Saints finish second straight winless preseason

Baltimore's Josh Johnson passed for 181 yards and rushed for a short touchdown, and the Ravens defeated the New Orleans Saints 23-14 on Thursday night in both clubs' preseason finale.
 
The performance was an important one for Johnson, who is competing with Ryan Mallett to back up Joe Flacco.
 
Mallett, who started, was 8 of 12 for 65 yards before Johnson was given a chance to finish the game.
 
The loss dropped the Saints to 0-4 and completed their second straight winless preseason. New Orleans has now lost nine straight preseason games, a streak that began against Baltimore in the Superdome at the end of the 2014 preseason.
 
Saints coach Sean Payton had said when the preseason began that he thought it was important to try to win preseason games in order to cultivate a competitive edge on the heels of back-to-back 7-9 regular seasons. So following a sluggish outing by starters in a preseason loss to Pittsburgh a week earlier, Payton elected to play his starters early against the Ravens.
 
But the offensive line, which has struggled this preseason, continued to do so. Baltimore's defense registered three sacks - one of which resulted in a fumble for a touchdown - and held the Saints to 259 total net yards.
 
Drew Brees started at quarterback for New Orleans and led the Saints to a field goal on his only drive, going 3 of 6 for 40 yards. Luke McCown replaced Brees but struggled, completing only two passes on four attempts and also lost a fumble into the end zone when he was sacked and stripped by undrafted rookie nose guard Michael Pierce, who also recovered the fumble for a touchdown in the second quarter.
 
Garrett Grayson finished the game for the Saints at quarterback, completing 11 of 16 passes for 98 yards and a late touchdown on a 3-yard pass to fullback Austin Johnson.
 
ROOKIE WATCH
 
Ravens: Including his sack, strip and recovery for a TD, Pierce now has six solo or assisted preseason tackles, including 1 1/2 sacks and a QB hit ... Linebacker Kamalei Correa, a second-round pick, started at inside linebacker. He assisted on one tackle. Outside linebacker Victor Ochi had a sack.
 
Saints: Defensive tackle David Onyemata, a fourth-round pick out of Manitoba, had what appeared to be a sack of Johnson, but it was wiped out by rookie cornerback Ken Crawley's illegal contact penalty. Receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert caught two passes for 41 yards, including a late 30 yarder to set up New Orleans' lone TD. Seventh-round pick Daniel Lasco had two catches for 16 yards and rushed twice for 11 yards. Cornerback P.J. Williams was credited with four tackles.
 
POSITION BATTLES
 
Ravens: Alex Lewis started at left guard with John Urschel nursing an undisclosed "contusion." Receiver Breshad Perriman, a 2015 first-round draft pick who has been riddled with knee injuries, finally took his first live game snaps for the Ravens. He caught two of four passes thrown his way for 25 yards.
 
Saints: Kicker Kai Forbath hit a 36-yard field goal to cap the Saints' first drive. He's competing to keep his job against Connor Barth, who made 40-yarder late in the first quarter. Linebacker Craig Robertson had a sack of Josh Johnson in the second quarter. John Jenkins, who is competing for snaps at defensive tackle, was credited with two sacks.
 
INJURY UPDATE
 
Ravens: Defensive back Carrington Byndom left the game with what the Ravens said was a hamstring injury. Defensive tackle Carl Davis was taken to the locker room with a left ankle injury.
 
Saints: The Saints did not report any injuries and none were apparent during the game.

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