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New Orleans Saints rally falls short in 30-27 loss to Baltimore Ravens

After trailing 17-0, Saints roar back

Baltimore - With franchise quarterback Drew Brees sitting out the first preseason game of the 2015 season the New Orleans Saints were slow out of the blocks but rallied against the Baltimore Ravens only to lose 30-27 Thursday night.

The Ravens won when third-string quarterback Bryn Renner scampered in from a yard out with two seconds to play.

The Saints looked like they had the game won when rookie running back Marcus Murphy scored from 3 yards out with 1:56 to play for a 27-23 lead.

Luke McCown started for the Saints and directed the first-team offense against the Ravens' tough first-string defense. The Saints trailed 17-0 before McCown hit Brandin Cooks for a lovely 28-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Ryan Griffin replaced McCown on the next possession and quickly led the Saints to another score, a 21-yard catch-and-run by Khiry Robinson to make it 20-14 Baltimore at halftime.

Robinson had a nice evening with two runs for 35 yards and and three catches for 37 yards. Mark Ingram ran the ball four times for 15 yards. Tim Hightower played most of the second half and finished with 12 carries for 31 yards.

McCown was 7 of 10 for 75 yards and the one score, Griffin was 10 of 17 for 112 yards and a touchdown and third-round draft pick played the fourth quarter and was 8 of 12 for 87 yards.

On offense, star receiver Marques Colston also was given the night off as was running back C.J. Spiller. On defense, Akiem Hicks and Jairus Byrd didn't see any action. A handful of Saints players left the game with unspecified injuries.

Rookie Damian Swann had the defensive play of the night when he jumped a route to pick off Ravens quarterback Matt Schaub. Terrence Frederick also made an interception.

The Saints' two first-round draft picks, tackle Andrus Peat and linebacker Stephone Anthony, both saw action. Anthony started at middle linebacker while Peat played a lot of snaps at right tackle.

Dustin Hopkins and Zach Hocker, who are battling for the kicking job, both had good games. Both boomed their kickoffs while Hocker made a 47-yard and a 50-yard field goal and the final extra-point attempt. He also missed a field-goal attempt from 50. Hopkins didn't attempt a field goal but he made both his extra point attempts.

The Saints had an unusually high number of penalties (16 for 143 yards) something for the team to work on when it returns to practices Saturday at The Greenbrier. The team will leave White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., on Aug. 21, one day before New Orleans takes on New England in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Associated Press photos from the New Orleans Saints vs Baltimore Ravens game on Thursday, August 13, 2015.

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