patriots will host the Philadelphia Eagles in their next preseason game on Monday, Aug. 20, on ESPN.
"The overall execution of our football team, particularly with our defense and our coverage units, really improved from a week ago," said Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach Joe Vitt. "We are happy so far with the way we are coming along. We have a big week coming up, this is the last week of training camp. We have a lot of things to get cleaned up. We have a lot of teaching to do. We are excited to do that."
QB Luke McCown led the Saints' passing attack, completing 9-of-16 passes for 86 yards. QB Chase Daniel went 4-for-6 for 62 yards including a 30-yard pass to WR Courtney Roby.
RB Joe Banyard was the leader on the ground for the Saints, carrying the ball seven times for 27 yards. RB Travaris Cadet contributed with 26 yards on nine carries.
Cadet also led the team in receptions for the second straight game with six for 29 yards. Roby had five catches for 85 yards and WR Andy Tanner caught four passes for 45 yards.
LB Jonathan Casillas led the team in tackles with seven combined stops (three solo). DE Will Smith recorded a sack and a forced fumble that was recovered by LB Curtis Lofton.
CB Marquis Johnson also registered five tackles (two solo) while recording an interception and pass defense.
The Saints defense forced two turnovers in the first half while the offense outgained the Patriots through the air 188-153.
The Patriots won the coin toss and chose to defer the ball until the second half. The Saints received to start the first quarter and the ball was kicked into the end zone for a touchback.
QB Drew Brees took the field to start the opening drive. After an incomplete pass deep down the field on third down, the Saints went three-and-out and P Thomas Morstead came on to the field to punt.
WR Julian Edelman was back to return the punt for the Patriots and New England took over on their own 17-yard line. After an incomplete by QB Tom Brady and a rush by RB Stevan Ridley, RB Danny Woodhead was able to pick up a first down on the ground. On third-and-eight, Brady completed a pass to TE Aaron Hernandez but Hernandez was stopped short of a first down. The Patriots lined up to punt but a penalty gave New England a new set of downs.
Brady picked up a fresh set of downs on second down with a nine-yard completion to TE Rob Gronkowski. After a penalty and a four-yard rush for Ridley, Brady dropped back on third-and-16 and was stripped by DE Will Smith and pressured by DE Junior Galette. The ball was recovered by LB Cutis Lofton on the New England 34-yard line.
After a short rush by RB Darren Sproles and an incomplete pass, Brees lined up in the shotgun on third-and-eight and he completed a pass to Sproles who was stopped short of a first down. K John Kasay came on to attempt 46-yard field goal and put the kick through the uprights to give the Saints a 3-0 lead with 8:30 left in the first quarter. The drive for New Orleans went four plays for six yards and lasted 1:22.
Morstead kicked off for the Saints and Woodhead returned the ball 18 yards to the New England 19-yard line.
Ridley rushed on the first three plays of the drive and picked up a first down for New England before Brady completed a screen pass to Woodhead. After two penalties, Brady completed a pass to Gronkowski for 11 yards on third-and-18 and the Patriots were forced to punt the ball to WR Joe Morgan who was back to receive. The Saints took the field to start their next drive at the New Orleans 18-yard line.
Daniel entered the game for the Saints on the next drive. On first down, RB Pierre Thomas picked up 13 yards on the ground up the middle to move the chains for New Orleans. The Saints went right back to the ground as Cadet rushed three consecutive times. After two consecutive penalties, the Saint took the field for third-and-22 where Daniel completed a 30-yard pass down the sideline to Roby.
New Orleans then went three plays without picking up a first down and were forced to punt away to Edelman. New England took over on their 13-yard line.
QB Brian Hoyer came on to the field for the Patriots for their next possession. After a short gain and loss on the ground, Hoyer threw an incomplete pass that was broken up by CB Marquis Johnson and the Patriots lined up to punt. New Orleans took over on the Saints 43-yard line.
RB Chris Ivory picked up a short gain on the ground before Daniel connected a 5-yard pass to Cadet and a 15-yard pass to TE Michael Higgins to gain a first down. As Daniel threw on second down, the ball was intercepted by S Steve Gregory after a deflection by LB Jerod Mayo and the Patriots returned the ball to the New England 17-yard line.
After and incomplete pass, Hoyer made two straight completions and Edelman was able to pick up a first down. After a short gain on the ground, Hoyer hit Edelman again to bring up third-and-four. Hoyer hit Edelman for the third consecutive throw and Edelman was stopped short of a first down.
The Patriots punted the ball away but a penalty on the play gave New England a new set of downs and QB Ryan Mallett entered the game.
Mallett was incomplete on first down and his second down throw was deflected at the line by DT Akiem Hicks. Mallett connected on a short pass and the Patriots lined up to punt. The Saints took over on the New Orleans 8-yard line.
QB Sean Canfield entered the game for the Saints and completed a 16-yard pass to Roby on his first throw for a first down. Canfield completed a 6-yard pass to Higgins and Ivory rushed up the middle for seven-yards and another first down. After another rush by Ivory, Canfield completed his third straight throw to Tanner for 10-yards. Canfield completed a short pass to Cadet before throwing his first incomplete pass to force a New Orleans punt. The Patriots took over on their 12-yard line.
After a string of completions by Mallett, he threw an interception after moving the ball down to the New England 49-yard line. The ball was picked off by Johnson and the Saints took over on the New England 49-yard line.
Cadet rushed on first down and caught a short pass out of the backfield on second down with 1:15 remaining in the first half. Canfield completed 15-yard pass to Roby and then threw an interception on first down to S Patrick Chung. New England took over on their 11-yard line.
Mallett completed a three-yard pass to Woodhead and then a nine-yard pass to WR Jabar Gaffney to pick up a first down. Mallett then hit Edelman for a gain of 23 yards. Mallett threw incomplete on his next two passes before Woodhead broke free for a gain of 20 yards on a screen pass to bring the Patriots to the New Orleans 34-yard line with six seconds remaining. K Stephen Gostkowski came on to attempt a 53-yard field goal and missed wide left to essentially ending the first half.
To start the second half, Woodhead muffed the kickoff and New England started on their 3-yard line. Hoyer returned for the Patriots to start the third quarter. RB Shane Vereen rushed for 63-yards and multiple first downs to move the ball down the field for the Patriots. On first-and-goal from the three-yard line, Hoyer completed a touchdown pass to WR Britt David for a touchdown and New England took a 7-3 lead. The drive for New England went 83 yards on 14 plays and lasted 5:21. New England kicked the ball off for a touchback.
Ivory carried on first down for the Saints before Canfield threw incomplete on the next two passes to force a three-and-out and bring Morstead on to punt. Morstead booted the ball 60 yards and the Patriots took over on their 17-yard line.
Vereen ran on first and second down for a total of six yards before and incomplete pass by Hoyer to bring up the Patriots punting unit. Morgan had a short 6-yard return and was brought down at the Saints 33-yard line.
McCown entered the game for the Saints with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter. McCown completed a pass on his first attempt for 12-yards to Roby. McCown's next throw fell incomplete and Morstead came on to punt again for the Saints. Edelman returned the punt 10-yards to the New England 30-yard line.
Vereen got the ball on three-straight plays but the Saints defense forced a three-and-out and took over at the New Orleans 23-yard line after a Patriots punt.
McCown was complete on a pass to RB Joe Banyard on first down and picked up six yards. Cadet then picked up a first down on the ground after a gain of six yards. Then, on third-and-seven, McCown threw a deep pass intended for Morgan but pass interference was called on the play so New Orleans moved down to the New England 17-yard line. On first down, Cadet fumbled but recovered for no gain. McCown completed a pass to Cadet for a gain of six-yards. On third-and-nine, McCown completed a six-yard pass to Tanner which brought on K Garrett Hartley to attempt a 27-yard field goal as the third quarter came to an end. Hartley connected on the field goal to start the fourth quarter and brought the Saints within one point, 7-6. The drive for New Orleans lasted 3:50 and went 27 yards on eight plays.
Mallett returned to the game for New England to start the drive. RB Brandon Bolden rushed up the middle for a 13-yard gain on first down. The Patriots couldn't move the ball for another first down and punted the ball away to the black and gold.
A combination of Cadet and Banyard helped the Saints pick up a couple of first downs. McCown then hit Tanner for a 19-yard gain and moved the chains again for the Saints. On third down, McCown was sacked by DE Jake Bequette and Morstead came on to punt the ball away for a touchback.
Mallett threw two incomplete passes and the Patriots went three-and-out. Cadet was back to return for the Saints and they took over on their 40-yard line.
Cadet and Banyard picked up yards on the ground before McCown hit Cadet for a 12-yard completion and a first down. McCown then hit Tanner, who made a diving catch for a gain of ten yards. Cadet carried for the second time in three plays and picked up five yards to set up a 41-yard field goal attempt by Kasay who missed the kick wide to the right.
The Patriots took over with 3:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. Bolden ran on two consecutive plays before Mallett was incomplete on third down and the Patriots punted away with 2:23 remaining in the game.
New Orleans took over with 2:11 to play from their own 14-yard line. On second down, McCown was hit from behind and fumbled the football but the ball was recovered by T Aderious Simmons at the New Orleans six-yard line. McCown threw incomplete on third-and-18 which caused the Saints to punt from their own end zone. New England took over on their 47-yard line with 1:44 remaining. The Patriots came out and kneeled the ball to run out the clock and end the game 7-6.