Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker kicked 5 field goals on Thursday night, as the Ravens defeated the Saints 22-13; to finish their Pre-Season with a perfect 4-0 record — while dropping New Orleans to a 3-1 pre-season finish in a game that was essentially meaningless to both clubs. Both teams played mostly back-ups for the entire game, as they looked to keep their players fresh and healthy for the beginning of the Regular Season next Sunday. The Saints will face their hated arch-rivals the Atlanta Falcons on the road at the Georgia Dome; while the Ravens will face off against the Cincinatti Bengals at home in Baltimore.
The Saints’ highlight (if you can call it that) came on their opening offensive possession; highlighted by back-up RB Travaris Cadet’s 40-yard kickoff return and then capped off by Cadet once again on a 3-yard TD reception from 2nd string QB Luke McCown. McCown only played on that one series before yielding the reins to 3rd string QB Ryan Griffin; who it seemed was unable to take advantage of the increased playing time. Griffin was only able to manage two drives that led to FG’s, and then failed to put any points on the board in the second half.
Baltimore was led by back-up RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, who rushed for 103 yards on a total of 17 carries. The Ravens dominated in both total yardage and time of possession. They outgained the Saints 436-190 in yards gained, and held the ball for 42:39, compared to just 17:21 for the Saints — in front of a smallish crowd that was rather sparsely attended by Saints fans (even though it was officially sold out).
For the Saints, now the “real” part of the season is about to begin; as the Saints prepare to trim down their final roster to the 53-player limit which no doubt will provide the coaching staff with some tough decisions about who to keep and who to let go. Next week will also be the start of the games that actually begin to count in the standings. As soon as the final whistle blew, it unofficially began the start of “Falcons Hate Week” for many Saints fans— many of whom are chomping at the bit to square off against their bitter and hated arch-rivals in what promises to be an EPIC week of trash-talking.