Late touchdown pass gives Saints 21-7 lead at half

AP

The Raiders kept the Saints offense in check for much of the first half, but they couldn’t get off the field in time to stop them from taking a two touchdown lead.

Drew Brees hit Lance Moore with a 38-yard touchdown pass with 50 seconds to play in the second quarter, handing the Saints a 21-7 lead right after two defensive plays sparked some hope that they might tie the game before the half. Cornerback Joselio Hanson forced tight end Jimmy Graham to fumble after a catch, but Graham recovered. Brees took an intentional grounding penalty on the next play to set up a long third down that turned into the touchdown to Moore.

Up until that point, the Saints had struggled to generate much offensively after their opening drive ended with a one-yard touchdown pass to Graham. They were able to do enough on the two scoring drives to make up for the lack of production in between.

One thing that could help their defense is the Saints’ loss of right tackle Charles Brown. He was carted off the field with a right knee injury. Zach Strief is inactive, leaving rookie Bryce Harris on the right side and he gave up pressures on his first couple of plays.

The Raiders wouldn’t have needed a hold there to stay within easy striking distance if not for a pair of Carson Palmer interceptions. Malcolm Jenkins took one 55 yards for a touchdown and Roman Harper nabbed the other one in the end zone to end a nine-minute Raiders drive without any points. Marcel Reese has done well on the ground and in the air, but the Raiders will need to cut out the mistakes on offense to have a shot in the second half of this one.