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

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Old 08-25-2018, 10:19 PM   #1
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:23 PM   #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 dress rehearsal for the regular season, the New Orleans Saints had a few forgotten lines and missed cues in the opening act.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

With Brees and the offense on the verge of its third consecutive 3-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.

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, Hill entered the game in the third quarter against the Chargers and put the game out of reach.

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

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, long-time Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers picked up just 29 yards passing on 5-of-7 completions despite the success of the running game early.

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 the first interception of the preseason for New Orleans.

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 08-27-2018, 03:11 PM   #3
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

We have decent depth......but not at DT! I am seriously disappointed with their production besides Onyamata
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:06 PM   #4
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Re: Saints rebound from sluggish start to steamroll Chargers in third preseason game

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
We have decent depth......but not at DT! I am seriously disappointed with their production besides Onyamata
Devaroe Lawrence and Mitch Loewen have made pretty good cases for more playing time - rotation, fresh horses every series...
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