FOXBORO -- Rookie Chandler Jones provided several highlights with his pass rush on the first team defense and Brian Hoyer led the Patriots on a 97-yard touchdown drive to open the second half as the Patriots beat the Saints, 7-6, Thursday night in New England's preseason opener. The win was marred by the loss of linebacker Dane Fletcher, who reportedly tore the ACL in his left knee on New England's first punt of the night.
It was also a rough start for Tom Brady, who struggled with the first team offensive line. Brady was strip-sacked by Will Smith and fumbled. The Saints recovered at New England's 34. The turnover led to the only points of the first half as the Saints led, 3-0 at halftime. Brady was rushed several times by an offensive line that is still gelling and getting accustomed to playing without retired left tackle Matt Light and the injured pair of Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer. Nate Solder, filling in for Light at left tackle, was called for a pair of holding penalties while Marcus Cannon struggled at right tackle.
Brady finished playing 19 snaps over two series. He finished 4-of-7 for 30 yards and a sack. Brady targeted Brandon Lloyd twice, both incompletions. The second incompletion was not an official play as Nate Solder was called for one of his two holding penalties on the night.
Rookie Chandler Jones showed great explosiveness on the rush, drawing holding penalties on the Saints on back-to-back plays. He played the entire first half.
The second half began on a unsettling note when Julian Edelman was indecisive in the end zone on the opening kickoff. He decided late to return the kick and only made it to the 3. Brian Hoyer came on and led the Patriots 97 yards in 14 plays, featuring seven carries and 63 by running back Shane Vereen. The drive was capped off by a three-yard TD pass from Hoyer to Britt Davis.
Veteran placekicker John Kasay pulled a 41-yard field goal wide right that would have given the Saints the lead with three minutes remaining. The Patriots don't play again until hosting the Eagles on Aug. 20 at Gillette on Monday Night Football.
For complete coverage of the Patriots preseason opener from the team of Chris Price, Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean in Foxboro, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots  and the blog It Is What It Is .