NEW ORLEANS -- If the Raiders were using their preseason game against the New Orleans Saints to gauge how far they have to go join the realm of the relevant, they learned a hard truth Friday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Saints were dominant on both sides of the ball en route to a 28-20 win before 72,122 fans, with the Raiders creeping back into the game with the help of their second-team defense against the New Orleans second-team offense.
As for the guys who likely will be lining up against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 8 in the regular-season opener, it was a step backward after an encouraging first preseason win against the Dallas Cowboys.
New Orleans jumped to a 23-0 first-half lead with Drew Brees completing 14 of 18 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown and the Saints defense sacking Raiders starter Matt Flynn five times.
"I don't know if we played well in any one of the three phases in the first half," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.
The Saints scored on every possession with Brees at quarterback, with Seneca Wallace kneeling on the ball to end the half with New Orleans holding a 23-7 lead.
Brees threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills, Mark Ingram scored on a 2-yard run, and Garrett Hartley kicked field goals of 53, 31, 30 and 28 yards. The defense chipped in with a safety when Will Herring stuffed Jamize Olawale in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Flynn to Denarius Moore late in the first half. A sack of Wallace by rookie David Bass resulted in a 1-yard return for a touchdown by Ryan Robinson, and a deflected interception by Jared Gaither set up a 46-yard field goal by Eddie Carmona that cut the Raiders' deficit to 23-17.
Oakland's final points came on a 50-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski that made the game cosmetically close at 23-20.
The Raiders came out of the game with two injuries Allen said "could potentially be significant." Tight end David Ausberry left in a sling with an injured shoulder, and cornerback Tracy Porter went out with a groin strain.
With New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan dialing up an array of fronts and blitzes, Flynn absorbed a beating and led the Raiders to just a single first down until the Saints backed off late in the half.
It was then that Flynn led the Raiders on an 11-play, 82-yard drive that resulted in his touchdown pass to Moore. Flynn was 12 of 16 for 124 yards.
"I think he was under duress most of the evening," Allen said. "(The Saints) brought a lot of pressure, and they did some different stuff than they did in the first preseason game."
Left tackle Alex Barron, playing in place of the injured Jared Veldheer, had his hands full with ex-Cal star Cameron Jordan, but Barron was hardly the only offender.
With Veldheer gone, guard Lucas Nix missing practice time because of injuries and Andre Gurode replacing the injured Mike Brisiel, practice sessions have been mostly mix and match.
Flynn was pleased with the way the Raiders punched in a late first-half touchdown but expected much better.
"We see so many different defenses and coverages and fronts we shouldn't be surprised by anything," Flynn said. "This is what these games are for, to get stuff like that, see it, and learn from it. The bottom line is we can't accept it and let it happen."
The defensive line, missing tackles Pat Sims and Vance Walker and end Lamarr Houston, was unable to put any pressure on Brees.
"They got the ball down the field too much on us. We've got to eliminate the explosive plays," Allen said. "You do that with rushing. You do that with coverage."
Middle linebacker Nick Roach said the Raiders were disappointed but not in a state of shock.
"It's not going to be the easiest thing world to get this thing going, but by no means are we shaken up just because they had some success against us," Roach said.
"We probably won't know until the second week of rehab," McKenzie said.
Chicago at Raiders, 7 p.m., NFL Network, KICU
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