New Orleans Saints 8-8-0-6 — 22
New England Patriots 8-9-7-10 — 34
The New England Patriots opened the 2016 preseason at home against the New Orleans Saints Thursday night.
The Patriots defeated the Saints with a 34-22 win at Gillette Stadium, and they did so without three of their biggest offensive weapons. Quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman were all out for tonight’s preseason opener.
All eyes were on Jimmy Garoppolo who made his debut as a starter. The 24-year-old quarterback held his own, completing 11 of 18 passes for 168 yards. Although some of his decisions were questionable, he managed to lead to Patriots to a 17-16 lead at halftime. Garoppolo finished with pretty good numbers overall, and showed mobility and patience. On one play, he hung in the pocket despite a rush by the Saints defense before delivering a screen pass to James White. White broke free for a 56-yard catch-and-run, which set up a LeGarrette Blount touchdown run.
Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett, split the game evenly.
Turnovers doomed the Saints in their first preseason game. New Orleans turned the ball over four times – two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Here’s what happened:
Jamie Collins Returned an Interception For a Touchdown
On the New Orleans Saints’ second offensive series, Jamie Collins picked off second-year quarterback Garrett Grayson and ran 43 yards for the opening touchdown. James White picked up the two-point conversion on an inside handoff to give the Pats an early 8-0.
Mark Ingram Put the Saints on the Board With a 1-Yard Touchdown
Marcus Murphy returned the punt for 48 yards to the Patriots 15-yard line, which gave the Saints tremendous field position. Mark Ingram capitalized by pushing through for a 1-yard touchdown. Saints tied the game with a successful two-point conversion.
Ingram Scored Another Touchdown to Give Saints the Lead
Ingram dove over the pile to score another 1-yard touchdown. Tommylee Lewis converted a 2-point conversion rush to put Saints ahead.
LeGarrette Blount Scored on a 1-Yard Rush to Cut the Lead to 2
James White took a completion to the 1-yard line on an impressive 56-yard catch-and-run. Then, LeGarrette Blount ran it in for the touchdown.
Stephen Gostkowski Made a 38-Yard Field Goal
Gostkowski successfully converted the field goal, and Patriots take a 17-16 lead.
Tyler Gaffney Scored on a 44-yard Touchdown Run
Jacoby Brissett completed passes of 24 and 12 yards to tight end A.J. Derby before Gaffney took off for a 44-yard touchdown. Gostkowski added the extra point.
Luke McCown Completes a Pass to Reggie Bell for a Saints Touchdown
Saints scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Luke McCown to Reggie Bell to bring the game within two points.
Trey Flowers Scored on a 17-Yard Fumble Recovery
The Patriots defense scored again. This time it was Trey Flowers who sacked McCown before snatching the ball and scoring a touchdown.