NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Free-agent acquisition Sam Bradford and 10th overall draft choice Josh Rosen combined to provide a promising outlook for the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback situation.
After Bradford completed all six of his passes for 61 yards, Rosen went 10 of 16 for 107 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to rookie Christian Kirk in a 20-15 preseason victory over New Orleans on Friday night.
Rosen gave himself mixed reviews, saying he wanted some throws back, made some "procedural" mistakes and at times held the ball too long. But he sounded pleased with his scoring strike, in which he bought time with his movement in the pocket and rifled a throw to Kirk.
"I had to put it kind of high and away where it's kind of a him-or-no one ball and he managed to snag it," Rosen said. "Christian made some great plays."
Kirk, the Cardinals' second-round draft choice, finished with four receptions for 49 yards.
"It seems like he has an extra gear on game days," Bradford said of Kirk. "He's got some burst. He's got some speed and it's really nice to see that."
Bradford said Rosen "looked pretty good to me. ... He is just extremely talented."
David Johnson bowled his way into the end zone from 9 yards for the Cardinals' opening score, capping a 61-yard drive led by Bradford.
Arizona's Chad Williams caught three passes for 44 yards.
Bradford said the offense looked "pretty sharp" while he was in the game.
"There were a lot of good things that were done tonight and things that we can really build on," Bradford said.
Arizona's defense racked up four turnovers for a second straight game to go with four sacks.
Quarterback Drew Brees sat out, as he did in the Saints' preseason opener last week.
Saints coach Sean Payton said he'd play starters more in New Orleans' third exhibition, but was more concerned with evaluating players vying for roster spots this week.
"At some point, we've got to see where we're at as a team," Payton said. "There's that fine line of trying to get the work in ... trying to get the evaluation and trying to come up with what we think is the best 53 (players). That's what weighs on our minds."
The two reserves competing to back up Brees — Taysom Hill and Tom Savage — were inconsistent and had issues with ball security, combining for four fumbles, two of which resulted in turnovers by Hill.
Hill, a second-year pro who got the start, also was intercepted twice and finished 11 of 15 for 68 yards to go with 43 yards rushing, all of it coming on one long scramble.
Savage, who played most of the second half, was 6 of 7 for 53 yards, but was sacked three times.
Former Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett played the final six minutes for New Orleans, completing 3 of 5 passes for 45 yards and scrambling for a 12-yard TD.
Saints rookie receiver Tre'Quan Smith, a third-rounder, caught three passes for 60 yards.
Hill led several possessions across midfield, only to be done in by turnovers and another fumble that he recovered himself for a 13-yard loss, forcing New Orleans to settle for Wil Lutz's 52-yard field goal.
The Saints drove to the Arizona 30 on the opening drive before Hill's tipped pass was intercepted by linebacker Haason Reddick. Hill lost his first fumble when the ball slipped out of his hands on a first down play from the Cardinals 35.
Hill overthrew Ted Ginn on a deep pass toward the right sideline, where cornerback Bene Benwikere made a leaping interception, narrowly touching his toes inbounds.
Late in the first half, Hill completed five straight passes to move New Orleans to the Arizona 13, but fumbled on Olsen Pierre's sack. Arizona defensive end Vontarrius Dora recovered and returned it 16 yards to the Arizona 43.
"I've got to be better. It was frustrating tonight," Hill said. "There were some good things, but it's hard to attack when you have four turnovers."
Two young pros out of Louisiana Tech who grew up in the Gulf South had productive nights in the Superdome, where they played as teammates in a 2015 New Orleans Bowl win.
Dora, who began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 2016, recovered two fumbles and assisted on a tackle.
Saints rookie running back and return man Boston Scott, a sixth-round draft choice, returned three kickoffs for 87 yards, had a 16-yard run among six carries for 28 yards, caught a short pass and returned a punt 13 yards.
Cardinals: Robert Nkemdiche left with a foot injury in the first half and did not return.
Saints: Safety Rickey Jefferson had an apparent leg injury covering the kickoff at the start of the second half. On the ensuring series, cornerback Arthur Maulet limped off the field. Devaroe Lawrence was shaken up later in the third quarter and walked off on his own.
There were no apparent protests during the national anthem.
The Saints play the Chargers in Los Angeles on Aug. 25.
The Cardinals visit Dallas on Aug. 26.
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Posted on Sun, August 19, 2018
by BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer