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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. 

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