Patriots-Saints Live Blog: Pats Now 1-1 On Season After 36-20 Victory

By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

Follow along for all the action from Sunday’s Patriots-Saints game in New Orleans!

Final — Patriots 36, Saints 20

The Patriots improve to 1-1 on the season with a convincing win over the Saints in New Orleans, but it may have come at a cost.

Tom Brady played at an All World level, throwing for 447 yards and three touchdowns, while Rob Gronkowski had six receptions for 116 yards and a score. But Gronk was one of the many Patriots to get dinged up during the win, leaving in the third quarter after suffering a groin injury. He was on the sidelines for the end of the contest, but we’ll be keeping a closer eye on the New England practice reports this week.

Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett, Rex Burkhead and Eric Rowe were also injured for the Patriots during this on.

The New England defense played much better, so there was a lot of promising signs from the Patriots in their first win of the year. But the injuries are a big concern that we’ll have to monitor as we head to Week 3 against the Houston Texans.

4th Quarter, 1:48: After getting flagged for an false start, Brandin Cooks took a handoff from Brady and smartly took a knee when a group of Saints defenders surrounded him.

4th Quarter, 2:00: Only two minutes to go in this one, and we’re happy to report there are no new injuries for the Patriots.

4th Quarter, 3:18: Dorsett is questionable to return with a knee injury, via the Patriots.

4th Quarter, 5:03: Chris Hogan comes down with New Orleans’ onside bid, and the Patriots will take over on the New England 44.

Tom Brady is heading back out to the field. Just hand off the ball. Please.

4th Quarter, 5:04 — Patriots 36, Saints 20

Fleener will make his fantasy owners happy today, as he out-muscles Patrick Chung and reaches out to turn a short pass from Brees into a touchdown. It capped a 10-play drive by the Saints that covered 75 yards in 3:45.

4th Quarter, 8:35: This is just getting ridiculous. Phillip Dorsett is now heading to the medical tent for the Patriots.

4th Quarter, 8:54 — Patriots 36, Saints 13

The Patriots settle for a field goal despite being down to the New Orleans 3 after Dorsett’s big grab. Gostkowski booted a 27-yard attempt through the uprights to extend the Patriots lead.

Rex Burkhead is questionable to return for the Patriots with a rib injury. At this point, they need to just get out of New Orleans without any else getting hurt.

4th Quarter, 11:48: The Saints challenged a fumble on the field, as Mike Gillislee coughed it up after he crossed the goal line. The ruling on the field was upheld, but an illegal shift will keep the score off the board for the Patriots.

Another injury for the Patriots to monitor: Rex Burkhead just made his way back to the locker room.

4th Quarter, 11:58: Brady just went deep to Phillip Dorsett, who hauled in the 38-yard reception at the New Orleans 4-yard line.

4th Quarter, 12:20: Rob Gronkowski is questionable to return with a groin injury. He’s back on the New England sideline riding a stationary bike.

End 3rd Quarter — Patriots 33, Saints 13

The Saints will face a third-and-15 when the fourth quarter begins. But all eyes are on Rob Gronkowski at the moment.

3rd Quarter, 00:40 — Patriots 33, Saints 13

Stephen Gostkowski kicks a 24-yard field goal to add to New England’s lead, but all eyes are on Rob Gronkowski.

The tight end is now heading to the medical tent.

To make matters worse, Chris Hogan also limped off the field.

3rd Quarter, 3:13: Brady just hit Gronk for 21 yards over the middle of the field, but he took a bad fall on his right shoulder while twisting to the ground. He gingerly left the field and appears to be dealing with some kind of shoulder or back injury.

He’s chatting with three trainers on the sideline.

3rd Quarter, 4:55: After Brees hit Thomas for a 21-yard pickup, Jonathan Jones made a nice play to break up another potential big gain by the Saints. Coleman couldn’t hang on to Brees’ deep bid as Coleman blanketed him in coverage, setting up a third-and-8 for New Orleans.

Brees threw it away on third down, and Lutz doinked a 49-yard field goal try off of the right upright.

:3rd Quarter, 7:34: After all of that, the Patriots punt it away after Brady’s third-down bid for Gronk is too high.

It goes in the books as a 27-yard punt after the Patriots get flagged for having 12 men on the field. Things are getting weird here in the second half.

Pats corner Eric Rowe is questionable to return with a groin injury, per the team. Hogan has been spotted with an ice pack on his knee on the sidelines, so it’s unclear if he’ll be back.

3rd Quarter, 8:47: Take another interception off the board for the Saints, as Kenny Vaccaro was flagged for a hold before he plucked Brady’s attempt for Rob Gronkowski from the air.

3rd Quarter, 8:59: The Patriots may be down to two healthy receivers, as Chris Hogan just limped off the field.

3rd Quarter, 9:29: Tom Brady may as well be officiating this one. He talked the officials out of that Hogan offensive PI in the first half, and he just kindly told them there were 12 Saints defenders on the field after he lofted up an easy pick downfield.

Instead of a pick and the ball inside the five, the Saints were penalized five yards. And the Brady hasn’t lost his mind, because that was the first thought after he tossed up that gimme for the Saints.

3rd Quarter, 11:56: Deatrich Wise Jr. has been hounding Drew Brees all day, and finally has his first sack in the box score.

The rookie got to Brees on a third-and-7, dragging him down at the 43-yard line. It’s the second sack of his NFL career, forcing a New Orleans punt. Wise has had himself a game so far, with four QB hits to go with that sack.

3rd Quarter, 12:35: Malcolm Butler just knocked a potential first-down reception away from Michael Thomas, and the receiver is holding his hand after the play.

The Patriots secondary is dealing with an injury of their own, as Eric Rowe took himself off the field and went over the medical tent.

Halftime — Patriots 30, Saints 13

After Brady ran for it on on third-and-9 with time expiring and no timeouts left, the Patriots special teams unit raced onto the field and Gostkowski booted a 28-yard field goal to add to the Patriots lead. It was perfect execution all around, from special teams getting on the field and converting, to a 40-year-old Brady and the offense getting off of the field.

Brady looks like anything but a 40-year-old quarterback, throwing for 302 yards in the first half. Rob Gronkowski looks like his old self with five receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown, and could have even bigger numbers if he hadn’t dropped a touchdown pass from Brady late in the half. Chris Hogan and Rex Burkhead also have touchdown catches on the day.

Mike Gillislee is New England’s leading rusher with 28 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. James White has 55 total yards, rushing for seven on his only carry while hauling in six passes for 48 yards.

Despite only having three healthy receivers, the New England offense looks like a well-oiled machine against this New Orleans defense. The Pats’ D has given up some big plays to Drew Brees and company, but overall, has done a solid job limited the damage.

2nd Quarter, 00:21: The Patriots had six points on the board, but Gronk dropped a touchdown pass from Brady.

Brady delivered a beautiful back shoulder pass to Gronkowski, who just dropped it.

2nd Quarter, 1:15: James White can do some extraordinary things with his feet. The back picked up 23 yards on a short, play action pass from Brady, bringing the Pats to the New Orleans 40 as they look to tack onto their lead ahead of halftime.

2nd Quarter, 2:23: Brees went deep looking for Ginn in the end zone, but had to make the throw a little too early thanks to some pressure by Cassius Marsh (yes, he did well on that play). The pass fell harmlessly a few feet away from Ginn in the end zone, and the Saints walk off the field without any points. The Pats take over on their own 25-yard line.

New Orleans knows they have to be aggressive if they want to beat the Patriots today.

2nd Quarter, 2:27: The Saints are going for it on fourth-and-3, after Wise forced Brees to throw it away on third down with some great pressure. The rookie had Brees by the leg, and if it wasn’t a future Hall of Famer in the pocket for New Orleans, Wise may have had a sack on the play.

2nd Quarter, 3:58: With Stephon Gilmore chasing Michael Thomas down the sideline after an out-cut, Brees hits the receiver for a 33 yards to the New England 32. The Pats secondary has had their issues with this New Orleans pass attack today. A lot of that has to do with the guy throwing the football. He’s pretty good.

2nd Quarter, 4:47 — Patriots 27, Saints 13

After Brandin Cooks made his first catch of the afternoon, a 22-yard reception to get the Pats down to the New Orleans 2, Mike Gillislee followed James Develin into the end zone for his fourth touchdown in a Patriots uniform. He’s the first Patriot to ever rush for four touchdowns in his first two games with the team.

The Pats answer a New Orleans field goal with a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ate up 3:31.

Tom Brady is now 15-of-20 for 245 yards on the afternoon, and there is still a lot of time left to add to those ridiculous numbers.

2nd Quarter, 5:55: What a play by the Pats offense, sending everyone to the left while Chris Hogan went right. As you probably guessed, Hogan was open over the middle and picked up 37 yards to get New England down to the New Orleans 24.

2nd Quarter, 8:18 — Patriots 20, Saints 13

Lutz boots the 35-yarder through the uprights, and the Saints inch a little bit closer to the Patriots.

2nd Quarter, 8:23: The Saints attempted to draw the Pats offsides again, and almost succeeded, but here comes Lutz for another attempt.

2nd Quarter, 8:23: After being the hero on the play before, Jones jumps offsides on the field goal attempt. That sets up a fourth-and-3 for New Orleans, who is sending their offense back out on the field (the kick was good, so they’re taking points off the board).

2nd Quarter, 8:28: Brees went looking for Ted Ginn in the end zone, and got the ball into his hands, but Jonathan Jones was there to knock the ball away at the last second.

The Saints will have to settle for a field goal.

2nd Quarter, 8:33: The Saints will face another third-and-8 after Trey Flowers applied a healthy amount of pressure on Brees, forcing him to throw the ball away.

New Orleans used their first timeout of the afternoon after that play.

2nd Quarter, 9:15: The Patriots have a Brandon Coleman problem at the moment.

Brees just hit his receiver down the sideline for a 42-yard pickup down to the New England 19. To make the play even bigger, it came on a third-and-8.

2nd Quarter, 11:04: The timeout didn’t do much, as Hau’oli Kikaha gets to Brady for a seven-yard loss. Nate Solder was beat on the play.

The Pats punt the ball away for the first time today.

2nd Quarter, 11:10: Facing a third-and-8 at their own 27, Brady and company burn New England’s first timeout of the game.

Chris Hogan couldn’t get lined up in time, and received a death stare from Tom Brady because of it.

2nd Quarter, 11:52 — Patriots 20, Saints 10

The Patriots got burned on a fade into the end zone by receiver Brandon Coleman, with Malcolm Butler getting completely screened out of the play. It was a great play design by the Saints, and Butler got stuck in traffic while Coleman made his way to the corner of the end zone.

Earlier in the drive, Patrick Chung was burned on a 38-yard leak out by Saints rookie back Alvin Kamara, setting up the touchdown.

End 1st Quarter — Patriots 20, Saints 3

There’s that sense of urgency the Patriots were hoping for the last 10 days, as they own a 17-point lead after the first quarter. The 20 points in the first quarter is the most ever for the Patriots in a Tom Brady start. It’s the first time Brady has thrown three touchdowns in the first quarter in his 273 career games (including the playoffs).

Brady is 11-of-15 for 177 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots have 217 total yards, compared to just 48 yards from the Saints.

1st Quarter, 00:16 — Patriots 20, Saints 3

After throwing no touchdowns last week against Kansas City, Brady has three touchdown passes in the first quarter this week.

Brady hit Hogan for a 13-yard touchdown this time around. The receiver was called for pass interference, but after a discussion by officials — and some arguing from Brady — they picked up the flag because the contact was at the line of scrimmage.

The Patriots are 5-for-5 on third downs today. Pretty solid start to the day.

1st Quarter, 1:28: Brady took a hit by Cam Jordan as he threw the ball, but completed a 23-yard pass to Dorsett down to the New Orleans 16-yard line. It’s his first completion to a wide receiver today.

1st Quarter, 2:35: Another third down conversion for the Patriots, as Brady gets time to work and hits Gronk for 11 yards. Pats are down to the New Orleans 39.

1st Quarter, 2:59: After he was on the field for the Patriots’ first 15 snaps, Rob Gronkowski is starting New England’s third drive on the sidelines. Allen is in as their No. 1 tight end.

1st Quarter, 4:09: The Patriots D looked solid, forcing a three-and-out after Lawrence Guy drew a holding penalty on first down.

Patrick Chung was back to field New Orleans’ first punt of the day, calling for a fair catch at the New England 33.

1st Quarter, 5:29 — Patriots 13, Saints 3 

Well, Rob Gronkowski is back.

Left in single coverage, which quickly turned into Gronk being all alone, Brady took advantage to his 10 seconds of protection and hit Gronk downfield. The tight end shook off a would-be tackler and danced into the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown — his first score of the season (and 69th receiving score of his career, which he’ll certainly have something fun to say about after this one).

So far, all of Brady’s completions have been to a tight end or running back. New Engalnd’s three healthy receivers have yet to catch a pass.

Saints rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone attempted to cover Gronk on that one, but quickly lost him off of the line. Anzalone has been in coverage for both of New England’s touchdowns so far.

1st Quarter, 7:15: Brady just hit Burkhead over the middle after faking it to Gillislee for an 18-yard gain. Burkhead looks fantastic so far in this one.

1st Quarter 7:38 — Patriots 6, Saints 3

After getting to the New England 30 with relative ease, New Orleans settles for a 46-yard field goal from Wil Lutz.

Ingram and Peterson were stuffed on first and second down carries, respectively, but the Pats wrapped up all of Brees’ options on third down and he had to throw it away.

Malcolm Butler has seen time as New England’s third corner. He was out there for the third down incomplete by Brees.

1st Quarter, 8:45: The Saints are marching now, down to the New England 31 after a pair of Brees completions. He went to Michael Thomas for nine yards on second-and-4 and then hit Tommylee Lewis in the flat for 16 yards to move down to the New England 31.

1st Quarter, 9:55: Mark Ingram got the first carry for the Saints today. Adrian Peterson was the first back to get a carry for them in Week 1.

The Saints are starting at their own 38-yard line after a facemask on Langi on the kickoff.

1st Quarter, 10:30 — Patriots 6, Saints 0

The Patriots went marching right down the field on their first drive, capped off by a 19-yard touchdown toss from Brady to Rex Burkhead. It’s Brady’s first touchdown toss of the season.

It was a 10-play drive that saw New England convert on a pair of third downs, and just about everything went right for the New England offense. That is, until Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point wide left. He missed three extra points last season.

Brady was 6-of-7 for 58 yards and the score, with James White catching three of those passes. Cooks couldn’t catch his first target from Brady in his return to New Orleans, but picked up 13 yards on a carry to move the chains on second down.

1st Quarter, 12:15: The Pats start this one off with a pair of third down conversions. First to James White as Brady felt the pressure (and took a hit) from Cameron Jordan, and then a 12-yard pickup to Gronk over the middle on a third-and-8.

The Saints are bringing the pressure on Brady. With just three active receivers, we’re seeing a lot of the three tight end formation with Gronk, Dwayne Allen and Jacoby Hollister.

1st Quarter, 15:00: Dion Lewis is back to return the opening kickoff.

Pregame — 1:01 p.m.: The Patriots should know by now that tails never fails. But they called heads, lost the opening coin toss and the Saints defer to the second half.

Pregame — 12:44 p.m.: Former Patriots and Saints linebacker Rob Ninkovich is at the Superdome for today’s game:

Unfortunately he’s enjoying retirement and won’t be able to help the New England pass rush.

Pregame — 12:30 p.m.: Here’s an interesting development from New Orleans: Malcolm Butler is not warming up with the first-team defense:

Instead, Butler is warming up with the second-team opposite Jonathan Jones. Eric Rowe is lined up across from Stephon Gilmore with the rest of the defensive starters.

We’ll have to see where Malcolm lines up when this one kicks off.

Pregame  — 12:05 p.m.: In addition to McCourty and Chung, Brandin Cooks is also returning punts on the field ahead of the game.

Cooks, making his return to New Orleans after being traded to New England in the offseason, returned 10 punts for the Saints in 2014 but only three total over the last two seasons.

Pregame — 11:35 a.m.: The Patriots are looking to avoid their first 0-2 start to a season since 2001, as they pay a visit to the Saints in New Orleans.

The last 10 days have been about the Patriots moving on from their embarrassing opening night effort against the Kansas City Chiefs, with quarterback Tom Brady and others calling out the teams attitude and urgency during their Week 1 loss. They’ve said all the right things leading up to this one, but now is time to show they’ve truly fixed what went wrong last Thursday.

That isn’t going to be easy, as the Pats are shorthanded on both sides of the ball. Dont’a Hightower is out, leaving a giant void on a defense that struggled mightily last week. We should see a lot of undrafted free agent Harvey Langi, who will be making his NFL debut after missing last week’s loss with a concussion. He’ll be one of the many Patriots trying to put some pressure on Saints’ QB Drew Brees.

Brady is also without Danny Amendola on offense, and will have just three healthy receivers active for today’s game: Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and newcomer Phillip Dorsett. Expect to see more out of Rob Gronkowski (who had just two catches last week) and New England’s stable of running backs in the passing game this afternoon.

With Amendola sidelined with a concussion and knee injury, that leaves safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung to handle punt returning duties.

We already knew that Hightower, Amendola, Matthew Slater and Vincent Valentine were sitting this one out, with Nate Ebner joining that group last night. Offensive linemen LaAdrian Waddle and Cole Croston are New Engalnd’s final two inactive for this game, the Patriots announced a short time ago:

Right tackle Marcus Cannon is active after being listed as questionable with an ankle injury on Friday. Rookie tight end Jacob Hollister is also active and looks set to make his NFL debut.

For the Saints, former Pats wide receiver Austin Carr is among their inactives:

Stick with CBSBostonsports.com for all the updates before, during and after today’s game. You can catch the action on 98.5 The Sports Hub and on WBZ-TV starting at 1pm, with Patriots Fifth Quarter on WBZ-TV after the game and three full hours of postgame coverage on 98.5!

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