After fast start, Saints stumble in humbling loss to Raiders

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Jalen Richard, Marcus Williams

It was the dawning of a new day, make that night, for the Raiders franchise.

From Oakland to Los Angeles to Oakland and now to Las Vegas, the Raiders opened Allegiant Stadium.

It is nicknamed “Death Star.” The Al Davis Memorial Torch was lit for the first time to kick things off.

For a while, it looked like the opening act would die quickly for the home team.
New Orleans jumped all over the Raiders early.

Then, the game changed dramatically.

The underdog simply dogged the favored team.

The players failed on both sides of the ball. The coaches failed in preparation and adjustments.

The result was a bad 34-24 loss to an average team. That is not supposed to happen to a supposedly elite team.

Now, the conversation has to shift to just who the 2020 Saints are.
Of course, this is nothing new.

The Saints have not been 2-0 since 2013 and they won 13 games in 2018 and 2019.

The Saints missed Michael Thomas but you knew that would be the case.

That is not why they lost the game.

Emmanuel Sanders did not catch a pass until the final drive of the game.

Here are my Quick Takes from the 34-24 win for Las Vegas:

**Saints inactives included Will Clapp, Marcus Davenport, Chase Hansen, D.J. Swearinger, Shy Tuttle and Dwayne Washington. New Orleans once again activated wide receiver Bennie Fowler and defensive lineman Margus Hunt.

**The Raiders won the toss and deferred, giving the Saints the ball first.

**Nick Easton opened the game at right guard despite first round pick Cesar Ruiz being active.

**New Orleans drove 62 yard sin 11 plays, taking 3:59 off the clock with Wil Lutz connecting on a 31-yard field goal to give the Saints a 3-0 lead with 11:01 to play in the opening quarter.

**The big play of the drive was an 18-yard completion from Drew Brees to Tre’Quan Smith but the drive stalled when Smith dropped what would have been a first-and-goal pass from Brees. Yes, he was hit hard but he has to make that catch to gain the confidence of Brees and Sean Payton.

**Malcolm Jenkins stopped the Raiders on their first possession with a sack for 13 yards, forcing a punt.

**Defensive back Johnathan Abram went down for Las Vegas on the Saints’ next possession when he fell into the television cart on the sideline. Fortunately, he popped up and sprinted off the field. Then, Kyle Wilber seemed to hurt his right arm or shoulder tackling Taysom Hill at the one-yard line.

**New Orleans then drove 78 yards in nine plays with Alvin Kamara scoring on a one-yard touchdown run to give New Orleans a 10-0 lead with 3:51 to play in the opening quarter. The big play of the drive was a 29-yard pass from Brees to Smith who made huge yards after the catch and ran through contact to the four-yard line.

**New Orleans got a penalty and after going for the standard kick, elected to go for two after a penalty on Las Vegas. Derrick Kelly, who was active, lined up at tight end but did not report, apparently. He was flagged and that negated a two-point conversion run by Kamara so Lutz calmly kicked the extra point again to make it 10-0 with 3:51 to play in the opening quarter.

**Ty Montgomery and Adam Trautman both saw action offensively in the first quarter.

**New Orleans rushed for 86 yards in the first quarter to offset Brees going just 3-of-9 for 54 yards passing.

**Las Vegas answered with an 11 play, 63 yard drive, taking 6:14 off the clock with Derek Carr hitting fullback Alex Ingold with a 3-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 10-7 with 8:35 to play in the first half.

**Carr hit tight end Darren Waller three times for 35 yards on the drive.

**Easton went down midway through the second quarter. He was able to walk off under his own power. Ruiz replaced him. Easton returned two plays later.

**New Orleans responded with an impressive 76 yard drive in seven plays, taking 3:33 off the clock with Brees hitting former Raider Jared Cook on a 6-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-7 with 5:22 to play in the half. Brees hit on 5-of-6 passes for 64 yards on the drive, the only miss being a pass he threw away.

**Las Vegas answered with a 10 play, 75-yard drive with Carr hitting Zay Jones on a 15-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-14 with 1:44 to play in the half.

**Brees then made a huge mistake, throwing one right to Raiders linebacker Nicholas Morrow for an interception to the New Orleans 40-yard line.

**The Raiders tied it just before halftime, driving 31 yards in eight plays with Daniel Carlson hitting a 28-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it 17-17.

**The Saints had 229 yards to 184 for the Raiders in the half.

**Brees was only 9-of-18 for 136 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Of course, there were three drops.

**The momentum continued on the first possession of the second half as Las Vegas drove 75 yards in nine plays, taking 5:02 off the clock with Carr hitting an uncovered Waller for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal to give the Raiders a 24-17 lead with 9:58 to play in the third quarter.

**The big play of the drive was a 31-yard completion from Carr to former Jesuit and LSU star Foster Moreau, who whipped Malcolm Jenkins.

**Josh Hill caught a screen pass and rambled 16 yards for a first-down but he was injured on the play. Hill was able to walk off.

**New Orleans then started to move the ball but the offense incurred three penalties in four plays, a pair of holding calls, one each on Erik McCoy and Ryan Ramczyk and a personal foul for a crack-back block on Emmanuel Sanders and the Saints had to punt.

**The Raiders then had the ball for 6:47 and had a chance to go up two scores but Jalen Richard simply dropped a ball on a run play. P.J. Williams recovered at the New Orleans 40-yard line.

**Andrus Peat went down on the next series, Ruiz entered at right guard with Easton moving to left guard.

**Despite getting the turnover, the Saints did nothing with it as Brees missed a wide-open Josh Hill for what would have sustained the drive.

**Las Vegas took the ball at its own 11 and proceeded to drive 89 yards in 10 plays, taking 4:34 off the clock with Richard scoring on a 20-yard run to make it 31-17 with 7:43 to play in the game. Richard scored on a third-and-10 running play to the right side and scored virtually untouched. It was truly awful defense.

**New Orleans finally saw its dormant offense awaken, driving 67 yards in eight plays, taking 3:10 off the clock with Kamara scoring on a three-yard run to cut the Raider lead to 31-24 with 4:33 left in the game.

**Unfortunately, it was not enough as the Saints defense failed again, this time on yet another pass interference penalty, this time on Janoris Jenkins, which set up a 54-yard field goal by Carlson to put the game away at 34-24 with 1:05 to play in the game.

The numbers did not lie in this one.

The Saints were penalized 10 times for 129 yards. New Orleans had a turnover. The Saints allowed the Raiders to score on seven of their last eight possessions. The only time Las Vegas did not score was on a careless fumble when the Raiders would have scored again. The Raiders had the ball for 36:18. Las Vegas piled up 424 yards. The Raiders converted 7-of-11 on third down.

The Saints could not stop Las Vegas despite the Raiders being down two starters on its offensive line and down to its third right tackle.

Going into the game, New Orleans knew that Darren Waller was a superb receiver, the top offensive threat of the Raiders, an elite tight end.

New Orleans did little to offset Waller, who caught 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown as the Saints did little, if anything, to take away the opposing team’s best player.

Ponder this.

In two games, the Saints have been penalized 16 times for 248 yards, easily the most penalty yards in two weeks. The secondary now has eight penalties.

Saints safeties struggled all night. Of course the corners were inundated with penalties as well.

Cam Jordan got no pressures despite playing against a reserve tackle.

This was truly a team loss.

Brees has not looked like the Hall of Fame quarterback that he is in two games.

Brees finished 26-of-38 for 312 yards with a touchdown and the costly interception. His quarterback rating was 91.1.

The Saints offense did not possess the ball, accrued too many key penalties and suffered a costly interception by Brees. Additionally, they had three dropped passes.

The Raiders were the better team.

The sky is not falling but it is just the beginning.

Now, the Saints get a tougher test against a better team in Green Bay, who has looked really good in two wins.

New Orleans should respond and my guess is the Saints will. We will see just how good this team is.

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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