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New Orleans Falls to 0-3 Following 31-14 Loss to Tennessee

The Saints fall to 0-3 after losing to the Titans (2-1) 31-14. The New Orleans defense looked very suspect on the first few drives of the game. QB Vince Young didn’t have a problem finding an open receiver as the Titans had two solid drives that resulted in 10 points. But on the first drive the Saints were able to tackle Young for a loss of more than 10 yards to take the Titans out of field goal range and force a punt. CB Jason David also ended a Tennessee drive quickly with an interception he returned for 19 yards but the Saints were unable to capitalize and did not score on the ensuing drive.

The Saints did a poor job protecting QB Drew Brees. He was only sacked once but was hurried on almost every pass attempt. Despite a slow start in the first half on offense, the Saints were able to sustain a drive to close out the first half. RB Deuce McAllister was not apart of that drive, as he had already left the game with a knee injury. RB’s Aaron Stecker and Reggie Bush stepped up in McAllister’s absence; Stecker converted a key 3rd and short and Bush carried the load when the Saints got inside the 10, capping the drive off with a TD to bring the score to 10-7 in favor of the Titans.

The Saints opened the second half with a trick a play that had Bush taking a hand off but throwing back across the backfield to Brees who was unable to find a receiver and had to throw the ball away. New Orleans was forced to punt following the first drive, but the second drive of the 2nd half had an entirely different result. Brees led the Saints offens down the field with key third down completions to WR Marquis Coltson. Bush capped the drive off with a short touchdown run to give the Saints a 14-10 lead.

The Titans answered right back, starting the drive on their own 43 following a great kick return by rookie Michael Griffin. Young again led the Titans down the field with some great precision passes. The Titans took a 17-14 lead when RB Lendale White smashed his way into the endzone following a clutch catch by veteran WR Eric Moulds to get the Titans to the 1-yard line. On the next drive after the Saints had driven the ball inside Tennessee territory. But on the first play of the 4th quarter Travis Laboy stripped Brees of the football and the Titans Randy Starks recovered the football to give the Titans the ball on the 50-yard line. Young connected with WR Roydell Williams for a big 18 yard pass to convert a 3rd down before he found TE Bo Scaife for a 3 yard TD pass to extend the Titan lead to 24-14 with 8:55 to play in the game.
The game was basically over when Titan LB Keith Bullock intercepted a Brees pass near midfield and returned the ball inside the 10 –yard line. The Saints defense was able to come up with a big stop on 3rd and short to force a 27-yard field goal that was missed by Rob Bironas. But the Saints were unable to capitalize; with less than 3 minutes to play Vincent Fuller intercepted a tipped Brees pass and returned the pick 61 yards for a TD. If the game wasn’t over before the “pick six” it certainly was after as it brought the score to 31-14. Bullock intercepted his 3rd pass of the night to end the final New Orleans drive.

Young finished 14-22 for 164 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT. He carried the ball 3 times for 23 yards. RB Lendale White carried the ball 17 times for 50 yards and 1 TD. The Titans’ most valuable player of the game has to go to LB Keith Bullock who intercepted 3 passes.

Brees finished the game with 4 INT’s and 1 Fumble lost. 4 of Brees’ turnovers came in the 2nd half. Bush gained 15 yards and scored 2 TD’s on 7 carries. He caught 6 passes for 30 yards. WR Marquis Colston caught 4 balls for 68 yards.

The Saints will have their work cut out for them as only 5 times have ever made the playoffs after starting a season 0-3.

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