For most of the Saints starters, including new papa Drew Brees, the most action they got Thursday night was running on the field for introductions — and that was just the offense.
Besides Brees, whose inactive status for the team’s final preseason game was announced beforehand, other listed offensive starters who did not at least line up for their opening series Thursday were wide receivers Kenny Stills and Marques Colston, running back Mark Ingram, tackles Terron Armstead and Zach Strief, tight end Jimmy Graham and center Jonathan Goodwin.
In their stead were Luke McCown at quarterback, Khiry Robinson at running back, Joe Morgan and Nick Toon at wide receiver, Nic Jacobs at tight end, Tim Lelito at center and Bryce Harris and Thomas Welch at tackle.
Erik Lorig was listed as the starting fullback, but he has missed the entire preseason and Austin Johnson again started in his spot.
On defense, linebackers David Hawthorne and Parys Haralson, ends Akiem Hicks, cornerback Patrick Robinson and free safety Jarius Byrd were the only “starters” on the field for the first snap.
Sitting out were nose tackle Broderick Bunkley, linebackers Curtis Lofton and Junior Galette, cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro.
The actual other starters were defensive end Glenn Foster, nose tackle John Jenkins, linebackers Kasim Edebali and Ramon Humber, strong safety Vinnie Sunseri and Byrd and cornerback Corey White.
If it seemed like the Ravens had the ball for the entire game, they almost did.
At one point late in the game, the visitors had 76 plays to the Saints’ 31 and led in time of possession 40:54-17:21. It wound up 79-37 and 42:39-17:21.
Baltimore had five possessions of 10 plays or more. The Saints’ longest was seven.
The Ravens had 19 third-down situations (converting 11) and one fourth down try to the Saints seven and one.
And while it was the final game of the preseason, Saints nose tackle Jonathan Jenkins said it was a situation that they cannot allow to happen once the scores count.
“That was really frustrating,” he said. “When you’re a defensive player, you believe in three-and-out, almost like it’s a religion.
“We were trying new things, people in different positions, so that’s going to happen. But we can’t let that be that way again.”
See you later
With their first two regular-season games on the road, at Atlanta and at Cleveland, the Saints won’t play in the Superdome again until Sept. 21. How time flies
Less than two years ago, Baltimore was defeating San Francisco 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
On Thursday night, just eight of the Ravens’ starters from that game were listed as starters against the Saints — quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, wide receiver Torrey Smith, guards Kelechi Osemele and Marshall Yanda, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw.
Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the only Baltimore player who did not see action in that Super Bowl, started Thursday in place of Flacco.
In that Super Bowl, New Orleans native Jacoby Jones made history with a 108-yard kickoff return, the longest play in the game’s history. But he didn’t get a chance to duplicate the performance Monday, sitting out the game along with a number of Ravens regulars.
Those duties were handled Thursday by rookie Michael Campanaro, a seventh-round draft pick out of Wake Forest.
They’ll be back
The Ravens will return for a Monday night game Nov. 24.
Last year, the Saints played at Miami in the final preseason game, losing 24-21 but then defeating at the Dolphins 34-17 in Week 4 of the regular season.
The last time the Saints hosted to a team in both the preseason and regular season was 1998 against Tampa Bay. The Saints won both times, 10-6 in the exhibition game and 9-3 in the regular season.