Saints keep the Falcons reeling

From the Associated Press

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints did just fine without their top receiver.

The Atlanta Falcons are still looking for someone who can catch the ball.

Brees went deep on the third play of game to Marques Colston's backup, delivered another long touchdown on a desperation throw at the end of the first half and put up another 300-yard performance in Sunday's 31-13 victory at Atlanta.

Coming in with three losses in four games, the Saints (7-4) stunned the Falcons right away with a 76-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson, who started in place of the injured Colston.

"It was a great way to start the game," said Brees, who completed 21 of 30 passes for 349 yards -- his fifth straight game eclipsing 300 yards.

The Saints finished off the first half with another big play. Brees threw it up toward the end zone, and Terrance Copper managed to haul in a 48-yard touchdown with three defenders around him.

"I just jumped up and tried to catch it," Copper said. "It was a good throw by Drew. It just fell in my hands."

As for the Falcons, they hardly caught anything in their fourth straight loss, which knocked them below .500 for the first time in Jim Mora's three seasons as coach.

Not even 166 yards rushing by Michael Vick could bail out the Falcons (5-6), who dropped at least five passes. As he walked off the field, getting booed, Vick made an obscene gesture.

He later apologized, saying in a statement, "First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my inappropriate actions with fans today. I was frustrated and upset at how the game was going for my team, and that frustration came out the wrong way."

The Falcons' signature play came early in the fourth quarter, when Roddy White let the ball slip from his hands at the New Orleans 10 with no one around him after Atlanta had closed to 21-13.

Vick challenged his NFL record for yards rushing by a quarterback, coming up seven short of his 173-yard effort in an overtime victory at Minnesota in 2002. But he finished nine-for-24 passing for 84 yards.

Minnesota 31, Arizona 26 -- Brad Johnson threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns, Chester Taylor rushed for 136 yards and a score and the Vikings (5-6) ended a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Cardinals (2-9) in Arizona Coach Dennis Green's return to Minneapolis.

Cardinals rookie Matt Leinart threw for a career-high 405 yards and two interceptions, but managed only one touchdown.

Larry Fitzgerald had 11 catches for 172 yards and Boldin had nine catches for 140 yards for the Cardinals.

St. Louis 20, San Francisco 17 -- The Rams (5-6) broke another team's heart for a change on Marc Bulger's five-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis with 27 seconds to go for a victory over the 49ers (5-6) at St. Louis to end a five-game losing streak. Twice during the skid they lost in the final minute.

San Francisco, which had a three-game winning streak ended, lost Frank Gore to an ankle injury in the fourth after he had gained 134 yards in 21 carries.

Stymied much of the game, Bulger was nine for nine for 66 yards during a 12-play, 80-yard drive for the winning score.

Washington 17, Carolina 13 -- Jason Campbell more than doubled his day's production with a single pass to tight end Chris Cooley, who caught the ball at midfield, escaped two tackles and completed a career-long 66-yard reception with 4:26 remaining for the winning touchdown in the Redskins' victory at Landover, Md.

The victory broke a two-game losing streak for the Redskins (4-7) and gave Campbell his first win in his second start. Campbell had only 52 yards passing when he hit Cooley on a third and eight. Carolina fell to 6-5.

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