Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/18/12
OAKLAND -- Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes, leading the red-hot New Orleans Saints to their third consecutive victory Sunday, a 38-17 rout of the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Saints improved to 5-5 and continued their climb back into playoff contention after an 0-4 start. The Raiders continued streaking in the wrong direction, losing their third straight game and falling to 3-7. Rookie coach Dennis Allen, who won a Super Bowl during his five-year stint as a Saints assistant coach, lost to his former team. Brees threw a touchdown pass in his 53rd straight game, an ongoing NFL record. He connected on scoring strikes of 38 and 15 yards to wide receiver Lance Moore and hit tight end Jimmy Graham with a 1-yard touchdown pass. Brees completed 20 of 27 passes for 219 yards. He threw no interceptions and compiled a 134.6 passer rating. He beat the Raiders for the seventh straight time -- the first five in that streak as a member of the San Diego Chargers. Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins scored on a 55-yard interception return, picking off a Carson Palmer pass in the first quarter. Running back Mark Ingram scored on a 27-yard run in the third quarter. Raiders fullback Marcel Reece, starting at running back for the injured Darren McFadden, rushed for a career-high 103 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for 90 yards. Palmer had a rough day, completing 22 of 40 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns, racking up much of his passing yardage after the game was out of hand. He was intercepted twice and had a passer rating of 76.2. Palmer was sacked three times. The Saints grabbed a quick 14-0 lead, and they held a 21-7 advantage at halftime. On their first possession of the game, the Saints drove 80 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown, Brees hitting a wide-open Graham in the right corner of the end zone with a 1-yard pass. Brees went 5-for-6 for 41 yards on the drive. The Saints made it 14-0 lead with 4:06 left in the first on Jenkins' long interception return of a Palmer pass intended for tight end Brandon Myers. On Oakland's next possession, Palmer marched the Raiders to a first-and-goal at the New Orleans 1. Reece lost a yard on first down, and then rookie wide receiver Rod Streater was penalized 10 yards for pass interference. On third-and-goal from the 7, Palmer zipped a pass that deflected off Myers and directly to strong safety Roman Harper in the end zone for a touchback. The Raiders finally scored with 4:10 left in half on Palmer's 1-yard pass to Myers, capping a four-play, 81-yard drive that included a 56-yard pass to Reece. That score cut the Saints' lead to 14-7, but New Orleans struck again with 48 seconds left in half on Brees' 38-yard touchdown toss to Moore. Moore beat cornerback Michael Huff on a post route, and Brees threw a strike while taking a hit from Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston. The Saints quickly ended all doubt early in the third quarter. Travaris Cadet returned the half-opening kickoff 75 yards to the Raiders' 27, and on first down, Ingram swept around left end for a score that put the Saints ahead 28-7. Sebastian Janikowski's 40-yard field cut Oakland's deficit to 28-10 with 10:22 left in the third, but Brees' 15-yard touchdown pass to Moore increased the margin to 35-7 with 3:26 left in the period. Garrett Hartley added a 47-yard field goal for New Orleans in the fourth quarter. Raiders rookie wide receiver Juron Criner made his first career touchdown catch, on a 3-yard toss from Palmer, late in the fourth. NOTES: Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch's streak of 57 starts ended Sunday. He was inactive due to a neck injury he suffered at Baltimore. Mike Mitchell started in his place. ... Raiders right tackle Khalif Barnes returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous seven games with a groin injury that required surgery. Willie Smith, who started for Barnes, was inactive. Tony Bergstrom suited up as the backup. ... Raiders running backs McFadden and Mike Goodson missed their second straight games with high ankle sprains. Oakland defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) also was inactive. ... Saints running back Darren Sproles, who practiced this week, was inactive because of a broken hand, missing his third straight game. ... New Orleans' Charles Brown started at right tackle for the injured Zach Strief (groin), who was inactive. Brown suffered a knee injury in second quarter. ... Saints cornerback Elbert Mack took a knee to the helmet from a teammate, defensive end Will Smith, late in the fourth quarter and came out of the game.
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