Saints vs. Rams: Score, Recap & Highlights

jimmy graham

Jimmy Graham and Co. are on the field for the first time. (Getty)

Final Score: Saints 26, Rams 24

For a preseason game, this one sure had a lot of action.

Friday’s opener between the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams included plenty of offense despite neither team’s starting quarterback taking a snap.

It included a historic appearance by Michael Sam, impressive passing displays by both teams, and finally, an extremely inopportune intentional grounding call that allowed New Orleans to escape with a 26-24 win.

Here’s how it went down:

Michael Sam Made a Tackle in His NFL Debut

Michael Sam tackle, Khiry Robinson

Michael Sam brings down Khiry Robinson for his first career NFL tackle. (Getty)

It wasn’t a surprise, but it was a historic moment nevertheless: Sam entered the game at defensive end with 5 minutes left in the first quarter, becoming the first openly gay player to play in an NFL game.

He made an impact shortly after with his first career tackle when he brought down the Saints’ Khiry Robinson.

A Bizarre Intentional Grounding Call Cost the Rams a Chance to Win It

Chalk this up as a blunder meant for the preseason: Greg Zuerlein was lined up for a 49-yard field goal with 11 seconds left that would have given St. Louis a come-from-behind win. But Rams quarterback Austin Davis botched the spiking of the ball and got called from intentional grounding, drawing a 10-yard penalty and a 10-second runoff.

That left Zuerlein in the unenviable position of attempting a 59-yard field goal with the game on the line. The field goal missed, giving New Orleans a 2-point win.

Brandin Cooks Scored His 1st Career Touchdown

Rookie wideout Brandin Cooks caught his first touchdown pass as a pro, giving New Orleans some breathing room. St. Louis later scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Austin Davis to Austin Franklin to make it 26-24. St. Louis had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Greg Zuerlein’s 46-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.

Derek Dimke Came on in Relief & Gave the Saints the Lead

Is there a legitimate kicking controversy in New Orleans? Derek Dimke came in for Shayne Graham and kicked a 37-yard field goal — a distance 4 yards longer than the 33-yard extra point Graham missed — to give New Orleans a 19-17 lead, the game’s fifth lead change.

Mark Ingram’s Touchdown Put the Saints on Top, but the Rams Took the Lead Into the Half

Mark Ingram scored from 22 yards out to give the Saints the lead, and Shayne Graham made it 2 out of 3 on extra points, putting New Orleans on top 16-14 with just over 2 minutes left in the first half. But a false start on the Rams didn’t prevent Greg Zuerlein from kicking a 45-yard field goal at the end of the half to put St. Louis on top by a point.

Shaun Hill Hit Stedman Bailey for a Touchdown

Shaun Hill’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey capped a 5-play, 71-yard scoring drive and put St. Louis up 14-9 with 5:59 left in the first half.

The Experiment With Longer Extra Points Got its First Casualty

Kyrie Robinson scored from 2 yards out to give the Saints a 9-7 lead about mid-way through the first quarter, but what happened next was more interesting: Shayne Graham missed the extra point — the first time the league’s experiment with longer extra points led to a miss.

Shaun Hill Hit Cory Harkey to Put the Rams on the Board

Hill hit Cory Harkey to give St. Louis an early lead. The Saints got on the board later in the quarter on a Shayne Graham field goal to make it 7-3.

Pregame Buzz

Preseason or not, there was a buzz on the field — and on Twitter — as the teams readied for kickoff.

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