Quarterback Neil Lomax threw to Pat Tilley for a 12-yard touchdown in the final quarter and the St. Louis defense shut out New Orleans until Ken Stabler threw a last-minute scoring pass to Kenny Duckett today, as the Cardinals started the season with a 21-7 victory over the error-prone Saints.
The defeat also cost the Saints halfback George Rogers, the NFL's leading rusher in 1981, who pulled a hamstring, and rookie kicker Morten Andersen, who sprained an ankle on the opening kickoff.
It also marked the first time quarterback Archie Manning, when healthy, hadn't started a Saints game in his 12 years with the team, and the first time anyone could remember that Manning ducked reporters in the locker room following the game. Saints Coach Bum Phillips -- who said his decisions on quarterbacks would be made week by week, and maybe even quarter by quarter -- played Manning briefly in the third quarter to give starter Stabler a break, he said. The fans booed both quarterbacks.
The Saints committed four turnovers in the second half, leading to two of the St. Louis scores. Cardinals' right end Curtis Greer recovered two fumbles.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the first quarter on a one-yard run by Wayne Morris, then scored midway through the third period on a five-yard sweep by Ottis Anderson. Tilley's touchdown completed their scoring.