Final

Saints 16

(10-4, 3-4 away)

Rams 27

(6-8, 4-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:25 PM ET, December 15, 2013

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 0 3 0 1316
STL 14 10 3 027

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 393 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: Z. Stacy (STL) - 28 CAR, 133 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Colston (NO) - 8 REC, 92 YDS, 1 TD

Saints' playoff plans on hold after loss to Rams

Associated Press
Sunday Blitz: Saints-Rams Recap
Jim Basquil and Eric Allen break down the Rams' Week 15 win over the Saints.Tags: NFL, recap, Week 15, Jim Basquil, Eric Allen, Rams, Saints
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ST. LOUIS -- Just like two years ago, a St. Louis Rams team going nowhere jumped on the playoff-bound New Orleans Saints early and never let them up.

Drew Brees threw interceptions that led to touchdowns on the Saints' first two possessions and the Rams got big days from Zac Stacy, Robert Quinn and on special teams in a 27-16 victory Sunday.

"When you looked at their sideline, they realized, 'Oh gosh, like, here we go again," Rams defensive end Chris Long said. "We hit 'em early, and they were reeling."

The Rams were 0-6 and double-digit underdogs before upsetting the Saints in 2011. St. Louis was 2-14 that year and New Orleans went 13-3.

Everything went sour fast for the 10-win Saints. Brees was intercepted on the first snap, and again in the second series, and the Saints played catch-up all day.

"You want to talk about waking the whole place up," Brees said. "That did it."

Quinn had two sacks, giving him an NFC-leading 15, for a pass rush that took the heat off a young secondary. His quarterback hit on the Saints' first snap of the game altered the flight of the ball on T.J. McDonald's interception, and he had a sack, strip and fumble recovery to keep the Saints down in the third quarter.

Coach Sean Payton benched left tackle Charles Brown after that play and shifted left tackle Zach Strief to the right side in an attempt to neutralize Quinn.

"I saw enough. Period. I mean, enough," Payton said.

The Saints (10-4) missed their first chance to clinch a playoff berth, trailing 24-3 at the half, but made it look respectable with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They're unbeaten at home, but just 3-4 on the road and play at Carolina with the NFC South lead on the line next week.

The Saints are averaging 32.9 points at home, with five of the wins by double-digits including playoff hopefuls Dallas and Arizona. They're averaging just 18.4 points on the road with the three wins by eight, four and two points.

Kellen Clemens threw for two TDs in the first quarter, matching his best performance in seven games as the fill-in starter for Sam Bradford. The Rams (6-8) recovered an onside kick to set up a field goal in the first quarter, and Michael Brockers blocked a field-goal attempt at the end of the half.

Brees was 39 for 56 for 393 yards, but with just one touchdown, and threw two interceptions in the first quarter for the first time in a decade.

The Rams played one of their strongest games of the year a week after getting eliminated, and the franchise is assured of a 10th consecutive season without a winning record.

St. Louis' offense had a nice day against Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who had an extended interview with the Rams in January before joining New Orleans.

"When people change their mind, they change their mind, and I was fine with that," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's a good coach."

Stacy shook off an early hip injury scare and set a franchise rookie record with 106 yards by halftime, bettering the likes of Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, Steven Jackson and Jerome Bettis. Stacy finished with 132 yards on 27 carries.

"Questionable? Nah, I was never questionable," Stacy said. "I was always going back. I'm a competitor."

Brees scored on a 1-yard sneak and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston with 3:07 to go. The Saints recovered an onside kick, but their comeback ended when Garrett Hartley was wide left on a 26-yard field-goal attempt.

Last week, Brees became the fastest in NFL history to 50,000 yards passing while throwing for four TDs in a 31-13 victory over Carolina at home.

Cory Harkey broke three tackles on a 31-yard touchdown catch the first play -- just his seventh reception of the year after Brees' first interception.

Brees floated a rollout aimed at Jimmy Graham, who was in triple-coverage, and Trumaine Johnson snared another underthrown pass at the goal line. The Rams drove 93 yards, helped by a pair of personal penalties, and made it 14-0 on Clemens' 4-yard pass to a wide-open Lance Kendricks.

The Rams followed up with perfect execution on an onside kick by kicker Greg Zuerlein recovered in the air by a leaping Stedman Bailey, setting up a field goal for a 17-0 cushion early in the second quarter.

Clemens got a chance to use the victory formation the Rams practice after Brockers blocked Hartley's 36-yard field-goal attempt with 2 seconds left.

Game notes


Former Rams two-time Pro Bowl QB Marc Bulger, holding his daughter, was introduced during the break while Stacy was helped off the field. ... According to STATS, the first seven games, the Saints forced 15 turnovers and scored 48 points. They had no turnovers or sacks against the Rams, and over the last seven games they have just two takeaways.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NO
STL
1st Downs3017
Passing 1st downs
248
Rushing 1st downs
55
1st downs from Penalties
14
3rd down efficiency
5-157-14
4th down efficiency
4-40-0
Total Plays8054
Total Yards432302
Yards per play5.45.6
Total Drives1011
Passing371158
Comp - Att
39-5614-20
Yards per pass
6.67.9
Interceptions thrown
20
Sacks - Yards Lost
4-220-0
Rushing61144
Rushing Attempts
2034
Yards per rush
3.14.2
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-61-3
Penalties8-774-30
Turnovers30
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
20
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession32:1227:48

Passing Leaders

NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees39/563937.0124-22
STLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Clemens14/201587.9200-0

Rushing Leaders

NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Sproles7243.4011
Thomas8212.608
STLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Stacy281334.8140
Bailey166.006

Receiving Leaders

NORECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Colston89211.512313
Moore67813.00307
STLRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Pettis44110.30144
Givens13131.00312

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNOSTL
stlTD11:20Cory Harkey 31 Yd Pass From Kellen Clemens (Greg Zuerlein Kick) 07
stlTD02:45Lance Kendricks 4 Yd Pass From Kellen Clemens (Greg Zuerlein Kick) 014
SECOND QUARTERNOSTL
stlFG14:57Greg Zuerlein 31 Yd 017
noFG10:17Garrett Hartley 45 Yd 317
stlTD04:10Zac Stacy 40 Yd Run (Greg Zuerlein Kick) 324
THIRD QUARTERNOSTL
stlFG02:42Greg Zuerlein 35 Yd 327
FOURTH QUARTERNOSTL
noTD11:25Drew Brees 1 Yd Run (Two-Point Rush Conversion Failed) 927
noTD03:07Marques Colston 5 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 1627

Research Notes

The Saints offense contributed 6.0 expected points to their net scoring margin against the Rams, almost doubling their offensive EPA on the road this season (now at 13.3, 15th in NFL). Their offense has added 104.9 expected points at home this season, and no team averages more per game. Drew Brees' Total QBR was 35.5 against the Rams and is 55.8 on the road (12th in NFL) this season. It is 80.3 at home (2nd in NFL).
Drew Brees had a rough day throwing deep against the Rams, completing 2-of-7 attempts for 53 yards and an interception at least 15 yards downfield. Brees completed more deep passes to Rams safety T.J. McDonald (one) than Jimmy Graham when targeting the All-Pro tight end.
  [+]
Drew Brees' first two interceptions were on passes targeting Jimmy Graham. On the season, five of Brees' 10 interceptions were on Graham targets.

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