ST. LOUIS – Minus their coach, their quarterback and their two starting wide receivers, the St. Louis Rams had just enough left to win.

Steven Jackson scored on a pair of short runs and Kevin Curtis got the go-ahead touchdown on a 5-yard reverse with 5:58 to go in a come-from-behind 28-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

A pair of failed trick plays came back to haunt the Saints (2-5), who squandered a 14-point first-quarter lead and have lost three in a row. A quarterback sneak on a fake field goal on fourth-and-1 was stuffed for no gain near the end of the third quarter and Donte’ Stallworth’s fumble on a fourth-quarter reverse led to the go-ahead score.

Rams quarterback Jamie Martin, subbing for the injured Marc Bulger, was ineffective most of the day. But he hit Curtis for a 42-yard gain to the 6 to set up the winning score, and then led the blocking on Curtis’ clinching score after the wide receiver took a handoff from Jackson.

Martin, who threw two crucial interceptions in a loss at Indianapolis on Monday, was 18-for-29 for 198 yards with no interceptions against the Saints. The 36-year-old won for the first time in four career starts.

Mike Furrey’s 67-yard interception return with 1:55 to go wrapped it up for the Rams (3-4), who ended a three-game losing streak. They’re 1-1 without Mike Martz, who is hospitalized with a bacterial infection of a heart valve. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt has been running the show.

Bulger is out with a sprained shoulder and Torry Holt (knee) and Isaac Bruce (turf toe) also did not dress, robbing the Rams of considerable firepower.

Aaron Brooks threw touchdown passes on the Saints’ first two drives. After that, the team without a home fizzled and its three-game winning streak in St. Louis came to an end.

Furrey’s touchdown return came a play after a defensive holding call on third down gave the Saints a fresh set of downs at their own 42.

Brooks was 18-for-39 for 230 yards and threw touchdown passes of 11 yards to Stallworth and 17 yards to Az-Zahir Hakim for a quick 14-0 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter.

Jackson had a 43-yard gain on the Rams’ first play, but that was their only first down until midway through the second quarter. Jackson’s 6-yard touchdown run came one play after a 42-yard pass interference call on Steve Gleason.

The Saints passed up points when they faked a 39-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-1 and backup quarterback Todd Bouman, the holder, was stopped short on a quarterback sneak late in the third quarter.

Tyoka Jackson stripped Stallworth on the reverse and Adam Arculeta recovered at the Saints 42 with 8:40 left to set up the Rams’ go-ahead score.

AP-ES-10-23-05 1640EDT


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