LAS VEGAS (WAFB) - The Saints traveled to Las Vegas to help the Raiders open their new stadium for Monday Night Football and it was the home team that was celebrating when this one was over.
The Saints (1-1) fell 34-24 to the Raiders (2-0).
The Saints defense committed 10 penalties for 129 yards and some of those helped to extend drives for the Raiders. The pass rush was able to get to quarterback Derek Carr early but then the Raider offense was able to move the ball on the ground and through the air.
Raiders were 10-of-17 on third down and converted two 4th downs. The Saints have more than 200 penalty yards through the first two games.
Drew Brees was 26-of-38 for 328 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception. The Saints running game gained chunks early but Brees did not look like himself without injured wide receiver Michael Thomas. Alvin Kamara had 13 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the Saints in receiving with nine catches for 95 yards. Tre’Quan Smith had five catches for 86 yards. Emmanuel Sanders only had one catch for 18 yards. Tight end Jared Cook caught the touchdown pass from Brees.
Carr was 28-of-38 for 282 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints defense had no answer for tight end Darren Waller, who caught 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Josh Jacobs had 27 carries for 88 yards. Baton Rouge-born Jalen Richard fumbled once to give the ball to the Saints but later had a 20-yard touchdown run. Former LSU tight end Foster Moreau only had one catch but it was good for 31 yards.
The Saints defense sacked Carr three times but those were all in the first half. Malcolm Jenkins, David Onyemata, and Trey Hendrickson were the three Saints that got to Carr. Safety Marcus Williams led the Saints in tackles with nine. Linebacker Demario Davis had eight tackles, including one tackle for loss. Defensive end Cam Jordan finished with just five tackles. Baton Rouge native Malcolm Roach had four tackles, with one tackle for loss.
The Saints got on the board first when Wil Lutz connected on a 31-yard field goal to make it 3-0 in the first quarter. New Orleans then went on a nine-play, 78-yard drive capped off by a one-yard run by Kamara to make it 10-0 with 3:51 left in the quarter. The Saints wide receivers had a couple of drops in the opening quarter and that continued for much of the game. Brees was also off target on several throws after the first quarter.
The Raiders got their first score in their new home on a three-yard touchdown pass from Carr to fullback Alec Ingold to make it 10-7 in the second quarter. Brees then went 5-of-6 on a seven-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a six-yard touchdown pass to Cook to make it 17-7 with 5:22 remaining in the first half.
The Raiders then scored on a 15-yard pass from Carr to wide receiver Zay Jones to make it 17-14. Brees was then intercepted by linebacker Nicholas Morrow with just under 1:00 left in the half and Raider kicker Daniel Carlson made a 28-yard field goal to make it 17-17 at halftime.
The second half was all Raiders. On a 4th-and-1 , Carr found Waller in the end zone to take their first lead of the game at 24-17 with 9:58 left in the third quarter. Later, Richard fumbled a pitch and defensive back P.J. Williams recovered for the Saints but New Orleans was forced to punt again after gaining just 13 yards on the drive.
Richard then made up for his mistake and scored on a 20-yard run on third and 10 to make it 31-17 with 7:43 left in the game. Richard was born in Baton Rouge and graduated from Peabody Magnet High in Alexandria.
Kamara got his second rushing touchdown from three yards out on an eight-play, 67-yard drive that only used up 3:10 of clock. The Saints still trailed 31-24 with 4:33 left. A pass interference call, this one on Janoris Jenkins, gave the Raiders a first down with just over 2:00 left. Carlson then hit a 54-yard field goal to make it 34-24 with 1:05 left. The Saints tried to drive down the field but ran out of time.
The Saints had won four straight games on Monday Night Football entering the contest. Their last previous Monday Night Football loss was to the Vikings in 2017. Later that season, the Saints fell to the Vikings again on a play known as the “Minneapolis Miracle” in the playoffs.
The Saints will have to put this one behind them quickly, as they host the Packers (2-0). Just like the week one game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, there will be no fans for the Green Bay game.
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