Return to New Orleans Is Made Easier for Haslett

St. Louis's Steven Jackson, who ran for one TD and threw for another, looks for a way around Mark Simoneau.
St. Louis's Steven Jackson, who ran for one TD and threw for another, looks for a way around Mark Simoneau. (Fby Alex Brandon -- Associated Press)

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Associated Press
Monday, November 12, 2007

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 11 -- Jim Haslett wasn't ready to return to the place where his first head coaching job began with accolades and ended in disaster after Hurricane Katrina.

It took about three quarters of, in Haslett's words, "awesome" football to make the St. Louis defensive coordinator feel a little better about being back in New Orleans.

His aggressive defense stuffed Drew Brees and the Saints' high-flying offense long enough to get the Rams their first win on Sunday, 37-29.

"It really felt strange, being in the dome, period, after everything the dome went through and after everything the city went through," said Haslett, who was given a game ball by head coach Scott Linehan.

It was a surprising performance from the Rams (1-8), who dominated the Saints (4-5), a team that had won four straight.

Marc Bulger finished with 302 yards and short touchdown passes to Isaac Bruce and Drew Bennett. Running back Steven Jackson, recovering from a back injury, rushed for a short touchdown and even threw a two-yard halfback pass to Randy McMichael for a score.

Torry Holt, meantime, had eight catches for 124 yards, torturing the New Orleans secondary with several clutch catches.

The difference was the Rams' blitz-happy defense, which intercepted Brees twice and thwarted a scoring threat with a third-down sack.

"To me, the guy that makes the whole thing go is the quarterback," Haslett explained. "We figured we're not going to let the quarterback sit back there and pick us apart. We were going to take some chances, come after him and try to disrupt him."


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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