Saints Fall To Cardnals In Opener, 31-19
The New Orleans Saints fell in their 2015 regular season opener on Sunday afternoon, dropping a 31-19 decision to the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer surpassed 300 passing yards, and threw for three touchdowns, as the Cardinals collected the 12-point win.
With the setback the Saints have now lost two-consecutive season-opening game, as week as four of their last five.
Arizona got on the scoreboard first, at 9:46 mark of the first quarter, when Palmer hit John Brown with a 10-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 9-play, 80-yard, opening drive, giving them a quick 7-0.
New Orleans also scored on their first possession, when Zach Hocker booted through a 37-yard field goal, completing an 11-play, 61-yard drive, which trimmed the deficit to 7-3.
The Cardinals scored the first points of the second quarter, when Andre Ellington scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge, ending a 5-play, 88-yard drive, extending their lead to 14-3 at the 11:03 mark of the period.
The Saints got closer on their next possession, when Drew Brees threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to rookie Brandon Coleman, putting the exclamation point on a 12-play, 80-yard drive, that took 5:49 off the clock, cutting the deficit to 14-10, which is how the first half scoring ended.
Arizona outgained New Orleans, in terms of total yards in the first half, 213-165, including a 161-125 advantage through the air, as well as a 52-40 edge on the ground.
Palmer led the way for the Cardinals, offensively, in the first half, completing 12-of-20 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, while Ellington had 30 rushing yards, including a touchdown, with Brown hauling in 4 catches for 46 yards, including a touchdown.
For the Saints, Brees completed 15-of-21 first half passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, with Mark Ingram gaining 18 rushing yards, while Khiry Robinson compiled 41 receiving yards on 3 catches.
New Orleans took the second half kickoff and put three points on the board, when Hocker converted on his second field goal, this one from 23 yards out, capping off a 5-play, 71-yard drive, trimming the Arizona lead to 14-13 at the 12:05 mark of the third quarter.
The Cardinals regained a 4-point advantage at the :04 mark of the third period, when Connor Catanzaro kicked through a 43-yard field goal, completing a 5-play, 35-yard drive, giving them a 17-13 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
New Orleans, on their next possession, scored the first points of the final frame, when Hocker put through his third field goal of the game, this one from 45 yards out, ending a 9-play, 53-yard drive, to get them to within one point once again, 17-16.
The Cardinals made it an 8-point game on their next possession however, when Palmer threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this one to Derrick Fells, from 17 yards away, capping off a 5-play, 80 yard drive, to extend the lead to 24-16 with 9:48 to go.
The Saints, and Hocker, responded, as the rookie nailed his fourth field goal of the game, this one from 33 yards, completing a 6-play, 65-yard drive, to get them to within 5 points, 24-19, with 6:50 remaining.
The Cardinals put the game away at the 1:33 mark of the fourth quarter however, when Palmer tossed his third an final touchdown pass of the game, this one to David Johnson from 55 yards out, on the second play of a 57-yard game-clinching touchdown, as Arizona went on to the 12-point win.
Arizona outgained New Orleans, in terms of total yards, 427-408, including a 120-54 advantage on the ground, while the Saints finished with a 354-307 edge in the passing department.
For the Cardinals, offensively, Palmer led the way, completing 19-of-37 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns, while Ellington finished with 69 yards on the ground, including a touchdown, while Larry Fitzgerald caught 6 passes for 87 yards
In a losing cause for the Saints, Brees completed 30-of-48 passes for 355 yards, to go along with a touchdown and an interception, while Ingram finished as the team leader in both rushing and receiving yards, with 24 and 98, respectively.
With the victory, Arizona is 1-0 to begin the season, while New Orleans fell to 0-1.
The Saints return to action next Sunday, when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home opener.