(WLOX) - On Thursday night the New Orleans Saints didn't resemble the team that beat the Indianapolis Colts in February to bring home the Super Bowl trophy. Coach Sean Payton's Saints had three practice sessions against the Patriots in New England before Thursday's preseason opener.
When both starting units were on the playing field, the Patriots pulled away from the Saints and led 10 to 7.
In a limited role Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees completed 9 of 13 passes for 55 yards. He played in three offensive series and guided New Orleans on a 20-play, 86-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter. Brees and company ate up just over 10 minutes as running back Reggie Bush cracked the goal line from two yards out.
Saints backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey connected on 7 of 11 passing attempts for 111 yards. Chase Daniel completed 6 of 9 passes for 50 yards and one interception.
The Saints defensive line failed to stop the Patriots ground game. Former Ole Miss running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis ripped off a 6-yard touchdown in the first quarter breaking free right up the middle. The Patriots extended their lead 17 to 7 in the second quarter on a 5-yard Laurence Maroney touchdown gallop. You can bet coach Sean Payton will focus his attention on stopping the run when the Saints hit the practice field beginning Saturday morning.
The Saints special teams also broke down a couple of times. Patriots first-round draft pick Devin McCourty had kickoff returns of 52 and 50 yards.
On a positive note, Larry Beavers of the Saints left Patriot defenders behind racing 97 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Beavers has blazing speed and is being given a shot a wide receiver.
With backups on both sides, New England's Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 28-yard game winning field goal with 53 seconds left on the clock.
Saints faithful shouldn't be too upset. This is only preseason and coach Payton will work out any negatives that his team displayed on Thursday.
Saints punter Thomas Morstead injured his shoulder while making a tackle in the first quarter. He left the game, came back on the sidelines, but didn't play again. Coach Payton says he'll undergo a MRI on Friday.
New Orleans will entertain the Houston Texans 7:00 p.m. August 21st in the Superdome.