East Rutherford, N.J. - A combination of turnovers, penalties and the rugged running of New York Jets running back Chris Ivory proved too much for the New Orleans Saints to overcome as they fell 26-20 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The Saints had two interceptions which led to 10 Jets points and nine penalties for 59 yards. Ivory, who the Saints traded to the Jets this past offseason, carried the ball 18 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. He had a long run of 52 yards and tore off a couple of other big gainers.
"When healthy, he's the type of back who will punch you in the face," Jets Coach Rex Ryan said. "He just wants the ball, no matter who we play. ... The kid loves to play."
Saints quarterback Drew Brees had two interceptions, one coming on a tip ball, in the first half as the Jets took a 20-14 halftime lead. Brees finished 30 of 51 for 382 yards with two touchdowns to tight end Jimmy Graham.
"They played very well," Brees said. "... we felt like opportunities were there but we couldn't advantage of them for one reason or another."
Brees said the second interception, coming off a ball tipped by receiver Nick Toon, was the more critiical of the two. But he said the penalties really hurt as well.
"The penalties... we had eight last week and nine this week," he said. "That's far too many."
Graham had a huge day with nine catches for 116 yards. Robert Meachem had four receptions for 93 yrds, most coming on a 60-yard bomb in the first half that set up one of Graham's touchdowns. Lance Moore had six receptions for 70 yards and Pierre Thomas had seven catches for 66 yards.
Thomas was the team's leading rusher with 24 yards on six carries. Mark Ingram carried the ball four times for 19 yards. The Saints played most of the game without running back Darren Sproles. He took a hard on a first-quarter screen play and was ruled out because of a concussion. The Saints already were without star receiver Marques Colston, who missed the game with a knee injury.
On defense the Saints had to play without starting safeties Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. It was the first time since the Saints drafted Jenkins in 2009 that both players missed the same game.
New York quarterback Geno Smith wasn't flashy - eight of 19 for 115 yards - but he was able to keep the Saints' defense off-balance enough with his read option plays. He carried the ball six times for 18 yards. Josh Cribbs, in one of his plays at wildcat quarterback, also completed a pass for 25 yards.
Kicker Nick Folks was the Jets' most effective offensive weapon as he made four fields, two in the second half. Those two kicks accounted for all the points the Jets scored in the second half but the Saints could only match those six points.
The loss dropped the Saints to 6-2. The Jets improved to 5-4. The Saints will host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.