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Defense Shines as Saints Win Third Straight, 31-7

Stacy Revere/Getty Images Sport

The Arizona Cardinals marched down the field with the opening kickoff to take an early 7-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday afternoon.

That was all they got.

The Saints defense came up big the rest of the way, holding Arizona scoreless the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, Drew Brees threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns, plus scored another himself as the Saints handled the Cardinals 31-7.

TE Jimmy Graham had his second straight fine performance, catching nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Alfonso Smith scored from three yards out for the early lead, but the Saints answered right back on the following drive, with Brees hitting Robert Meachum from 27 yards out to tie the score.

The two defenses took over for the rest of the half, until Brees hit Graham for a 16 yard score to give the Saints a 14-7 lead at the half.

After a Garrett Hartley field goal made the score 17-7 in the third quarter, the Saints got two fourth quarter touchdowns, as Brees ran the ball in from seven yards out and then hit Graham with a seven yard pass with 5:25 left to end the scoring.

The Saints had minus four yards rushing at the half, but ended with 103.  Rookie Khiry Robinson led the way with 38 yards on just four carries, all coming in the fourth quarter.  Pierre Thomas had 28 yards on eleven carries, while Brees added 21 on six rushes.

Marcus Colston was the second leading receiver with 71 yards on five catches.

Carson Palmer was harrassed by the Saints defense all afternoon.  He was sacked four times and intercepted twice.  The Saints held Arizona to 247 yards of offense.  Kenny Vaccaro and Keenan Lewis had the interceptions for the Saints.

New Orleans hosts Miami next Monday night at the Dome.

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