New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Drew Brees tossed three touchdown passes
and ran for a score as the New Orleans Saints scored 31 unanswered points and
cruised past the Arizona Cardinals, 31-7.
Brees went 29-of-46 passing for 342 yards and an interception. The Saints'
signal caller has now surpassed 300 yards passing for the eighth straight
regular season game, one shy of his own NFL record of nine consecutive games.
Jimmy Graham caught nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and Robert
Meachem hauled in his first touchdown of the season.
On the other side, Carson Palmer struggled to move the ball consistently for
Arizona. Palmer completed just 18-of-35 throws for 187 yards and two
interceptions. Alfonso Smith scored the lone Cardinals' touchdown, a three-
yard rush in the first quarter.
"They can rush the passer," said Palmer. "There's two very good pass rushers
that people don't know a whole lot about. Cameron Jordan is really good and he
showed that today. Junior Galette is really good. They're physical guys, they
stop the run and they rush the passer."
The Cardinals stay on the road next week when they travel to Tampa Bay to face
the winless Buccaneers, while New Orleans gets an extra day of rest before
facing Miami at home on Monday Night Football.
Arizona drove right down the field on their first possession to take a
7-0 lead. Smith bounced outside for a 21-yard scamper, the longest rush of the
season for the Cards, before taking it in from three yards out.
Later in the first, Brees saw a streaking Meachem down the right sideline and
hit him in rhythm for a 27-yard score.
Both offenses stalled until late in the first half when the Saints struck
again with a Graham 16-yard touchdown. Brees lofted a ball to the left side of
the end zone and Graham easily reeled in the catch after using his big body to
create space against Yeremiah Bell, who had single coverage.
Garrett Hartley's 31-yard kick went through the uprights with 4:08 left in the
third period, putting New Orleans ahead 17-7.
Early in the fourth, Brees found Graham again on the goal line for an apparent
touchdown, but the officials ruled that the ball hit the ground before Graham
had possession. On the ensuing play, Brees scrambled up the gut for his first
rushing touchdown of 2013.
"That play happened exactly like that in practice this week," said Brees. "It
was obviously a critical point in the game because it gave us a three
possession distance from the opponent."
Brees and Graham connected for a second time on the home team's next drive to
account for the final margin.
"We talked all week about finishing, finishing, finishing," said Brees. "We
hadn't been great in the fourth quarter and so today we were successful in
that regard. We outscored out opponent 14-0 in the fourth quarter, which was
Following its first quarter touchdown, eight straight Arizona possessions
ended with a Dave Zastudil punt before Palmer was intercepted on the final two
Tyrann Mathieu recorded his first career interception early in the third
quarter ... Arizona has completed just 6-of-26 third downs going back to last
week ... The Saints outgained the Cardinals, 423-247.
The Sports Network