LB Jamie Collins -- Playing 23 snaps (including 2-point conversions), the 2015 Pro Bowler made an early impact with a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown on a bobble by Saints receiver Brandon Coleman. Collins was also active against the run (two tackles), as this was the first time that the Patriots tackled since training camp opened.
DE Trey Flowers -- The 2015 fourth-round draft choice from Arkansas rushed from an interior position -- something new for him -- and strip-sacked quarterback Luke McCown in the fourth quarter before showing awareness and athleticism to return the fumble 17 yards for a touchdown. Flowers finished with four tackles and put himself on the radar as a player who could help fill the void as Rob Ninkovich recovers from a torn triceps.
WR Malcolm Mitchell -- The 2016 fourth-round draft choice from Georgia didn't enter the game until the fifth series, but made a quick impact with four catches for 55 yards before leaving with a dislocated left elbow. The 6-foot 200-pound Mitchell was considered a roster lock based on his draft status, but Thursday night -- following a string of solid practices -- showed he was also competing for playing time.
CB Darryl Roberts -- The 2015 seventh-r0und draft choice from Marshall had a pass interference penalty and didn't show up the same way as undrafted cornerbacks Cre'Von LeBlanc (one-handed interception in the end zone) and Jonathan Jones (pass break-up in the end zone).
LT Nate Solder -- Playing in his first game since sustaining a biceps injury Oct. 11, 2015, the 6-foot-8, 325-pound Solder seemed to have some trouble on the edge, which contributed to an early sack of Jimmy Garoppolo. Perhaps it was a result of having to knock off some rust.
Punt coverage unit -- A first-quarter 48-yard punt return by Marcus Murphy set up the Saints' first touchdown as the coverage unit of Tyler Gaffney, Brandon King, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Vinnie Sunseri, Kevin Snyder, Kamu Grugier-Hill, E.J. Biggers, Justin Coleman, Darryl Roberts and Allen seemed to get displaced.