Rams show heart of a champion with fourth-quarter run
After the Saints went up by 24 points, Kurt Warner and Co. got their offense going, nearly turning the raucous Superdome to stony silence.
"They showed why they were the Super Bowl champs, the way they came back," Saints safety Sammy Knight said. "When those guys get the ball in the open field, you know it's trouble."
After a quick turnover, Brooks and Jackson hooked up for their third TD of the day for a 31-7 advantage.
Move over Times Square on New Year's Eve. Real happiness was taking shape a day early and 1,400 miles to the south.
Then Warner took over.
"You always worry when Warner has the football," Knight said. "He can do so much, so quick. He can hurt you before you even know you've been hit."
How quick? Try three touchdowns in seven minutes.
With 2:36 left in the game, the Saints' lead was 31-28, and the Superdome was quiet.
"I never doubted we could do it, but I worried some," Saints defensive lineman La'Roi Glover said. "They never let up. They can scare you."
The Rams forced a punt with 1:51 left, and seemed poised for another drive that would tie or win the game.
"I expected our offense to come on the field and go down for a touchdown and get ready for New York," St. Louis defensive tackle D'Marco Farr said.
"It was just a matter of getting that ball and cradling it and squeezing it as tight as I could," said Milne, one of the many free agents the Saints have molded into a team. "All I knew was that I had that ball in my stomach."
Milne, who has bounced around the league since the Indianapolis Colts made him a fourth-round pick in 1996, still had the football close at hand after the game.
"I'm going to take it home and frame it," Milne said.
The Saints, a team that could always be counted on to lose the little games, let alone the big ones, can take home and frame the first playoff victory in the history of the franchise.
"In the fourth quarter, when we were up by 24 and they came back and were slicing our lead, I know everyone was thinking, 'Same old Saints,'" owner Tom Benson said. "But we didn't. We won the game."
This time, it was the Rams that were left to sing the Saints' usual refrain.
"I was sitting in my locker with everyone around me saying, ''Next year, next year, we'll do it next year,'" Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom said. "It made me mad. That's not how you play this game. We had the opportunity to go all the way this year."