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Saints topple Rams in preseason opener
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Griffin threw for 179 yards and a touchdown as the New Orleans Saints opened the preseason with a 26-24 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Griffin, a second-year product out of Tulane, came on for quarterback Luke McCown and completed 16-of-23 passes. He found first round pick Brandin Cooks for a 25-yard touchdown connection late in the third quarter that proved to be the difference.
Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson each ran for touchdowns, with Ingram racking up 83 yards on eight carries. Cooks caught five balls for 55 yards in addition to the score for the Saints, who finished with an 11-5 record in 2013 and won their postseason opener against the Eagles.
Veteran signal caller Shaun Hill threw a pair of touchdown passes for the Rams, while Austin Davis picked up 134 yards and a score on 10-for-16 passing.
Both starting quarterbacks, New Orleans' Drew Brees and Sam Bradford of the Rams, were given the night off.
Cory Harkey caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Hill on St. Louis' first possession. Shayne Graham kicked a field goal late in the period and Robinson took it in from a yard out early in the second to give the Saints a 9-7 lead.
Hill's second touchdown strike of the game went to Stedmon Bailey from 24 yards out midway through the second. Ingram ran it in for a 22-yard score on the ensuing New Orleans touch, and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein split the uprights on a 45-yard kick as the clock expired to send the Rams into halftime with a 17-16 lead.
Derek Dimke drilled a 37-yarder to put the Saints back in front early in the third, and Cooks' touchdown reception with 3:43 to play in the quarter made it 26-17. Davis' 15-yard touchdown pass to Austin Franklin capped the scoring.
The Rams got into field goal possession on the final touch thanks in large part to a 42-yard reception by Alex Bayer. A penalty with just seconds to play set up a 59-yard kick for Zuerlein, but the young kicker put it wide left as the game ended.
08/08 23:56:09 ET