Final

Rams 37

(1-8, 1-4 away)

Saints 29

(4-5, 2-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 11, 2007

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA 

1 2 3 4 T
STL 7 10 10 1037
NO 7 0 0 2229

Top Performers

Passing: M. Bulger (STL) - 302 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: S. Jackson (STL) - 22 CAR, 76 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Colston (NO) - 8 REC, 129 YDS

Bulger, Holt lead surprising Rams past streaking Saints

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Jim Haslett wasn't ready to return to the place where his first head coaching job began with accolades and literally ended in disaster after Hurricane Katrina.

It took about three quarters of, in Haslett's words, "freakin' awesome" football to make the St. Louis defensive coordinator feel a little better about being back in New Orleans.

Misery Loves Company
St. Louis Rams

Miami Dolphins

Five times since 1978, two teams in the same season have started 0-8. Half of those 10 won their ninth game, including the previously 0-8 Rams on Sunday.

Year Teams
2007 Dolphins, Rams*
1996 Jets*, Falcons*
1991 Bengals*, Colts
1984 Bills, Oilers
1983 Buccaneers, Oilers
1978 Bengals*, Cardinals*
* -- Won 9th game

His aggressive defense stuffed Drew Brees and the Saints' high-flying offense long enough to get the Rams their first win Sunday, 37-29.

"It really felt strange, being in the dome, period, after everything the dome went through and after everything the city went through," Haslett said.

"To be honest with you, I didn't think I'd ever come back here. I've kind of avoided the city, not the people, but the city," Haslett continued, noting that his wife, Beth, couldn't bring herself to come to the Louisiana Superdome for the game. "I was hoping we wouldn't play the Saints, so I wouldn't have to come back."

It was a surprising performance from the Rams (1-8), who dominated the Saints (4-5), a team that had climbed back into the playoff picture with a four-game winning streak after an 0-4 start.

Marc Bulger finished with 302 yards and short touchdown passes to Isaac Bruce and Drew Bennett. Running back Steven Jackson, recovering from a back injury, rushed for a short touchdown and even threw a 2-yard halfback pass to Randy McMichael for a score.

Torry Holt, meanwhile, had eight catches for 124 yards, torturing the New Orleans secondary with several clutch catches on third-and-long plays.

Of course, Bulger, Holt, Bruce and Jackson all have had big games before. It was probably a matter of time before they'd start clicking again.

The difference was the Rams' blitz-happy, play-making defense, which intercepted Brees twice, thwarted a scoring threat with a third-down sack, forced an intentional grounding penalty and piled on Brees for another drive-ending loss after the quarterback bobbled a high snap.

"To me, the guy that makes the whole thing go is the quarterback," Haslett explained. "We figured we're not going to let the quarterback sit back there and pick us apart. We were going to take some chances, come after him and try to disrupt him."

Haslett guessed that he called blitzes on about 16 of the first 18 plays the Saints ran.

"Defensively, I think they had a plan for us. They executed that plan very well," Brees said. "They did a great job of getting pressure and their offense really helped the defense out by staying on the field."

Brees finished with 272 yards and two touchdowns, but most of it came while New Orleans ran a hurry-up offense in a belated comeback attempt that finally ended when the Saints failed to recover an onside kick with a half-minute remaining.

As a rookie head coach in 2000, Haslett led the Saints to the playoffs and was named coach of the year. He never got back there, though, as the Saints hovered around .500 for the next four seasons. They went 3-13 in 2005, when Katrina forced the team to relocate to a makeshift headquarters in San Antonio and play all home games outside New Orleans.

Sean Payton took over the next season, and like Haslett, took New Orleans to the playoffs and won coach of the year as a rookie coach.

Payton was worried about this game, however. Coaches placed rat traps around the Saints' training headquarters during the past week, a ploy to prevent their players from overlooking what they saw as a "trap game" against a winless but hungry and talented team.

It seemed to work early on, as the Saints scored on their opening possession, capped by Bush's 7-yard touchdown run. But the Rams would score the next 34 points from midway through the first quarter to early in the fourth.

Boos rained down from the Superdome crowd, this time validating the play of Haslett's unit.

"I've seen that before," said Haslett, who used to complain publicly about New Orleans fans booing at the first sign of things going wrong.

"I read in the paper last week they booed the kicker before he kicked a field goal. I remember when they booed our quarterback [Aaron Brooks] before the game started," Haslett continued. "That's how they are ... but they are good fans. They know their football, they live and die with it, so you've got to appreciate that."

Game notes


The Saints chose RB Deuce McAllister, out for the season after reconstructive surgery on his left knee, as honorary captain for the coin toss. ... Starting left tackle Jammal Brown left the game with what was called a lower left leg injury late in the first quarter. ... Bush was briefly knocked out of the game on a helmet-to-helmet hit. ... Rams rookie running back Antonio Pittman, drafted by New Orleans and cut after training camp, rushed for 53 yards, including a 43-yarder that set up a touchdown.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
STL
NO
1st Downs2622
Passing 1st downs
2016
Rushing 1st downs
54
1st downs from penalties
12
3rd down efficiency
8-134-8
4th down efficiency
0-00-1
Total Plays7248
Total Yards409299
Yards per play5.76.2
Total Drives1110
Passing276256
Comp-Att
28-3425-36
Yards per pass
7.36.7
Interceptions thrown
02
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-282-16
Rushing13343
Rushing Attempts
3410
Yards per rush
3.94.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)4-54-4
Penalties5-772-28
Turnovers02
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
02
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession39:4220:18

Passing Leaders

STLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Bulger27/333029.2204-28
Jackson1/122.0100-0
NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees25/362727.6222-16

Rushing Leaders

STLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson22763.5112
Pittman7537.6043
NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Stecker3268.7113
Bush7172.417

Receiving Leaders

STLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Holt812415.5040
Bruce46215.5123
NORECYDSAVGTDLG
Colston812916.1036
Johnson33812.7118

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSTLNO
noTD12:52Reggie Bush, 7 yd run (Olindo Mare kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 73 yds, 2:15
07
stlTD3:02Steven Jackson, 1 yd run (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 62 yds, 7:12
77
SECOND QUARTERSTLNO
stlTD8:43Randy McMichael, 2 yd pass from Steven Jackson (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 80 yds, 7:47
147
stlFG5:43Jeff Wilkins 49 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 8 yds, 2:08
177
THIRD QUARTERSTLNO
stlFG8:59Jeff Wilkins 21 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 73 yds, 6:05
207
stlTD4:48Isaac Bruce, 9 yd pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 47 yds, 2:44
277
FOURTH QUARTERSTLNO
stlTD14:24Drew Bennett, 3 yd pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 73 yds, 4:09
347
noTD11:41Billy Miller, 1 yd pass from Drew Brees(Reggie Bush run for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 6 plays, 74 yds, 2:42
3415
noTD4:45Aaron Stecker, 2 yd run(Drew Brees pass to Marques Colston for 2pt conversion failed)
Drive info: 11 plays, 96 yds, 4:10
3421
stlFG2:00Jeff Wilkins 44 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 16 yds, 2:47
3721
noTD0:36Eric Johnson, 7 yd pass from Drew Brees(Reggie Bush run for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yds, 1:23
3729