ST. LOUIS — Perhaps inspired by the hometown Cardinals' stunning surge to the World Series title, the St. Louis Rams pulled off a shocker of their own.
Steven Jackson scored twice in his first 100-yard game in three seasons as the lowly Rams earned their first win this season, a 31-21 upset of the New Orleans Saints.
Drew Brees barely kept alive his touchdown pass streak on a meaningless score in the final seconds a week after throwing five in a 62-7 rout of the winless Indianapolis Colts. Brees was intercepted twice, too, with Darian Stewart's pick and 27-yard return putting the game away with 2:51 to go.
The NFC South-leading Saints (5-3) average a league-best 35 points, but never got on track against a defense ranked near the bottom of the league. The Rams (1-6) had a season-high six sacks after entering the game with just 11, three by Chris Long.
Saints pass catchers were bottled up by a secondary minus its top three players.
The Rams wore throwback jerseys in a nod to their 1999 Super Bowl championship team. Then there was the pregame appearance by the Cardinals, who brought their World Series trophy with them to help fire up a crowd growing accustomed to disappointment from the Rams. The game was sold out, but there were hundreds of empty seats.
Manager Tony La Russa donned a Sam Bradford jersey and Game 7 winner Chris Carpenter went out for the coin toss wearing a Jackson jersey.
Rams players attended Game 3 of the World Series in Texas last week — Albert Pujols' three-homer game — the night before their 34-7 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas.
All three Saints losses have come on the road. But they were favored by nearly two touchdowns against a franchise that has been staggeringly awful on both sides of the ball. Like the Colts a week earlier, the Rams were starting their backup quarterback.
A.J. Feeley made his second straight start in place of Bradford (high left ankle sprain), and had a touchdown pass in a mistake-free outing.1 comment on this story
Jackson had 159 yards on 25 carries, including a 32-yard jaunt on fourth-and-2 to set up his second touchdown that made it 24-0 in the third quarter.
Jonathan Vilma got the Saints on the board after recovering Feeley's fumble on a sack by Malcolm Jenkins, and Pierre Thomas scored with 10 minutes left to cut the gap to 10.
The first quarter was scoreless, a victory in itself for the Rams, given they've been outscored 59-13 in the opening period. Then, shockingly, they took control.
They capitalized on a pair of turnovers to go up 17-0 at the break. Jackson scored on a 3-yard run two plays after rookie Robert Quinn's blocked punt, the first in three NFL seasons against Thomas Morstead. Josh Gordy's interception at the Saints 38 gave St. Louis another short field that led to Brandon Lloyd's 8-yard catch.