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Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

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Old 08-26-2018, 09:10 AM   #1
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:17 AM   #2
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

BY JOEL A. ERICKSON | JERICKSON@THEADVOCATE.COM AUG 25, 2018 - 9:30 PM

CARSON, Calif. — If the third preseason game is the NFL's main dress rehearsal for the regular season, the New Orleans Saints had a few forgotten lines and missed cues in the opening act.

But once they settled into the performance, the Saints put on a show.

Behind a punishing pass defense and solid performances from its backup quarterbacks, the Saints finished off half a week in Southern California by stomping the Chargers into the dirt with a 36-7 blowout at the StubHub Center.

"It didn't start off like we wanted," Saints head coach Sean Payton said. "But then I thought as that first quarter continued, we were able to turn the momentum in our favor and did a lot of things that were encouraging."

Working with a full lineup for the first time all preseason, New Orleans (2-1) got off to a shaky start.

Finally given a chance to start after being held out of the first two preseason games, Drew Brees tossed an interception on his first series, failing to account for Chargers rookie Derwin James on a deep ball to Ted Ginn Jr. down the seam.

"I just forced it," Brees said. "Got a little over-aggressive."

Los Angeles (1-2), on the other hand, ran the ball down the throat of the Saints' starting defense on its first two drives, even though star running back Melvin Gordon was unavailable to play because of a family matter.

New Orleans was able to hold in the red zone, forcing a turnover on downs on the first series, but Detrez Newsome punched in a touchdown on the Chargers' second series.

Then a bold call for a preseason game turned everything around New Orleans.

With Brees and the offense on the verge of its third consecutive three-and-out, Saints coach Sean Payton asked backup quarterback Taysom Hill, coming off of a disappointing start against Arizona, to pick up the first down on a fake punt.

A bruising runner, Hill converted, sparking an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that Alvin Kamara capped with a 2-yard run that ended the night, and likely the preseason for Brees.

"It's the time of year to do that," Payton said. "We feel like he's one of those players, he does a lot of things well, and he's a threat as a runner."

Brees gave way to Tom Savage, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 99 yards and directed two touchdown drives. But the night ended up belonging to Hill.

Frustrated after a tough night against Arizona last Friday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Hill entered the game in the third quarter against the Chargers and put the game out of reach.

Working carefully and using his legs only when the situation called for it, Hill rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown on a play when one of the Saints receivers appeared to run a wrong route. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown to rookie Tre'Quan Smith.

Hill admitted he felt a little more calm this time around.

"Getting the feel for the game, being able to look at the defensive structure for the game and how they're going to play us. ... I think that helped," Hill said. "Overall, I just think we operated efficiently."

On the other side of the ball, the New Orleans defense might have struggled against the run — but the Saints grounded the Chargers' aerial attack early and made big plays against the pass throughout.

For starters, longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers picked up just 29 yards passing on 5 of 7 completions despite the early success of the running game.

Rivers ended up being more efficient than any of the other Los Angeles quarterbacks. With help from rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport, who made his preseason debut, the Saints held the Chargers to a paltry 62 yards passing, sacked Los Angeles quarterbacks four times and came away with their first interception of the preseason.

Early in the fourth quarter, veteran cornerback Marcus Williams — who bears the same name as second-year safety Marcus Williams — picked off Geno Smith and returned the interception 58 yards for a touchdown, sparking the team-wide celebration the Saints defense has performed all camp as New Orleans emphasizes turning turnovers into scores.

On a night when the Saints bounced back from a sluggish start to steamroll Los Angeles, there was plenty to celebrate.

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Old 08-26-2018, 09:36 AM   #3
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

In a night when so many players stepped up It's going to make SP's job incredibly difficult to make cuts.
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Old 08-26-2018, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Good hell. Two Marcus Williams'? I didn't realize that when I was looking at game stats. And they both play in the secondary. Weird.
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Old 08-26-2018, 03:51 PM   #5
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Normally you don't expect to see your Doppelganger on the same NFL Team.
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Old 08-26-2018, 04:03 PM   #6
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Man they looked great. The Chargers looked bad. Geno Smith? really.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:30 PM   #7
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Name Change Required...
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:52 PM   #8
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Good News on Davenport's PreSeason debut...

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Old 08-27-2018, 12:31 AM   #9
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Originally Posted by QBREES9 View Post
Man they looked great. The Chargers looked bad. Geno Smith? really.
Great against their 2ís and 3ís yea but looked like crap against the 1ís.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:24 AM   #10
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
Great against their 2ís and 3ís yea but looked like crap against the 1ís.
Not so much optimism butterfly.
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