METAIRIE, La. (AP) — The New Orleans Saints' defense is taking more positives than negatives from Friday night's 17-13 victory over Kansas City in the preseason opener.
Adjusting to new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme, the Saints liked the way they held the Chiefs to 135 yards and two field goals after giving up a long touchdown drive to open the game. Of course, Kansas City pulled its starters after that first series.
"They just came out with a quick tempo and a good game plan to start, and it took us a while to adjust and get settled down," Saints outside linebacker Will Smith said. "Once we got settled, we did what we wanted to do. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to go against them (the Chiefs' starters) again."
After allowing the most yards of any team in NFL history last season, almost every Saints defender has a new role in Ryan's scheme.
Operating without a huddle, Kansas City went 80 yards in 14 plays on its first series. Quarterback Alex Smith converted two third downs easily and completed seven of eight passes before Jamaal Charles scored on a 1-yard plunge.
New Orleans then held the Chiefs to 135 yards and two field goals the rest of the way, rallying to win 17-13. The Saints had four sacks, limiting the Chiefs' offense to two first downs in five possessions under second-string quarterback Chase Daniel.
"We kind of got put back on our heels a little bit, but after that we got a good feel for the game and got a couple of three-and-outs," linebacker Curtis Lofton said. "We really got after the pass rusher, stopped the run and didn't let anything behind us. Overall we did a pretty good job."
Lofton helped spark the revival, combining with end Cam Jordan to stuff running back Knile Davis for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 on the Chiefs' second possession.
Rookie defensive tackle John Jenkins, a third-round pick, sacked Daniel to stop another series. Undrafted rookie end Glenn Foster stripped Kansas City quarterback Tyler Bray on a sack in the third quarter, causing a turnover at midfield.