Droughns rushes for 166 yards

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Another blowout loss left Saints owner Tom
Benson furious and wondering whether his team belonged in the NFL.

Reuben Droughns rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown, Jake
Plummer threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, and the Denver
Broncos manhandled the Saints 34-13 on Sunday.

The Broncos were up 20-0 after the first quarter, when they had
185 yards of offense to 55 for the Saints. New Orleans had only two
first downs in the quarter and 1 yard rushing.

"It's the worst performance I've seen by them in the 20 years
that I've owned them," Benson said. "They looked just like high
school kids."

Benson made a pitch Wednesday for the state to renovate the
Superdome and pay the team millions of dollars until 2020 to keep
it in Louisiana.

The Broncos (7-3), AFC West leaders, have gone 12-12 to close
out the last three seasons, but looked strong coming off their bye
week. Denver had 389 yards in total offense and held the Saints to
one touchdown.

"We knew coming off the bye week that we'd have to get the job
done and have to step it up in the second half of the season,"
Droughns said. "So far, so good."

New Orleans (4-6) has dropped five of its last seven games,
mainly because of a defense that is allowing almost 30 points a
game -- second-most in the NFL -- and the most total yards.

The game was the second straight to be blacked out locally,
although the team announced both as sellouts. The crowd, small from
the start, left early and booed the Saints from the opening

The New Orleans offense took most of the jeers. It has started
each game slowly, tallying a league-low 10 points in the first
quarter. All of those points came in a 30-27 win over the 49ers in
Week 2.

"It's disappointing because we talked about getting the lead
and starting fast," Haslett said. "We didn't do either."

When asked about Benson's comment, Haslett said only that the
owner could say what he wanted.

Aaron Brooks set team records for completions and attempts,
going 34-of-60 for 377 yards. He was intercepted three times and
spent much of the game dodging Denver defenders. He was sacked

Deuce McAllister, who had at least one rushing TD in each of the
last four games, rushed for 42 yards and was held scoreless. He
also had 11 receptions for 87 yards.

"It's frustrating," McAllister said. "That's probably the
only way I can describe it. When you can't move the ball, can't get
a first down, and you go three-and-out; you're basically putting
yourself in a hole from the get-go."

It took the Broncos 10 seconds to go up 7-0, when Droughns ran
51 yards for the score. Droughns ended with his fifth 100-yard game
of the season.

On their second possession, the Broncos took three plays to
score. Plummer hit Ashley Lelie with a 37-yard touchdown pass to
make it 14-0. On their third possession, the Broncos settled for a
48-yard field goal, but Michael Lewis fumbled the ball on the
ensuing kickoff, and Denver took over on the New Orleans 34. That
set up a 34-yard field goal to give the Broncos a 20-0
first-quarter lead.

"It's a big win on the road to start out the second half of the
season," Plumber said. "November and December, you know, the
teams that win today you'll see are the teams that are making a
push for the playoffs."

New Orleans drove to the Denver 1-yard line in the second
quarter, but a penalty for having too many men on the field backed
the Saints up 5 yards and they settled for a 24-yard field goal to
make it 20-3.

Denver failed to score on its first possession on the second
quarter. The Broncos made up for it when Al Wilson intercepted a
pass that Brooks tossed as he was being sacked at the goal line.
Wilson returned it 7 yards to make it 27-3.

The Saints finally found the end zone in the second quarter when
Brooks threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Daunte' Stallworth. John
Carney kicked a 36-yard field goal to cut Denver's lead to 27-13 at

The Broncos stretched their lead to 34-13 less than a minute
into the fourth quarter, when Plummer threw a 19-yard scoring pass
to Kyle Johnson.
Game notes
Denver K Jason Elam has scored at least one point in each
of his 182 career games, third longest streak in NFL history. ...
Saints kicker John Carney's seven points gave him a total of 1,506,
making him the ninth player in league history to post 1,500 points.
... Plummer has been sacked just seven times this season -- none on
Sunday. Brooks has been sacked 20 times.<


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