ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Just like two years ago, a St. Louis Rams team going nowhere jumped on the playoff-bound New Orleans Saints early and never let them up.
Drew Brees threw interceptions that led to touchdowns on the Saints' first two possessions and the Rams got big days from Zac Stacy, Robert Quinn and on special teams in a 27-16 victory Sunday.
"When you looked at their sideline, they realized, `Oh gosh, like, here we go again,'" Rams defensive end Chris Long said. "We hit `em early, and they were reeling."
The Rams were 0-6 and double-digit underdogs before upsetting the Saints in 2011. St. Louis was 2-14 that year and New Orleans went 13-3.
Everything went sour fast for the 10-win Saints. Brees was intercepted on the first snap, and again in the second series, and the Saints played catch-up all day.
"You want to talk about waking the whole place up," Brees said. "That did it."
Quinn had two sacks, giving him an NFC-leading 15, for a pass rush that took the heat off a young secondary. His quarterback hit on the Saints' first snap of the game altered the flight of the ball on T.J. McDonald's interception, and he had a sack, strip and fumble recovery to keep the Saints down in the third quarter.
Coach Sean Payton benched left tackle Charlie Brown after that play and shifted left tackle Zack Strief to the right side in an attempt to neutralize Quinn.
"I saw enough. Period. I mean, enough," Payton said.
The Saints (10-4) missed their first chance to clinch a playoff berth, trailing 24-3 at the half, but made it look respectable with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They're unbeaten at home, but just 3-4 on the road and play at Carolina with the NFC South lead on the line next week.
The Saints are averaging 32.9 points at home, with five of the wins by double-digits including playoff hopefuls Dallas and Arizona. They're averaging just 18.4 points on the road with the three wins by eight, four and two points.
Kellen Clemens threw for two TDs in the first quarter, matching his best performance in seven games as the fill-in starter for Sam Bradford. The Rams (6-8) recovered an onside kick to set up a field goal in the first quarter, and Michael Brockers blocked a field-goal attempt at the end of the half.
Brees was 39 for 56 for 393 yards, but with just one touchdown, and threw two interceptions in the first quarter for the first time in a decade.
The Rams played one of their strongest games of the year a week after getting eliminated, and the franchise is assured of a 10th consecutive season without a winning record.
St. Louis' offense had a nice day against Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who had an extended interview with the Rams in January before joining New Orleans.
"When people change their mind, they change their mind, and I was fine with that," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's a good coach."
Stacy shook off an early hip injury scare and set a franchise rookie record with 106 yards by halftime, bettering the likes of Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, Steven Jackson and Jerome Bettis. Stacy finished with 132 yards on 27 carries.
"Questionable? Nah, I was never questionable," Stacy said. "I was always going back. I'm a competitor."
Brees scored on a 1-yard sneak and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston with 3:07 to go. The Saints recovered an onside kick, but their comeback ended when Garrett Hartley was wide left on a 26-yard field-goal attempt.
Last week, Brees became the fastest in NFL history to 50,000 yards passing while throwing for four TDs in a 31-13 victory over Carolina at home.
Cory Harkey broke three tackles on a 31-yard touchdown catch the first play - just his seventh reception of the year after Brees' first interception.
Brees floated a rollout aimed at Jimmy Graham, who was in triple-coverage, and Trumaine Johnson snared another underthrown pass at the goal line. The Rams drove 93 yards, helped by a pair of personal penalties, and made it 14-0 on Clemens' 4-yard pass to a wide-open Lance Kendricks.
The Rams followed up with perfect execution on an onside kick by kicker Greg Zuerlein recovered in the air by a leaping Stedman Bailey, setting up a field goal for a 17-0 cushion early in the second quarter.
Clemens got a chance to use the victory formation the Rams practice after Brockers blocked Hartley's 36-yard field-goal attempt with 2 seconds left.
Notes: Former Rams two-time Pro Bowl QB Marc Bulger, holding his daughter, was introduced during the break while Stacy was helped off the field. ... According to STATS, the first seven games, the Saints forced 15 turnovers and scored 48 points. They had no turnovers or sacks against the Rams, and over the last seven games they have just two takeaways.
AP NFL website: WWW.PRO32.AP.ORG
Between 2015 and 2018, St. Louis will play host to eight NCAA Championships.
The Gateway City will have championships in: Bowling, Women's Gymnastics, Women's Ice Hockey, and wrestling for division one and two.
This is a breakdown of what the NCAA just announced:
Bowling Championships to be held at Tropicana Lanes in St. Louis MO on April 9-11, 2015 and April 12-14, 2018
Women’s gymnastics championships to be held at Chaifetz Arena on April 14-16, 2017 and April 20-22, 2018
Women’s Ice Hockey “Frozen Four” finals to be held at Family Arena in St Charles Mo on March 17-19, 2017.
Men’s Wrestling championship to be held at Scottrade Center in St Louis on March 19-21, 2015 and March 16-18, 2017.
Division II Wrestling championships at the Chaifetz Arena on March 13-14, 2015.
In addition, for the area soccer fanatics, the NCAA Division 1 Championships will come to Sporting Park in Kansas City on December 11-13, 2015.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- Kevin Shattenkirk scored a power-play goal at 16:58 of the third period to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
Bryan Little scored early in the third for the Jets, who outshot the Blues by an 8-2 margin in the first period.
Four of those came during the Jets' one power play late in the period. Great saves by Brian Elliott kept the puck out of the St. Louis net.
Alex Steen turned things around in the second with the Blues' first goal.
He was behind the Winnipeg goal line midway between the net and the boards at 4:44 when he slid a puck behind Ondrej Pavelec that banked off the Winnipeg goalie to put the Blues ahead 1-0.
Pavelec was focusing on those in front of the net rather than the Blues' leading scorer to his right. It was Steen's 21st goal of the season.
Steen's goal helped give the Blues energy and they outshot the Jets 8-5 in the second, although Winnipeg also had to kill a Blake Wheeler interference penalty.
But Little evened things up just three minutes into the third as he won a faceoff and then snapped a pass from linemate Andrew Ladd past Elliott on a power play.
Winnipeg failed to get a shot off on a second power play in the third and killed another Wheeler minor for slashing. The Jets also failed to score on another power play about 13 minutes in.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was sent off with just over three minutes left for hooking, which gave Shattenkirk his chance to score his third goal of the season.
St. Louis was coming off a 5-2 home-ice loss to Anaheim and had lost three of its past four coming to Winnipeg. The Jets hadn't played at home since Nov. 23, but were 4-2 on an Eastern road swing.
Notes: Jets' Mark Stuart left in the third bleeding from the mouth after a goalmouth scramble. ... Wheeler had been on a three-game point streak going into the game. ... The Jets are still the only team in the Central that has managed to beat the Blues this season, 4-3 in a shootout Oct. 18. ... St. Louis went into Tuesday's game with an impressive 9-0-1 record against division opponents.
When the new members are inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer, former Cardinal's manager Tony La Russa will be among them. The third winningest manager in the major leagues was voted in Monday at Baseball's winter meetings in Orlando.
Mangers Joe Torre and Bobby Cox were also voted in unanimously.
La Russa skippered the Cardinals from 1996 to 2011, retiring after the Cards won the World Series. Before coming to St. Louis, he steered the Oakland A's and Chicago White Sox.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be July 27, 2014 in Cooperstown.
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The University of Missouri football team (11-2 overall and Southeastern Conference East Division champions) has accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, set for January 3rd in Arlington, Texas at the world-renowned AT&T Stadium. Kickoff for the game, which will pit the Tigers against former conference foe Oklahoma State (10-2, 2nd place in Big 12), is set for 7pm.
The Cotton Bowl appearance will mark Mizzou's 11th New Year's Day (or later) bowl game in program history, and its first since playing in the 2008 Cotton Bowl against Arkansas. The invitation is a reward for an outstanding season which saw the Tigers post one of the top turnaround years in the nation, going from 5-7 in 2012 to 11-2 - a 6 1/2 game improvement. This is MU's 30th alltime bowl appearance.
"We are honored and excited to accept a bid to play in the Cotton Bowl," said Head Coach Gary Pinkel, who will be making his ninth bowl game appearance in 13 seasons at Mizzou. "We know first-hand just how great of a trip this is, and how first-class of an operation the Cotton Bowl runs. We have a chance to play an outstanding team in Oklahoma State, and this is an opportunity to finish up a special season in front of a great Mizzou crowd," Pinkel said.
This will mark the 78th Cotton Bowl Classic, and the Tigers will be making their third appearance in the tradition-rich game. Mizzou rolled to a 38-7 win over Arkansas in the 2008 game, as TB Tony Temple rushed for a Cotton Bowl-record 281 yards and four touchdowns against the 25th-ranked Razorbacks. That win closed a stellar season for Mizzou, who finished with a 12-2 record and a school-best final ranking of 4th in the final polls. Mizzou's other appearance in the Cotton Bowl was back in 1946, when Texas claimed a 40-27 victory.
"Mizzou is very pleased to be part of the 78th annual Cotton Bowl Classic," said Director of Athletics Mike Alden. "The Cotton Bowl is one of the iconic bowl games in all of college football, and it will be a great reward to our team to have the opportunity to play in AT&T Stadium. We have an outstanding alumni base in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I know our fans will be excited to see the Tigers come their way once again," he said.
The chairman of the Cotton Bowl is Tommy Bain. Bain said, "We just landed two of the preeminent teams in the country, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Missouri and Oklahoma State are capable of lighting up the scoreboard in a hurry, and defensively, each team is strong. Something is going to have to give come January 3rd. OSU beat three ranked teams in November and one of the nation’s longest winning streaks going into the Oklahoma game. Missouri was absolutely sensational in just its second season in the SEC. The Tigers won the SEC’s Eastern Division and gave Auburn all it wanted in the conference championship game. We can’t wait to get these two teams to Arlington, pamper them with some Texas hospitality, and then prepare for another exciting Classic.”
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Corey Perry scored his team-high 18th goal and rookie Frederik Andersen made 26 saves to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
Anaheim won its second in a row, after beating defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago 3-2 in a shootout Friday. St. Louis lost for the third time in four games and fell to 12-2-2 at home.
Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Cogliano, Nick Bonino and Mark Fistric also scored for the Ducks, who had not won in regulation in their previous eight trips to St. Louis.
Getzlaf, who also added an assist, has a point in his last 13 games. He has 10 goals and 10 assists during that span. Getzlaf missed three games in November with an injury and has a point in his team's past 11 games, the longest current run in the NHL.
Andersen, who won his first six starts, improved to 8-1 with his second successive victory. He leads all rookie goalies in wins.
Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund scored third-period goals for St. Louis, which had won five straight home games.
Anaheim scored three times in the opening 7:29 to chase Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, who faced eight shots.
Bonino converted at 17:16 of the second period to push the lead to 4-0.
Andersen stopped the first 20 shots he faced and helped kill off 4-minute power plays in each of the first two periods.
NOTES: Anaheim RW Teemu Selanne was a healthy scratch after playing Friday in Chicago. The 43-year-old has played on back-to-back nights only once this season. ... St. Louis C Derek Roy is one assist shy of 300 for his career. ... The Blues are an NHL-best 57-16-8 at home since the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. ... Anaheim G Jonas Hiller was given the night off after facing 76 shots and 12 shootout attempts in the previous two games. ... St. Louis has scored at least two goals in all 16 home games this season.