Morten Andersen kicked five field goals and rookie linebacker Jack Del Rio led an emotional defense to enable the New Orleans Saints to beat the Los Angeles Rams, 29-3, today.
It was the first NFL victory for Wade Phillips, who joked: "I hope that some of the success was due to our coaching." He became interim coach Monday after his father, Bum Phillips, quit.
The Rams (9-4) had beaten New Orleans, 28-10, earlier this season, mainly because they'd had nine sacks. Today the Saints (5-8) had nine sacks for 69 yards.
Their defense controlled the game and blew it open in the fourth quarter. Johnnie Poe intercepted one of Dieter Brock's passes to set up the first touchdown of the game two plays later, when Bobby Hebert passed 43 yards to Eric Martin.
Little more than a minute later, linebacker James Haynes sacked Jeff Kemp of the Rams, causing a fumble that Del Rio returned 22 yards for a touchdown.
And four minutes after that, Rickey Jackson tackled tight end David Hill of the Rams so hard that Hill fumbled at the Rams' 32; Del Rio recovered to set up Andersen's fifth field goal.
Jackson and defensive end Frank Warren each had two sacks.
"Wade put something new in for the defense," Jackson said. "He put a lot of men up front to leave me one-on-one, and we didn't do that before. It's the first time in a long time that we opened up on defense and offense. Everybody was having fun. Before, we'd put new stuff in and never call it. This time we called it."
Eric Dickerson of the Rams carried 16 times for 80 yards before his team had to quit running in hopes of catching up.
As the game wound down, Tom Benson Jr., the Saints' new owner, ran up and down the sidelines hugging necks, shaking hands and patting backs. When Bum Phillips quit, Benson fired the team's president, Eddie Jones; its football operations director, Pat Peppler, and its public relations director, Greg Suit.
Throughout the game, Helen Phillips, wife of the former coach and mother of the interim coach, stood in a far corner of the Saints' box and cheered for the Saints.