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John DeShazier: Aggressiveness on fourth down turned game in Saints favor

Saints turned two fourth down attempts into TDs

Check out the Saints vs. Rams action at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

We learned in the second quarter Sunday the kind of game it was going to be for the New Orleans Saints against the Los Angeles Rams in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

New Orleans was going to be aggressive. It wasn't going to settle for field goals. It wasn't just interested in taking what Los Angeles gave it, it was intent on taking what it wanted against a Rams defense that, entering the game, only was allowing 18.7 points per game.

So with a little less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, trailing 14-10 and facing a fourth-and-1 at the Rams' 10-yard line, the Saints didn't even burn a timeout to discuss its options. There was no debating whether rookie kicker Wil Lutzwould be trotting onto the field to attempt a 27- or 28-yard field goal to pull the Saints to within 14-10, with two-thirds of the second quarter left to play.

The offense stayed on the field, and Coach Sean Paytonand offensive coordinator Pete Carmichaeldialed up a gem of a play: a snap from center Max Ungerto Drew Brees, for a quick left-handed pitch to Mark Ingram, who ran past his blocking escorts around left guard and bolted into the end zone with 9:38 left in the half, pulling the Saints into a tie at 14.

Then, to further emphasize the mind-set, the Saints did it again on their next drive. Facing fourth-and-goal from the Rams' 1 – after taking possession at the 10, courtesy of a sack and forced fumble by defensive tackle Sheldon Rankinsand fumble recovery by defensive end Paul Kruger– the Saints at least called timeout this time.

But the offense again stayed on the field, and Brees took the snap and leapt high over the top, extending the football across the plane of the goal line for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:46 left in the half.

Those two plays gave New Orleans a 21-14 lead but, more, they were Exhibits A and B to players that the Saints were going big, that the mind-set was to throw knockdown rights instead of chip-away jabs. And the Saints, on Sunday, landed quite a few of them.

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