CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Taysom Hill had 191 yards of offense and directed three second-half scoring drives to help the New Orleans Saints rally for a 19-17 exhibition victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
In a game where Philip Rivers and Drew Brees were sideline observers, Hill supplied most of the quarterback highlights. The third-year, all-purpose player was 11 of 15 for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns and ran for 55 yards. New Orleans trailed 17-3 at halftime.
Hill threw a 27-yard TD pass to Austin Carr with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter to bring the Saints (1-1) to 17-10.
He then directed an 11-play, 69-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter that culminated in a 1-yard TD pass to Devine Ozigbo. The Saints went for 2, but Hill was sacked by Anthony Lanier II.
Following a Chargers punt, Hill drove the Saints into field goal range, where Will Lutz made a 28-yarder with 1:08 remaining.
Troymaine Pope returned a punt 81 yards and Andre Patton had five receptions for 62 yards for the Chargers (0-2).
The Chargers led 10-3 late in the second quarter when Pope ran back Thomas Morestead’s punt with three seconds remaining. Pope — a second-year running back — made three New Orleans defenders miss within the first 15 yards before finding an opening up the left sideline and outrunning Dwayne Washington to the end zone.
Patton, who did not play in the Aug. 8 preseason opener at Arizona due to injury, gave the Chargers a 7-3 lead with 5:32 remaining when he got past New Orleans cornerback P.J. Williams and hauled in a 26-yard pass from Cardale Jones to complete a 10–play, 98-yard drive.
Jones, who is in a battle with fifth-round pick Easton Stick for the third quarterback spot, was 10 of 14 for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, who have been getting most of the snaps at running back while Melvin Gordon holds out, struggled.
Ekeler was held to nine yards on three carries while Jackson had eight rushes for 33 yards. Both backs didn’t have many clean rushing lanes as the Saints’ defensive line had the advantage over the Chargers’ offensive line.
New Orleans moved the ball well at times but had two critical turnovers in the red zone. Washington had a ball bounce off his hands and into the arms of safety Jaylen Watkins at the Chargers’ 2-yard line for an interception during the second quarter. Los Angeles would take advantage and drive for a touchdown.
During the fourth quarter, linebacker Denzel Perryman forced Ozigbo to fumble and it was recovered by Adarius Pickett at the LA 9.
Chargers first-round pick Jerry Tillery played in his first game and recorded a sack during the second quarter. The defensive tackle, the 28th overall selection in April’s draft, got past two offensive linemen to bring down Teddy Bridgewater.
Saints: Visit the New York Jets next Saturday as Brees is likely to get his only snaps of the preseason.
Chargers: Host Seattle next Saturday.