Final

Chargers 21

(1-2, 0-1 away)

Saints 36

(2-1, 2-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

8:00 PM ET, August 27, 2010

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA 

1 2 3 4 T
SD 7 7 0 721
NO 7 10 3 1636

Drew Brees keeps humming as Saints roll Chargers

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Chris Ivory's college career was a bust.

The Saints gave him a chance anyway, and it is beginning to look like New Orleans may have plucked another exciting running back from the ranks of the undrafted.

Ivory turned a swing pass into a tackle-breaking, zigzagging, 76-yard score, and finished as both the game-high rusher and receiver in New Orleans' 36-21 preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers on Friday night.

"I know I've got to come out and work hard, open some eyes and just prove that I want to be here," Ivory said. "I'm trying to go hard every play so I can keep [coaches'] minds open and make this team."

The rookie rushed for 45 yards on 11 carries, with a long run of 16 yards. He turned his only catch into the longest reception in the game by bowling over defenders, making others miss and carrying one on his back across the goal line.

Essentially, he played like Pierre Thomas, who joined the Saints as an undrafted rookie in 2007.

Ivory, who is a broad-shouldered 6 feet and 222 pounds, never rushed for more than 313 yards at Washington State, where he spent three years before being dismissed for violations such as being late to meetings and missing a practice. He finished his college career last year with an injury-plagued season at Division II Tiffin and wound up with a grand total of 757 yards rushing in four college seasons.

With his performance against San Diego coming after solid outings in the Saints' first two preseason games -- he had a TD run at New England and rushed for 66 yards against Houston -- he appears likely to make the regular season roster, particularly after season-ending injuries to running backs Lynell Hamilton and P.J. Hill.

"He made a heck of a play on the catch for the touchdown," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "He just consistently has been able to get positive yards, but there's some things we've got to get corrected. That's somewhat to be expected. Certainly coming where he's coming from is a big step up."

Drew Brees set the tone for New Orleans (2-1) with 240 yards passing, including touchdowns to Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem.

Philip Rivers led two touchdown drives for the Chargers (1-2). His 167 yards passing included a 9-yard TD toss to Malcom Floyd. Antonio Gates caught five passes for 66 yards.

"We had a lot of success early and drove the ball well," Gates said. "We accomplished exactly what we had to tonight."

The Saints had a scare when starting middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma went down with a right groin injury early in the third quarter. He jogged off the field on his own and the severity of his injury was not immediately clear.

Brees was 18 of 27 and looked sharp for the most part, though his longest completion, a 46-yard touchdown to Henderson, looked like an ill-advised throw into coverage that was nearly intercepted.

Cornerback Antoine Cason saw the pass all the way, got inside position and went up for the interception near the goal line, but Henderson swiped from behind to break up the play and wound up tipping the ball to himself in the end zone.

The Chargers are hoping Cason, a 2008 first-round draft pick, can help fill the void left when the Chargers traded Antonio Cromartie to the New York Jets. Cason had a rough night against Brees and the Saints' high-powered offense, though.

He was victimized on New Orleans' second score when he anticipated a throw to the corner of the end zone, only to have Meachem cut underneath for an easy 15-yard catch to make it 14-7.

Brees' highlights including a 21-yard pass down the middle to Jeremy Shockey and a heady backhanded flip to Reggie Bush in the flat for a 38-yard gain that set up Garrett Hartley's 40-yard field goal in the last minute of the first half. Bush wound up with seven receptions for 70 yards. Marques Colston had 55 yards on four catches.

San Diego's first-team offense put together two scoring drives in the first half. The Chargers opened the game with a balanced, 12-play, 82-yard touchdown drive. Jacob Hester capped it with a powerful 6-yard run on which he stretched across the goal line. Rivers was 5 of 6 for 44 yards on the drive, while first-round draft choice Ryan Mathews gained 32 yards on five carries, highlighted by a 16-yard run.

"Coming out on the first drive, it was as good as it gets," said Rivers, who finished 16 of 27. "We are playing against a good team out there, at their home. I really think we got what we wanted to get out of it."

Journeyman Billy Volek replaced Rivers in the third quarter and was intercepted by Usama Young on a deep pass. He was later intercepted by Leigh Torrence, who went the other way for an 87-yard score in the final seconds.

Former Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey backed up Brees and was 10 of 18 for 191 yards and one TD.

The Saints, who have led the NFL in offense in three of the past four seasons, finished with 552 yards.

Game notes


Payton did not have any updates on Vilma's condition, but Vilma wrote, "I'll be fine," on his Twitter account. ... Saints reserve offensive tackle Zach Strief hurt his right knee, but the severity was not immediately known. ... Hartley was perfect on field goal attempts of 40, 27 and 35 yards. ... Volek was 9 of 21 for 97 yards. ... Mathews finished with 43 yards on 13 carries.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SD
NO
1st Downs2025
Passing 1st downs
1417
Rushing 1st downs
57
1st downs from Penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
6-157-16
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Plays6974
Total Yards323552
Yards per play4.77.5
Total Drives1414
Passing255423
Comp - Att
25-4828-45
Yards per pass
5.39.4
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-91-8
Rushing68129
Rushing Attempts
2028
Yards per rush
3.44.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-31-3
Penalties3-2511-90
Turnovers21
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession28:4531:15

Passing Leaders

SDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rivers16/271676.2100-0
Volek9/21974.6021-9
NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees18/272408.9201-8
Ramsey10/1819110.6110-0

Rushing Leaders

SDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mathews13433.3016
Volek2115.5110
NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ivory11454.1016
Thomas7415.9016

Receiving Leaders

SDRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Gates56613.20297
Floyd45112.81208
NORECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Ivory17676.01761
Bush77010.00388

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSDNO
sdTD08:22Jacob Hester 6 Yd Run (Nate Kaeding Kick) 70
noTD00:05Devery Henderson 46 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERSDNO
noTD09:30Robert Meachem 15 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 714
sdTD03:48Malcom Floyd 9 Yd Pass From Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding Kick) 1414
noFG00:37Garrett Hartley 40 Yd 1417
THIRD QUARTERSDNO
noFG00:50Garrett Hartley 27 Yd 1420
FOURTH QUARTERSDNO
noTD07:18Chris Ivory 76 Yd Pass From Patrick Ramsey (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 1426
sdTD05:44Billy Volek 1 Yd Run (Nate Kaeding Kick) 2126
noFG01:47Garrett Hartley 35 Yd 2129
noTD00:07Leigh Torrence 87 Yd Interception Return (Garrett Hartley Kick) 2136