Three and out _lowres

Associated Press photo by SCOTT KANE -- Junior Galette, left, and Cameron Jordan close in on Rams quarterback Shaun Hill.


In the fight to be Drew Brees’ backup in 2014, Luke McCown left the door wide open for Ryan Griffin after throwing a dismal interception on the first drive of the game, which St. Louis then converted into a six-play, 47-yard scoring drive. Griffin burst through it, going 16-of-23 for 179 yards and a touchdown. Griffin owes a heap of gratitude to rookie receiver and first-round draft choice Brandin Cooks for his 25-yard scoring throw; but that doesn’t take away from an impressive outing for a player who was an undrafted rookie last year.


It was a very familiar scene to anyone who watched the Saints last year give up an early score before then forcing their opponents into punt after punt. St. Louis’ offense looked efficient on its scoring drive after the Saints’ turnover. Rams quarterback Shaun Hill connected with Jared Cook for a 24-yard pass and then with Corey Harkey for a 16-yard score. Rob Ryan’s first-team defense subsequently made adjustments and clamped down, limiting the Rams to two punts, six plays and 5 yards on the next two drives before being subbed off.


Few would’ve given the Saints’ run game much of a chance Friday, with Pro Bowl guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs ruled out; tackles Terron Armstead and Zach Strief being taken out after a couple of series; and veteran running back Pierre Thomas a late scratch. But Mark Ingram’s fine form from the end of 2013 spilled over into Friday, averaging 10.4 yards on eight carries and scoring a touchdown. Khiry Robinson also got a touchdown and had a decent average of 4.6 yards on five carries.