Final

Saints 28

(9-0, 4-0 away)

Rams 23

(1-8, 0-4 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 15, 2009

Edward Jones Dome, Saint Louis, MO 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 0 14 7 728
STL 0 14 3 623

Top Performers

Passing: M. Bulger (STL) - 298 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: S. Jackson (STL) - 26 CAR, 131 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: B. Gibson (STL) - 7 REC, 93 YDS

Saints still perfect after Bush's rare 2-TD effort erases 3 turnovers

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Reggie Bush helped the New Orleans Saints overcome another bundle of mistakes to stay unbeaten for the best start in team history.

Marching On History

The Saints' high-flying offense is within sight of some of the most potent units of all-time through nine games.

Through 9 Games
Year Team Total points
1950 L.A. Rams 358
2007 New England Patriots 355
2000 St. Louis Rams 354
2009 New Orleans Saints 331
1966 Dallas Cowboys 320
1964 Baltimore Colts 314

Bush scored twice for the first time in more than a year and Drew Brees compensated for two interceptions with two touchdown passes that allowed the Saints to escape with a 28-23 victory Sunday over the St. Louis Rams.

Courtney Roby opened the second half with a 97-yard kickoff return and Robert Meachem's 27-yard grab early in the fourth quarter gave New Orleans (9-0) just enough breathing room to tie the franchise record with nine straight wins.

"You're not going to blow everyone out," said cornerback Randall Gay, who played on the Patriots' 16-0 team in 2007. "It's a lot harder to blow teams out when for a lot of teams, this is like their playoff game."

Marc Bulger's 19-yard pass to Donnie Avery made it a five-point game with 2:44 to go and the Rams (1-8) made it to the New Orleans 32 before Bulger threw incomplete into the end zone on the final play. Tackle Alex Barron was called for holding on the play, which would have ended the game regardless.

The Rams had no timeouts on their final drive and burned a lot of clock on Bulger's 5-yard checkdown to Steven Jackson the previous play, leaving them just enough time for one final snap.

"It would have been really nice to pull it off," Bulger said. "There's a reason they're unbeaten. They made plays when they had to."

Fast Facts

• The Saints tied a franchise record with their ninth straight victory in what was their closest win of the season (five points).

• Courtney Roby scored his first TD since 2005 as he recorded the Saints' first kickoff return TD since 2004.

• Reggie Bush caught and rushed for a TD in the same game for the fifth time in his career.

• The Rams failed to record their first win streak since Week 6-7 last season.

• New Orleans turned the ball over three times, giving it a total of 13 over the last four games.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

The Rams had a season high for points against a defense that played most of the second half without both starting cornerbacks. Tracy Porter limped off with a left knee injury in the opening minute and Jabari Greer was inactive because of a hurt groin.

Turnovers hurt more. The Saints had three for a four-game total of 13.

They also stalled on offense late in the game, scoring fewer than 30 points for the first time in five games, and opening the door for the Rams.

"We're not content with where we're at, and we're certainly not content with the way we've played these last few weeks," Brees said. "We need to close the game out when we're given the opportunity."

St. Louis got big games from Avery, who caught two touchdown passes, and Jackson, who had 131 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries and totaled a season-high 176 yards from scrimmage.

The Rams faced their third straight unbeaten team at home -- a first in NFL history. They fared much better against the Saints than against the Colts (a 42-6 drubbing) and Vikings (a 38-10 loss).

"Tough one," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "Tough, tough, tough, tough."

Jackson was at his bruising best again for the Rams, who were coming off their bye and a victory over the Lions the week before that ended a 17-game losing streak. He has 6,206 yards in his sixth season, passing Lawrence McCutcheon (6,186) for third on the franchise career list.

Before exploiting the Rams with 83 yards on six carries with a 55-yard jaunt and adding two receptions for 15 yards, Bush hadn't done much this season. He scored four touchdowns the first eight games but with only 194 yards rushing.

"I don't feel like I've dropped off at all," Bush said. "I feel like I'm still the same person, I don't feel any faster or slower.

"I think coach gave me a lot of opportunities to make plays and I think I was able to do that today."

The Rams saw the electrifying player taken second overall in the 2006 draft, and the two-TD game was his first since Oct. 18, 2008. Bush vaulted over a defender on a 3-yard run for the game's first score and won a footrace to a corner of the end zone on a 15-yard reception.

"Yeah, he's a handful," Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "He's a game changer."

Game notes


Jackson's run for the tying score was only the Rams' fifth touchdown out of 18 trips inside the 20 all year. ... Rams WR Keenan Burton (right knee) was carted off after getting hurt on an end zone interception by Usama Young and has an injury to the patella tendon. Late October pickup Brandon Gibson stepped in with his first seven catches of the season, for 93 yards. ... The Rams forced a total of nine turnovers in their first eight games. ... The Saints lead the NFL with 17 interceptions.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
NO
STL
1st Downs1923
Passing 1st downs
1115
Rushing 1st downs
87
1st downs from penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
6-105-13
4th down efficiency
0-11-3
Total Plays5671
Total Yards420434
Yards per play7.56.1
Total Drives1211
Passing217293
Comp-Att
18-2626-40
Yards per pass
8.07.0
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-62-5
Rushing203141
Rushing Attempts
2929
Yards per rush
7.04.9
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-42-4
Penalties6-404-20
Turnovers31
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession27:5832:02

Passing Leaders

NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees18/262238.6221-6
STLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Bulger26/402987.5212-5

Rushing Leaders

NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bush68313.8155
Meachem14141.0041
STLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson261315.0130
Bulger177.007

Receiving Leaders

NORECYDSAVGTDLG
Henderson47218.0026
Thomas5459.0018
STLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gibson79313.3023
Avery46716.8229

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERNOSTL
noTD14:20Reggie Bush 3 Yard Run (John Carney Kick is Good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 78 yds, 7:30
70
stlTD9:31Donnie Avery 29 Yard Pass From Marc Bulger (Josh Brown Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 75 yds, 4:51
77
noTD6:58Reggie Bush 15 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (John Carney Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 72 yds, 2:32
147
stlTD1:04Steven Jackson 2 Yard Run (Josh Brown Kick is Good)
Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yds, 5:56
1414
THIRD QUARTERNOSTL
noTD15:00Courtney Roby 97 Yard Kickoff Return (John Carney Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 97 yds, 0:00
2114
stlFG7:12Josh Brown 32 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 46 yds, 3:49
2117
FOURTH QUARTERNOSTL
noTD12:24Robert Meachem 27 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (John Carney Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 77 yds, 3:59
2817
stlTD2:50Donnie Avery 19 Yard Pass From Marc Bulger (Marc Bulger Pass to Daniel Fells For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 1:41
2823