NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kicker Justin Tucker was among the few Ravens regulars who did not get the night off for the final exhibition game.
His performance was also one of the reasons the Ravens finished the preseason with a perfect record.
Tucker hit five field goals of distances ranging from 24 to 45 yards, and the Ravens beat the New Orleans Saints 22-13 on Thursday night.
Baltimore (4-0) found the end zone only once on Tyrod Taylor’s 8-yard pass to Deonte Thompson, but that was enough against the Saints (3-1), who struggled to score while quarterback Drew Brees got the night off.
Brees’ backup, Luke McCown, completed all four of his passes, including a short touchdown toss to Travaris Cadet on his only series. But New Orleans managed only two more field goals by Derek Dimke after Ryan Griffin relieved McCown in the first quarter.
Both clubs gave many starters the night off. Taylor started for the Ravens, completing 10 of 17 passes for 105 yards, a TD and an interception.
The Saints decision to rest Brees, who had strained a left oblique muscle early in camp, means he’ll head into the regular season having played a total of three offensive series in the preseason. He played only the first quarter of last week’s game at Indianapolis, leading two touchdown drives.
The Saints did play 36-year-old, 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey. Because of a foot injury, he’d made his preseason debut only a week earlier, and what role he’ll play during the regular season remains unclear. He played only the first quarter against Baltimore, giving up a 7-yard completion.
Quarterback Joe Flacco did not take a snap. Running back Ray Rice also did not play.
Taylor played the entire first half, leading four scoring drives, and Baltimore led 16-13 at halftime.
Keith Wenning took over under center in the second half, going 8 of 13 for 117 yards. The Ravens gained 214 yards on the ground, with Fitzgerald Toussaint rushing for 103 yards and Lorenzo Taliaferro 88. Baltimore outgained New Orleans in total yards 436-190.
McCown passed for 29 yards on his lone drive, which was helped by two personal fouls on Baltimore.
Griffin, a second-year pro out of Tulane trying to wrest the backup job from the veteran McCown, played the rest of the way, going 11 for 21 for 126 yards. He was not intercepted and was sacked once.
The Saints, founded in 1967, have never made it through a preseason without a loss. However, they did go 3-1 in the 2009 season, the same season they won their only Super Bowl.