The New Orleans Saints (0-4) will begin the second quarter of the season when they take on the San Diego Chargers (3-1). Kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is set for 7:20 p.m. (CST) for the nationally televised contest which can be seen on NBC.
The Saints will be looking to get in the win column for the first time in 2012 following a 28-27 loss to Green Bay on Sunday at Lambeau Field in a hard-fought contest that featured five lead changes.
The Saints outgained the Packers 474-421, held the ball for 30:28 and converted 9-of-17 first downs while taking the lead late in the third quarter that they held onto until midway through the final period. However, a missed field goal with under three minutes remaining and a third quarter series that had the Saints on the Green Bay one-yard line from where they exited with only three points were too costly to overcome for New Orleans.
However, the effort marked the Saints' best performance of the season on offense and defense.
QB Drew Breescompleted 35-of-54 passes for 446 yards, three touchdowns and a 109.0 passer rating. Brees' yardage total was second-best both in his career and for the franchise. His first quarter 20-yard touchdown pass to WR Marques Colstonmarked the 47th consecutive contest where the signal-caller tossed a touchdown, tying an NFL record set by Johnny Unitasin 1960. In addition to the chance to lead his current team to victory over his former club for whom he started four seasons, Brees will have the opportunity to break the mark he shares on Sunday night. Colston enjoyed his most productive output of the season with nine receptions for 153 yards.
Defensively, New Orleans forced a pair of third quarter turnovers that produced ten points. DT Brodrick Bunkleyprovided a push up the middle on a run play at the Saints two-yard line, resulting in a mishandled exchange that was recovered by S Malcolm Jenkins. CB Patrick Robinsonalso recorded his first interception of 2012, when he picked off Packers QB Aaron Rodgerson Green Bay's next offensive series.
"The fact that we have great guys and leadership in the locker room is allowing us to improve," said offensive line/running game coach Aaron Kromer. "0-4 is not good enough, but you can see it coming. This team is all in and they are on the cusp of becoming a very productive team."
The Saints and the Chargers have met ten times with San Diego holding a 7-3 advantage in the series, after New Orleans captured the last game in 2008, a 37-32 win played at London's Wembley Stadium. This will be the first time that the Chargers have played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the regular season since 1997, the longest such gap for an NFL team.