One of four players punished in New Orleans bounty scandal, Smith was suspended for the first four regular-season games. So Thursday night's sack of New England's star quarterback was a highlight in the Patriots lackluster 7-6 win in their exhibition opener.
John Kasay had a chance to give the Saints (No. 9 in the AP Pro32) the lead, but his 41-yard field goal attempt went wide to the right with 3:07 left.
The game followed two days of joint practices between the teams and was the first for the Patriots (No. 2) since their 21-17 loss in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
Brady left after two series and 15 plays - plus two holding penalties against new left tackle
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees also played two series, lasting just six plays. He was 1 of 4 for 4 yards in his second exhibition game. In last Sunday's 17-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game, Brees was 4 for 5 for 41 yards on his only drive, resulting in a touchdown.
Second-year running back
The drive covered 97 yards, capped by
Vereen rushed for only 57 yards all last season when injuries limited him to five games and 15 rushes.
Another Patriots injury could be more serious. Linebacker
Replacement officials had a relatively uneventful game. They did call an offside penalty on a punt that allowed the Patriots to continue their first series. The Saints were penalized later for running into punter
The Saints' only points came on a 46-yard field goal by Kasay on the possession after Curtis Lofton recovered Brady's fumble, and a 27-yarder by Garrett Hartley on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Notes: Boston Celtics G Rajon Rondo attended the game. So did Charley Molnar, new coach of the University of Massachusetts, whose team will play all its home games at Gillette Stadium for the first time this year under a five-year deal. UMass is moving to the Mid-American Conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision from the Colonial Athletic Association in the Football Championship Subdivision.