ST. LOUIS (AP) -At least for now, Scott Linehan has silenced his critics, including a little one under his own roof.
More than two months into the season, the St. Louis Rams finally got a win with Sunday's 37-29 victory at New Orleans. Perhaps it was some bye week advice from Marcus Linehan, the coach's 7-year-old son, that helped.
``He said, 'Dad, why don't you make game plans that work?''' Linehan said with a laugh Monday.
Laughs have been hard to come by this season at Rams Park. Some picked St. Louis as a dark horse Super Bowl contender after an offseason that included the signings of tight end Randy McMichael and wide receiver Drew Bennett.
Instead, it's been an injury-plagued disaster. The Rams' 0-8 start was the worst in franchise history - in Cleveland, Los Angeles or St. Louis.
But against the Saints, the Rams (1-8) were dominant for three quarters, then held on for dear life.
Linehan relished the win, but was realistic about what it meant.
``It's what it is, it's one win,'' Linehan said. ``We've still got the record we have. But it does give us confidence in that we're treating this as a second season for us, an eight-game season.''
A road game against red-hot New Orleans seemed an unlikely place to turn things around. The Saints followed last season's NFC championship game appearance with an 0-4 start, then won four straight to get back in the playoff race.
Marc Bulger threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt glided to open spots in the secondary, reminiscent of the team's glory days from 1999 through 2001, when the Mike Martz-led Rams scored 500-plus points each season.
It was a far cry from the first eight games, when St. Louis ranked last in scoring. In fact, the Rams were averaging less than five points per road game before Sunday.
``You start making your shot and the rim gets bigger and bigger,'' Linehan said. ``The same thing happens in football.''
It helped that the bye week allowed time for the banged-up Rams to heal. Bulger, who missed time earlier this season with broken ribs, was 27-for-33. Running back Steven Jackson, who missed a month with a partially torn groin muscle, carried 22 times for 76 yards and even threw a touchdown pass on a gadget play.
Then there were the intangibles. On Saturday night, equipment staff members visited a voodoo queen as part of an effort to erase the 0-8 hex. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who coached the Saints from 2000 to 2005, addressed the Rams before the game and at halftime. He didn't deny the win had special meaning for him.
``To sit there and lie to you and say it wasn't important - it was important,'' Haslett said.
Haslett's schemes likely played a bigger role than his talk. For three quarters, the Rams blitzed constantly: 16 of the first 18 plays on defense were blitzes.
When the blitzing stopped after St. Louis went up 34-7, opting instead for a prevent defense, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees led three fourth-quarter scoring drives that made it close. The drama ended when the Rams recovered an onside kick in the final minute.
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