24 - 27 Final
  for this game

Pats beat Saints 27-24 as champs allow big plays

Aug 13, 2010 - 7:17 AM It's way too early to mention a Super Bowl hangover for the New Orleans Saints.

If they keep playing the way they did at New England in their preseason opener Thursday night, that phrase will begin to be thrown around.

The Saints gave up big plays and a decisive 28-yard field goal in the final minute of a 27-24 loss.

"Mistakes and some mental errors, substitution issues and missed assignments. I think all those are normal for a first preseason game," Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees said. "We probably had more than we would have liked and we need to get those things corrected.

"Every one of us should be held accountable. I need to improve just like everybody else does."

For the Patriots, it was a successful return to the field where their last game was a rout, a 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs.

That shouldn't affect the coming season, either.

"It's a new year. We've had 20 practices," coach Bill Belichick said. "Whatever happened last year was last year."

The Saints lost more than a game during their visit to New England, which began Tuesday with two days of joint practices.

On Wednesday, No. 3 running back Lynell Hamilton tore his right anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that likely will sideline him for the season. On the Saints first possession Thursday, punter Thomas Morstead hurt his left shoulder knocking Julian Edelman out of bounds after a 40-yard return, and kicker Garrett Hartley punted the rest of the night.

After the game, Morstead was walking with his arm in a sling. Saints coach Sean Payton said X-rays were negative, and Morstead was due for an MRI in New Orleans on Friday.

In other games Thursday night, it was Oakland 17, Dallas 9, and Baltimore 17, Carolina 12.

The Saints punted four times on their five first-half possessions and managed just a field goal on their last four of the game. Their final series ended with an interception. And there were plenty of missed tackles.

"Too many sloppy things we've got to get corrected," Payton said. "I know it's the first week of preseason; still, a lot of things are disturbing. ... I think we'll put the tape in and we'll see it wasn't just young players."

Tom Brady played New England's first two series and went 5 for 8 for 67 yards. In last year's exhibition opener, he played for the first time since the 2008 regular-season opener, when a knee injury ended his season.

Stephen Gostkowski kicked the winning 28-yard field goal with 53 seconds left after Darnell Jenkins caught a short pass from seventh-round draft pick Zac Robinson and turned it into a 52-yard gain. The Saints also allowed kickoff returns of 52 and 50 yards by first-round draft pick Devin McCourty.

The Patriots held out wide receiver Wes Welker despite his strong comeback from a torn ACL in his left knee sustained in the last regular-season game. He is expected to be ready for the opener Sept. 12 at home against Cincinnati.

Raiders 17, Cowboys 9=

At Arlington, Texas, the Cowboys were within 16 yards of the end zone on four drives, yet managed only three field goals. It came back to bite them when the Raiders got two touchdowns and a field goal in the final 4:58 to win.

Dallas had snaps from Oakland's 16, 13, 9 and 10 without getting into the end zone. One of those drives was stopped on downs, and the others were settled by David Buehler making kicks of 42, 27 and 28 yards.

Oakland went ahead 10-9 with 2:24 left when first-string kicker Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 28-yard field goal. Swayze Waters had badly missed a 34-yarder at the start of the fourth quarter.

Raiders safety Jerome Boyd stretched the lead when he intercepted a deflected pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown with 33 seconds left.

Ravens 17, Panthers 12=

At Baltimore, Joe Flacco guided Baltimore's retooled offense to a pair of scores, and the Ravens held Carolina without a touchdown.

Flacco went 8 for 12 for 120 yards and a touchdown. He produced a field goal in his first series, then went three-and-out before directing a 96-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton.

Carolina quarterback Matt Moore, hindered by poor protection and three penalties against left tackle Jordan Gross, failed to produce any points during his three possessions.

Backup Jimmy Clausen went 8 for 15 for 80 yards and an interception in his informal NFL debut. He was sacked twice.

A torrential rain began in the third quarter, causing a sloppy game to become even messier.

Carolina's lone touchdown came when C.J. Wilson took a fumble by fourth-string running back Jalen Parmele into the end zone from 31 yards.

Baltimore's Prince Miller broke seven tackles during a 57-yard punt return that set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Troy Smith for a 17-9 lead.