Saints Edge Rams in Preseason Opener - The Missourian: Sports

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Saints Edge Rams in Preseason Opener

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Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 1:15 pm, Fri Aug 22, 2014.

The good news is that there is plenty of room for improvement.

The better news is that the St. Louis Rams have the chance to show that improvement Saturday afternoon when the Green Bay Packers visit for a 3 p.m. NFL preseason game.

The Rams (0-1) are coming off a 26-24 loss last Friday to the New Orleans Saints.

In that game, the Rams had two chances to win late in the contest. However,  neither Greg Zurlein field goal attempt hit the mark and the Saints escaped with the victory.

“It looked like a lot of preseason games, especially at the start of the year,” New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton said. “There’s a ton of things for us to coach off of. No. 1, I am glad we got a win, but we had far too many penalties. I think we are at 10. Lot of silly mistakes we are going to have to clean up in all areas.”

St. Louis Head Coach Jeff Fisher said the plan was to look at a lot of the players as both teams will have to start trimming down to the 53-man opening day roster.

“I hope that when you get in preseason games that there’s enough things that take place there that you can learn from and learn lessons and teach from and we got our share today, I’ll tell you that was something,” Fisher said. “We set out to play a lot of people.”

Neither team looked crisp in the game and penalties were a massive problem. St. Louis was whistled 14 times for 118 yards, including two key penalties which stalled drives in the fourth quarter, while New Orleans took 10 flags for 104 yards.

The Rams jumped onto the scoreboard first when Shaun Hill, getting the start in place of Sam Bradford, hit Cory Harkey on the left side for a 16-yard pass. Zurlein kicked the extra point to make it 7-0 with 8:10 to play in the opening quarter.

“At times, yeah, but it’s the first preseason game so there’s still some learning for me and some comfort in the offense that needs to come,” Hill said. “But, that’s what the preseason is for and I’m very glad that they still have four preseason games. I know there’s been a lot of talk about pushing them back to two, but for young guys or any new guy to the team, having four preseason games is great just to get that experience.”

Both teams rested a number of projected starters for the game and it’s possible some of the Rams who missed the New Orleans game could play against Green Bay this week.

Following the opening score, the Saints maneuvered into field goal range and Shayne Graham cut it to 7-3 with a 37-yard kick with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Khiry Robinson’s one-yard run put New Orleans on top with 8:32 left in the half. Graham hit the left upright on the extra point. The kick was much longer than normal as the league is experimenting with longer extra-point kicks in the preseason.

Hill brought the Rams back on top by threading a pass through to Stedman Bailey with 5:59 left in the half. Zurlein’s kick made it 14-9.

The Saints rolled back on top with Mark Ingram scoring from 22 yards out with 2:37 to play in the half. Graham’s kick made it 16-14 in favor of the visitors.

Garrett Gilbert took over and led the Rams to a 45-yard Zurlein field goal at the intermission to give the Rams a 17-16 advantage.

In the second half, more of the reserves got into the action and the game became one of players looking to make a mark and survive the first round of cuts. Derek Dimke hit from 37 yards out to give the Saints the lead with 10:31 to play in the third quarter and a 25-yard pass from Ryan Griffin to Brandin Cooks with 3:43 to play in the quarter added to the lead. Dimke’s kick made it 26-17.

The third St. Louis quarterback, Austin Davis, hit Austin Franklin with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 11:07 to play. Zurlein’s extra-point kick cut it to 26-24. Despite two more chances to score, the Rams couldn’t overtake the Saints.

Griffin led all quarterbacks with 179 passing yards. He was 16-23 with one touchdown.

Davis led St. Louis quarterbacks with 134 passing yards while hitting 10 of 16 attempts. He had one touchdown. Hill was 5-7 for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Tre Mason led the Rams with 51 rushing yards on 15 carries. Chase Reynolds ran six times for 46 yards.

“It was good to get my feet wet out there,” Mason said. “Now I know what to expect and we definitely need to work on finishing. We had a chance to put the game away and win it, but we failed in that. So now there are certain things we need to (improve on).”

Ingram led all runners with eight carries for 83 yards. Robinson had five carries for 23 yards.

“I was encouraged with our ability to run the ball and their efforts,” Payton said. “I thought they played with good pad level. It was good to see through both of them. Again, we will get back and kind of look at some of the run and protection phases of it. Overall, we knew we would be splitting the better part of the half because Pierre (Thomas) was not going to play, and we end up doing it.”

Alex Bayer was the top St. Louis receiver with five catches for 71 yards while Emory Blake caught three balls for 41 yards.

Cooks led New Orleans with five catches for 55 yards and one touchdown.

Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald, the two St. Louis first-round draft picks, both played. Robinson saw time at offensive guard and tackle. Donald showed promise on the defensive line.

“It was a great feeling and I really just missed being in front of a crowd and playing,” Robinson said. “It was something good to get back at. I really was looking forward to it, and even though it was a preseason game, we have to still hold ourselves accountable.”

Mizzou’s E.J. Gaines started for the Rams and was tied for the team lead in tackles.

“It was crazy, kind of surreal, like a dream come true,” Gaines said. “I’ve been thinking about this moment since I was really young. So coming in and being able to start my first preseason game, it felt good.”

Another Mizzou product, Michael Sam, saw considerable time at defensive end. He’s drawn considerable attention as the league’s first openly gay player.

“Mike played hard,” Fisher said. “I didn’t watch him individually, but I saw him on the hurry and the great effort outside the pocket. I saw him involved in a couple other plays. He slanted down, made a play in the run game that stood out, but we’ll watch the tape see how he did. I know he was tired and it seemed like (Defensive Line) Coach (Mike) Waffle was pleased with his performance.”

Sam said he did not hear the cheering.

“I didn’t really hear the crowd,” Sam said. “When I’m in game mode, I’m in game mode, but if the crowd was yelling for me, that’s cool.”

Sam said he knows he can play in the NFL.

“That I can play in this league — that’s the most important thing,” Sam said about what he learned. “I was kind of nervous. I got the nerves out today. It was a very good learning experience and I can play in this league.”

The Rams suffered one injury of note as second-year tight end Mason Brodine was lost for the season with a fractured ankle. The Rams signed Brad Smelley, formerly of the Houston Texans, in his place.


Area Scoreboard

Boys Basketball

Monday, Jan. 12

%St. Charles 85, Bayless 32

%Westminster 64, Washington 44

Fulton SA at Providence    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Pacific 48, Eureka 38

%Borgia 72, St. Clair 36

#South Callaway 68, North Callaway 29

#Hermann 28, Russellville 13

Crosspoint 59, Heritage Christian Academy 18

%Francis Howell Central 87, Union 79

#New Bloomfield 63, Montgomery Co 59

#Harrisburg 48, New Haven 39

Thursday, Jan. 15

#North Callaway 65, Montgomery County 58

#South Callaway 84, New Bloomfield 58

Bethel at Fulton SA    6:30 p.m.

#Russellville 36, New Haven 34

#Harrisburg 51, Hermann 44

Friday, Jan. 16

%Washington 71, Bayless 43

%Union 65, St. Clair 52

*Crosspoint at Community Christian    6:30 p.m.

%St. Charles 67, Westminster 50

Providence at Fulton SA    7 pm.

#Seventh-place game — New Haven vs. Montgomery Co.    7:30 p.m.

Consolation game — Russellville vs. North Callaway    7:30 p.m.

%Borgia 60, Francis Howell Central 53

Saturday, Jan. 17

%Seventh-place game — Bayless 58, St. Clair 43

#Third-place game — Hermann vs. New Bloomfield   3:30 p.m.

%Consolation game — Washington 66, Union 59

%Third-place game — Westminster 66, Francis Howell Central 62

#Championship game — Harrisburg vs. South Callaway    6:30 p.m.

%Championship game — St. Charles 65, Borgia 40

Sunday, Jan. 18

Pacific vs. Jefferson City (Mizzou)    5:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 19

Union 86, Warrenton 62

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Park Hills Central 72, St. Clair 55

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    6:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at CAGSL    7:30 p.m.

Linn 59, New Haven 38

Thursday, Jan. 22

Union 86, Cuba 72

Fulton SA at Rivers of Life    6 p.m.

Borgia 70, O'Fallon Christian 35

*Crosspoint at Thomas Jefferson    7 p.m.

Pacific 69, Wichita Independent 46

Friday, Jan. 23

Cuba at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:45 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    7 p.m.

*Fulton SA at Crosspoint    7 p.m.

Pacific vs. Riverton at Frontenac Tny (Kan.)    8:30 p.m.

New Haven at Chamois    6 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 24

Pacific vs. TBA, Frontenac Tny (Kan.)    TBA

Monday, Jan. 26

^Rock Bridge vs. Northwest    5:30 p.m.

^Lutheran South vs. Hillsboro    7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Jackson at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

^Borgia vs. Union    5:30 p.m.

~Warrenton vs. Chamois    6 p.m.

~Hermann vs. Owensville    6 p.m.

^Washington vs. St. Clair    7 p.m.

~Wright City vs. New Haven    7:30 p.m.

~Montgomery Co vs. St. James    7:30 p.m.

*Bethel at Crosspoint    7:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

^Rock Bridge-Northwest loser vs. Lutheran South-Hillsboro loser    5:30 p.m.

~Warrenton-Chamois loser vs. Wright City-New Haven loser    6 p.m.

~Warrenton-Chamois winner vs. Wright City-New Haven winner    6 p.m.

^Borgia-Union loser vs. Washington-St. Clair loser    7 p.m.

~Hermann-Owensville loser vs. Montgomery Co-St. James loser    7:30 p.m.

~Hermann-Owensville winner vs. Montgomery Co-St. James winner    7:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 30

^Rock Bridge-Northwest winner vs. Lutheran South-Hillsboro winner    5:30 p.m.

^Borgia-Union winner vs. Washington-St. Clair winner    7 p.m.

*Providence at Crosspoint    7:30 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

^Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

~Seventh-place game    2:30 p.m.

^Consolation    4 p.m.

~Consolation    4 p.m.

^Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

~Third-place game    5:30 p.m.

^Championship    7 p.m.

~Championship    7 p.m.

%Washington Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

^Union Tournament

~Hermann Tournament

Girls Basketball

Monday, Jan. 12

St. Clair 60, Lutheran South 49

Pacific 65, Lindbergh 40

@Washington 79, Patriettes 28

#Harrisburg 69,  Russellville 45

#New Bloomfield 54, Montgomery Co 29   

Fulton SA at Providence    6 p.m.

@Helias 47, Sullivan 42

#North Callaway 49 vs. New Haven 39 

#Hermann 44 vs. South Callaway 40

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Ursuline 63, Pacific 44

St. Clair 58, Ft. Zumwalt East 27

Heritage Classical at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

@St. Charles West 45, Union 38

@Borgia 57, Eureka 35

Wednesday, Jan. 14

#Russellville 43,  New Haven 24

#North Callaway 63, Harrisburg 57

# South Callaway 46, Montgomery Co 28

#New Bloomfield 58, Hermann 50

Thursday, Jan. 15

Bethel at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

St. Clair 54, Northwest 38

@Sullivan 64, Patriettes 32

@Union 56, Eureka 26

Friday, Jan. 16

@Helias 38, Washington 35

Providence at Fulton SA    5:30 p.m.

#Seventh-place game — New Haven 52, Montgomery County 40

#Consolation — Russellville vs.  South Callaway  6 p.m.

@Borgia 47, St. Charles West 37

Saturday, Jan. 17

@Seventh-place game — Eureka 69, Patriettes 39

#Third-place game — Hermann vs. Harrisburg   2 p.m.

@Consolation game — Sullivan 45, Union 38

@Third-place game — Washington 55, St. Charles West 37

#Championship — New Bloomfield vs. North Callaway    5 p.m.

@Championship — Borgia 37, Helias 36

Monday, Jan. 19

*Owensville 78,  St. Clair 68

Warrenton 51, Union 44

New Haven 44, Montgomery Cnty 40 

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.-rescheduled for Friday, Jan. 23

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fulton SA at Liberty Christian    5 p.m.

Pacific 63, Parkway West 43

New Haven 35, Wellsville 26

Crosspoint at CAGSL    6 p.m.

Borgia 56, O'Fallon Christian 26

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Pacific 55, Eureka 40

Thursday, Jan. 22

*Washington 56, Ft. Zumwalt East 30

*Crosspoint at Thomas Jefferson    5:30 p.m.

Silex 45, New Haven 44

Borgia 67, Trinity 22

Friday, Jan. 23

*Fulton SA at Crosspoint    5:30 p.m.

*Duchesne at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 26

^Holt vs. Pacific    4 p.m.

^Union vs. Warrenton    5:30 p.m.

~Owensville vs. Montgomery Co    6 p.m.

Cardinal Ritter at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

^St. Clair vs. Lutheran South    7 p.m.

~Hermann vs. Wright City    7:30 p.m.

^Washington vs. Wentzville Liberty    8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Fulton SA at Barat    4:30 p.m.

~New Haven vs. Montgomery Co    6 p.m.

*Bethel at Crosspoint    6:15 p.m.

~Hermann vs. Wright City    7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

^Holt-Pacific loser vs. Union-Warrenton loser    4 p.m.

Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    5 p.m.

^Washington-Wentzville Liberty loser vs. St. Clair-Lutheran South loser    5:30 p.m.

~Owensville vs. New Haven    6 p.m.

^Holt-Pacific winner vs. Union-Warrenton winner    7 p.m.

~Hermann vs. Chamois    7:30 p.m.

^Washington-Wentzville Liberty winner vs. St. Clair-Lutheran South winner    8:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

*Borgia at Notre Dame    6:45 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 30

^Seventh-place game    4 p.m.

~Consolation    5 p.m.

^Consolation    5:30 p.m.

*Providence at Crosspoint    6 p.m.

Eagle Ridge at Fulton SA    6 p.m.

~Third-place game    6:30 p.m.

^Third-place game    7 p.m.

~Championship    8 p.m.

^Championship    8:30 p.m.

@Union Tournament

#South Callaway Tournament

^Washington Tournament

~Hermann Tournament


Tuesday, Jan. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt North 39, Washington 36

*Union 41, St. James 24

*Union 49, Sullivan 24

Warrenton 48, Union 30

Thursday, Jan. 22

Priory/Windsor at Pacific    5 p.m.

Borgia at Festus    5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 23

Union, Pacific at MICDS Tny    TBA

Saturday, Jan. 24

Union, Pacific at MICDS Tny    TBA

St. Clair at Ft. Zumwalt South Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Jan. 27

*Pacific at St. Clair    6 p.m.

Borgia at Helias Tri-Meet    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Borgia at Lutheran St. Charles    5 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

Union at Farmington/Summit    5 p.m.

*Pacific at St. James/Owensville    5:30 p.m.

Washington at Seckman    6 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    TBA

Friday, Jan. 30

St. Clair at Potosi/Festus    5 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 31

Pacific at Hazelwood East Tny    9 a.m.

Girls Swimming

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Timberland 140, Washington 96, Ft. Zumwalt East 87

Thursday, Jan. 22

Oakville 120, Washington 115, University City 9, Mehlville 6

Saturday, Jan. 24

Washington vs. Borgia    noon

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Washington at St. Charles West    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29

Washington at Affton/Lutheran South    4:15 p.m.

Borgia at St. Dominic    8:30 p.m.

*Conference Games