Saints drop season opener to Cardinals, 31-19
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cardinals beat the Saints 31-19.
With under two minutes to play, Palmer fired a short pass to David Johnson, who broke free for a 55-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach.
Drew Brees finished the day 30-of-48 for 355 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Mark Ingram hauled in eight receptions for 98 yards, while adding 24 rushing yards.
New Orleans (0-1) plays host to Tampa Bay (0-1) next Sunday at noon.
The Cardinals marched 80 yards on the game's opening possession, with Palmer completing five of his first six passes. Palmer found John Brown for a 10-yard touchdown to put Arizona up 7-0.
The Saints responded with a 37-yard field goal from rookie kicker Zach Hocker to make it 7-3.
In the second quarter, Arizona engineered its second touchdown drive, taking advantage of multiple Saints miscues. First, Palmer hit a wide open Darren Fells for a 48-yard catch and run. Then a defensive pass interference call on Delvin Breaux gave the Cardinals a first and goal situation. Andre Ellington cashed in on a one-yard touchdown, and Arizona went up 14-3.
After an Arizona penalty gave New Orleans a key first down, the Saints would score their second touchdown on a Brees to Brandon Coleman connection, with Coleman shaking a tackle from Tyrann Mathieu and diving for the pylon. New Orleans cut the deficit to 14-10.
Brees was 15-21 for 125 yards and the TD in the first half.
The Saints settled for a 23-yard field goal from Hocker to start the third quarter. Brees hooked up with Willie Snead on a 63-yard pickup to set up the field goal.
After the teams traded turnovers, a Delvin Breaux fumble recovery and Drew Brees interception, the Cardinals added a field goal to lead 17-13. New Orleans pulled back within one on a Zach Hocker 45-yard boot to make it 17-16.
Arizona extended its fourth quarter advantage with a Carson Palmer to Darren Fells touchdown, and the Cardinals led the Saints 24-16.
However, the Saints answered right back with Zach Hocker's fourth field goal of the day, a 33-yarder to make it 24-19. Drew Brees found Mark Ingram on a 59-yard reception to set up the attempt.
But that was as close as they would get as a late game drive stalled, and the Saints punted before Arizona's final touchdown drive.
Saints safety Rafael Bush left the game in the first half with a chest injury and did not return. Damian Swann led the Saints with six tackles, while Hau'oli Kikaha forced a fumble.
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