NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - The New Orleans Saints were coasting to what appeared to be an opening season win over Oakland inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Raiders wouldn't fold, gambled and pulled out a fourth quarter rally to hand the Saints a stunning defeat.
New Orleans fans have grown accustomed to nail biters over the years. Those fans had to buckle up for a wild ride down the stretch on Sunday.
Drew Brees had his passing game in high gear. He completed 28 of 42 passes for 423 yards and four touchdowns and is now tied with Peyton Manning surpassing 400 yards passing in a game for the 14th time in his career.
The big highlight was a 98-yard franchise record 98-yard strike to Brandin Cooks.
"Drew and I happened to be on the same page there, "said Cooks. "He trusted me, has confidence in me to put the ball out there and I just had to make him right."
When the Saints flew out to a 14-point second half advantage, Saints fans were feeling good. That good feeling turned sour in the fourth quarter.
Following a controversial pass interference call on 4th down, the Raiders added a touchdown and two-point conversion from quarterback Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree to take a 35-34 lead with 47 seconds left in the game.
Carr connected on 24 of 38 pass attempts for 319 yards and a touchdown.
In the final 47 seconds, Brees got the Saints within field goal range. Kicker Wil Lutz gave it his best shot. His 61 yard attempt sailed wide left, no good. The Raiders pulled out a one-point victory.
Lutz said, "You know I thought I really hit it well. Looked up and it just kind of moved left at the last second. Gave it a chance. Hit it the next time."
Head coach Sean Payton, who has a history of changing kickers, gave Lutz a vote of confidence after the game.
"I like this guy a lot, "stated Payton. "He's going to be kicking long after I'm coaching here. He's really talented. He's got the leg to give us a chance there and that's the thing that is encouraging."
Brees relied heavily on wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead. Cooks snagged 6 catches for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns. Snead was on the receiving end of 9 catches for 172 yards and a touchdown.
Brees said, "Obviously a bunch of guys made big plays. Brandon Cooks and Willie Snead had great efforts all the way around. So, I look forward to continuing to grow as an offense."
The New Orleans Saints did suffer a crucial loss but there's a lot of promise on the team and they'll be ready for the New York Giants next Sunday on the road.