Rams' Quinn busts out of two-game sack slump

News-DemocratDecember 15, 2013 

— Defensive end Robert Quinn had gone two games without a sack, but he broke out of that slump in a big way.

Quinn had two sacks and forced two turnovers in the St. Louis Rams' 27-16 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

"When you go sackless, it's frustrating, but you just keep chipping away at the offensive linemen trying to get to the quarterback," Quinn said.

Quinn also was a factor in Saints left tackle Charles Brown getting called for holding and an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalties during the first half.

The Saints ended up moving right tackle Zach Strief to left tackle in the third quarter in an effort to contain Quinn.

"I saw enough," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "I saw enough, period. It was enough penalties, pressures, sacks. At some point you can't just keep watching it."

Quinn got to quarterback Drew Brees on the Saints' first offensive play. He got a piece of Brees as he was throwing, causing his pass intended for tight end Jimmy Graham to be a little underthrown.

"I came inside, and he kind of stepped up," Quinn said. "I barely got a hand on him, but it was enough where he really couldn't step into the throw."

Safety T.J. McDonald cut in front of Graham and picked off the pass for his first career interception.

The takeaway led to a touchdown and 7-0 lead for the Rams.

"I'm glad he made an interception and got us off the field fast, and the offense scored a touchdown," Quinn said. "That sums how the game kind of turned out today."

The Rams were able to disrupt the Saints high-powered offense by getting pressure on Brees, who was sacked four times and intercepted twice.

"You saw it at the end of the game where he was moving the ball down the field like crazy, so we definitely have to keep him rattled where he can't do that," Quinn said.

Defensive end Chris Long said the Saints were focusing on containing Quinn and him.

"Rob, in my opinion, is the best pass-rushing defensive end in the league," Long said. "They are always going to have to account for him. Today, they decided that were going to try and take us away, but they couldn't take Rob away. That's hard to do."

Quinn now has an NFC-leading 15 sacks on the season. He's also forced an NFL-leading eight fumbles.

"He needs to be up for defensive player of the year in my opinion," Long said. "He makes everybody better around him."

Austin sits out

The Rams were playing without wide receiver Tavon Austin, who was inactive after being unable to practice this week.

With Austin out, the Rams got contributions from other sources like Austin Pettis, who led the team in receiving with four catches for 41 yards, tight ends Corey Harkey and Lance Kendricks, who both caught touchdown passes, and Stedman Bailey, who had two catches for 26 yards.

"Corey has been really reliable in the run game, and also very reliable as a receiver out of the backfield and down the field," Fisher said. "He understands what to do and he made a big play for us today.

"'Sted' made a couple of big plays for us as well. (Pettis) keep drives alive. Again, everybody contributed."

Quick hits

Also inactive for the Rams were: Guard Harvey Dahl (knee), running back Daryl Richardson (thigh), cornerback Quinton Pointer, guard Brandon Washington, guard-tackle Mike Person and defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo.

* Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (back) was active. He was credited with six tackles and two passes defensed.

* Trumaine Johnson's interception in the first quarter was Saints quarterback Drew Brees' first interception in the red zone since the 2011 season.

* Rams defensive tackle Matt Conrath registered his first career sack in the first quarter.

* Former Rams quarterback Marc Bulger was introduced to the crowd in the first quarter. Bulger threw for 22,814 yards in nine seasons with the Rams from 2000 to 2009.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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