QB Drew Brees threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Saints lead the Raiders 21-7 after the second quarter. Safeties Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins have each recorded an interception and Jenkins returned his 55 yards for another Saints score.
The Oakland Raiders won the coin toss and chose to receive to begin the two team’s first matchup since 2008. The Saints defense was able to hold the Raiders on their opening possession and forced a punt by P Shane Lechler.
Starting at their own 20-yard line, QB Drew Brees and the Saints offense wasted no time moving the ball down the field. Brees completed five of six passes for 41 yards while RBs Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas added 39 yards on the ground. Brees capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown pass to TE Jimmy Graham, extending his NFL-record streak of consecutive games with a TD pass to 53. K Garrett Hartley made the extra point to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.
Then, following a three-and-out by both teams, QB Carson Palmer fired a pass intended for TE Brandon Myers but the ball was intercepted by S Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins returned the ball 55 yards the other way for a Saints touchdown and Hartley added the extra point to give the New Orleans a 14-0 first quarter advantage.
The Raiders led a 17-play drive that spanned from the first quarter into the second period over 8:58 but the Saints defense made a big stop in the red zone. Palmer threw incomplete to TE Brandon Myers but the ball was tipped off the hands of Myers and fell into the reach of S Roman Harper who made the interception in the endzone.
Following a Saints three-and-out, the Raiders were able to move down the field for an 81-yard scoring drive. Palmer completed a pass to FB Marcel Reece who was able to break a tackle and pick up 56 yards down the left sideline. Then, following a pass interference call against the Saints, Palmer completed a one-yard touchdown pass to Myers on a play action roll-out. K Sebastian Janikowski made the extra point to bring the score to 14-7 with 4:10 remaining in the first half.
Brees was left with one more opportunity before the end of the first half. He completed first down throws of 24-yards and 16-yards to WR Marques Colston before finding WR Lance Moore deep down the middle of the field for a 38-yard touchdown. Hartley added the PAT to increase the Saints lead to 21-7 with less than one minute remaining in the first half.
DE Will Smith then sacked Palmer on the Raiders last possession to bring the first half to a close.
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