|Date of game: 12/15/2013
Recap: St. Louis vs. New Orleans
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Zac Stacy posted a game-high 133 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries as St. Louis jumped out to an early 17-0 lead and held on to beat New Orleans, 27-16, in Week 15 action.
Kellen Clemens was an effective 14-of-20 for 158 yards with TD strikes to Cory Harkey and Lance Kendricks for the Rams (6-8), who snapped a two-game slide and beat their Sunday foes for the fourth time in the last six meetings.
"Everybody contributed and everybody last night felt like we had a chance to win the game," noted Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. "We got a couple early turnovers which really helped us put them in a hole."
Drew Brees threw for 393 yards and one touchdown on 39-of-56 attempts but was intercepted twice for the Saints (10-4), who have dropped two key road contests in a three-game span and failed to lock up a playoff berth.
Marques Colston topped an eight-man receiving corps with 92 yards and a TD catch on eight receptions, to counterbalance Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas being limited to a combined 45 yards on 15 attempts.
"Today's game was unacceptable and it's on me," said Saints head coach Sean Payton. " We did all the things a team does to keep itself from winning. That was pretty ugly and it was an extremely disappointing loss."
Capping an 80 yard drive on the 14th play, Brees went over the top from one yard out but the conversion run failed, and New Orleans trailed 27-9 early in the fourth quarter.
It was a 27-16 game on the Saints' ensuing possession, as Brees found Colston for a touchdown on 4th-and-5 and the visitors recovered the onside kick at their own 44.
However, the potential momentum-turning drive was wasted when Garrett Hartley dug his toe into the turf and shanked a 26-yard attempt wide left.
St. Louis took over on its own 20 and ran off the remaining time in four plays.
"Anytime you win, it's a good feeling, regardless of who you're playing," Stacy said.
Brees was picked off on the first snap of the Saints' first drive, with T.J. McDonald doing the honors before being tackled at the New Orleans 31. On the next play, Clemens connected with Harkey for a touchdown.
New Orleans reached the St. Louis 10 on the following possession, but Trumaine Johnson stepped in front of a Brees offering at the goal line and advanced the ball seven yards. Clemens ended that 9-play series with a 4-yard strike to Kendricks for a 14-0 edge.
The Rams recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Saints' 47, and Greg Zuerlein's 31-yard make on the first play of the second quarter made it 17-0.
On the following series, Hartley's 45-yard make put the Saints on the board, then after both teams exchanged punts, Stacy rumbled 40 yards to paydirt on a 2nd-and-4 to give the Rams a 24-3 advantage that stood at halftime.
Brees was sacked and coughed up the ball on New Orleans' first drive of the third quarter, but the Rams didn't capitalize. That wasn't the case on their next possession, when Zuerlein booted a 35-yarder and the hosts took a 27-3 lead to the fourth.Game Notes
New Orleans plays at Carolina next Sunday ... The Saints outgained the Rams by
a 432-302 margin and gained 30 first downs to 17 for the hosts ... St. Louis
converted 7-of-14 third downs and held the Saints to 5-of-15 efficiency.