The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers got your weekend started early as they suited up to play their final preseason game against one another. New Orleans took the early lead as their starters looked to be in mid-season form and would defeat the Bolts 27-10 on Friday evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Jameis Winston and the Saints started the game off on fire as the quarterback connected on all four passes for 59 yards, including a couple of passes to Jarvis Landry to help set up a Mark Ingram one-yard touchdown run. A couple of Alvin Kamara’s runs were negated by penalties, yet he still averaged nine and a half yards per carrying on his lone drive. Rookie offensive tackle Trevor Penning also exited the game after the drive on a cart.
Chase Daniel started for Los Angeles and got sacked for a 12-yard loss on third down by Demario Davis and punted the ball back to New Orleans, where they’d start at their own 38-yard line.
Winston subbed out for the rest of the game and Andy Dalton came in to lead the offense. Marquez Callaway caught a couple of passes for 35 yards and Ingram capped off the drive with his second score of the game from two yards out. The Saints led 14-0 with 2:15 left in the first quarter.
The Chargers responded with a score of their own. Daniel hit Jalen Guyton down the left sideline for a 38-yard gain. On 3rd & 14, LA running back Joshua Kelley ran for 15 yards to extend the drive. Five plays later, Larry Roundtree III ran it on 2nd & GOAL from the one to cut their deficit down by seven.
On the next possession, the black and gold found themselves in their first third down situation of the game. Dalton tried to hit an open Tre’Quan Smith, but he couldn’t complete the catch, but prevented the ball from hitting the ground and tipped it up in the air to a Chargers defender, who tipped it himself into Callaway’s hands. Callaway ran it all the way for a touchdown, but the play was blown dead prematurely from where the ball was caught and the Saints moved the chains. New Orleans didn’t capitalize on the golden opportunity and punted back to Los Angeles.
The Chargers started at their own 11, but marched down the field for 14 plays and cut the Saints’ lead to four with a Dustin Hopkins 51-yard field goal.
Ian Book came in to finish the rest of the contest under center with just 57 seconds left in the second quarter. Book completed his first pass to tight end Lucas Krull and then found Kirk Merritt for 16 yards a few plays later. He would then run it himself for an extra 16 to set up Wil Lutz, who made a 47-yard field goal as the first half came to an end. New Orleans led 17-10.
Los Angeles began with the ball and Easton Stick came in at QB to open the second half. On third down, Stick found Hunter Kampmoyer, but safeties Justin Evans punched the ball out and Daniel Sorensen covered the fumble at the Chargers 41 and returned it to the 24-yard line.
Book the next drive extended it with a nine-yard completion to Krull on 3rd & 6 and finished the drive with a touchdown pass to Merritt from nine yards out.
After a few drives, Stick was efficient in the passing game and led his offense down the field, and converted on a fourth down. Los Angeles would settle for another field goal, but Hopkins’ 50-yard attempt was wide left.
At the 2:29 mark of the fourth quarter, Lutz extended the New Orleans lead to 17 with a 29-yard field goal. The possession lasted 16 plays and took 8:58 off the clock with the biggest play being a 30-yard scramble by Book.
The defense of the Saints locked up and the offense ran out the clock to secure the 27-10 over the Los Angeles Chargers.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Mark Ingram
Ingram was New Orleans’ leading rusher early on and scored their first two touchdowns to take the early lead en route to the 27-10 win over the Chargers.
BIG NUMBER: 83.3
As the team, the quarterbacks of the Saints combined for an 83.3 completion percentage for 205 passing yards in Friday night’s win.
UP NEXT: The New Orleans Saints will start the regular season at the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, September 11th. The kick-off is scheduled for 12:00.