SEATTLE — The New Orleans Saints found a novel way to replace quarterback Drew Brees on Sunday. They scored their first touchdown before their offense even took the field.

Undrafted rookie returner Deonte Harris returned a punt 53 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead at Seattle after the Saints’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the game.

The dynamic 5-foot-6, 170-pounder, who holds the NCAA all-division record with 14 career return TDs at Division II Assumption College, also returned a punt for a TD in the preseason to secure his spot on the roster. On Sunday’s TD, Harris knifed his way between two defenders to start the return — then found a seam through the rest of the defense.

When the Saints’ offense eventually took the field on New Orleans’ second series, Teddy Bridgewater got the start at QB, as expected.


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