Smith rushes for 100 yards, throws TD pass

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Old man Emmitt isn't ready for the rockin'
chair yet.

Emmitt Smith earned another NFL record with his 77th 100-yard
rushing game -- and threw the first pass of his 15-year pro career.
It went for a touchdown, no less, in Arizona's stunning 34-10
beating of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

The NFL's career rushing leader had his best game since leaving
Dallas two years ago, gaining 127 yards on 21 carries to help give
Dennis Green his first victory as Cardinals coach.

Smith, six months past his 35th birthday, tied Walter Payton's
record for most 100-yard games in an NFL career.

"It means more to win right now than anything," said Smith,
who has seen the Cardinals go 5-15 since he signed with them as a
free agent before the 2003 season.

It was his first 100-yard game since Thanksgiving 2002, when he
did it for Dallas against Washington.

"Growing up in Texas and watching the guy my whole life, just
to hand the ball to him was awesome," Arizona's Josh McCown said.
"It was an honor, and hopefully there's more of that to come."

Smith is the first NFL player to gain more than 100 yards past
the age of 35 since Marcus Allen for Kansas City against Oakland
on Dec. 3, 1995.

"So much is said: 'He doesn't have this left. He doesn't have
that left,'" McCown said. "You could have fooled me today."

Smith passed the 100 mark Sunday with a 29-yard touchdown burst
up the middle to seal the victory with 5:02 to play.

"Nothing out there but open grass? All I have to do is run?"
Smith said. "I just picked up my wheelchair and pushed myself on
into the end zone."

But it was his wobbly 21-yard touchdown pass to fullback Obafemi
Ayanbadejo with his gloved hand late in the first half he probably
will remember most.

"I don't want to throw the ball ever again," Smith said. "If
I throw another pass, I want to throw to my son and let him catch

Smith ran right, then pulled up and lobbed a pass to Ayanbadejo,
who fell across the goal line for the score that put Arizona up
14-3 at the half against the mistake-prone Saints (2-2).

The Cardinals (1-3) rushed for 211 yards, all but two in the
final three quarters in their most one-sided victory since beating
the Los Angeles Rams 38-10 on Dec. 5, 1993.

Troy Hambrick, who became the Dallas starter when Smith left and
is his backup again, gained 79 yards on 16 carries, including an
11-yard TD run Sunday.

After the first quarter, Arizona outgained New Orleans 369-147.

"I think the offense is starting to show some signs of putting
four wheels on the ground," Green said.

With temperatures in the mid-90s, and the Saints playing
outdoors for the first time this season, Smith thought the
Cardinals wore the visitors down.

"You're making these guys run around and chase you. By the
third or fourth quarter, you should have the big runs that you saw
Troy and myself have," Smith said.

Adrian Wilson returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown and
Neil Rackers kicked field goals of 26 and 33 yards for Arizona.

New Orleans' Mel Mitchell blocked one punt, and recovered
another for a touchdown. It was the first time the Saints had
turned a blocked punt into a TD in 27 years. But otherwise it was
an ugly day for the visitors.

The Saints won a week ago in the deafening Edward Jones Dome in
St. Louis, but they were awful in mostly empty Sun Devil Stadium,
where 28,109 tickets were distributed for Sunday's game. New
Orleans was penalized 12 times for 104 yards, many of them costly.

"The offense, I thought, was bad all day," coach Jim Haslett
said, "killing us with penalties, and then we had three or four
dropped balls by receivers."

Aaron Brooks completed his first four passes as the Saints drove
from their 20 to inside the Arizona 1 to start the game. On third
down at the 9, Brooks scrambled and was drilled at the goal line by
James Darling. On fourth-and-goal, Brooks attempted a sneak, but he
lost the ball and Arizona's Gerald Hayes recovered for a touchback.

"I tried to dive in very quick because the linebacker was
playing real off," Brooks said. "I mishandled it. I take the

The Saints' history of inconsistent performances are taking a
toll on Brooks, who hinted he was about fed up with the

"I know that I'm the leader of all of this, but I'm tired of
it," he said. "I have to sit back and re-evaluate my situation
here in New Orleans. I am going to keep fighting until that change

Asked what he meant, Brooks declined to elaborate.

Game notes
The Cardinals' offense started moving when tackle L.J.
Shelton and guard Jeremy Bridges were substituted into the game on
the right side of the line. ... Arizona kickoff return specialist
Josh Scobey left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury.
... Saints wide receiver Jerome Pathon was inactive with a
hamstring injury.

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