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Saints confident after comeback win

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Defensive end Charles Grant hopes the New Orleans Saints' comeback win over St. Louis will set the tone for the rest of the season.

After falling behind 25-22 with 28 seconds remaining, New Orleans rallied for a 28-25 overtime victory Sunday - a win that boosted the Saints' confidence.

"Unity, that's what it shows," Grant said. "Unity of a team coming together. Twenty-eight seconds and you think the game's over. But the offense goes back out there and gets us in field goal range and we just dominated them in overtime. It was an all-around team effort."

With running back Deuce McAllister sidelined with a high ankle sprain, Aaron Stecker filled in with 106 yards rushing on 18 carries. Stecker was picked up as a free agent from Tampa Bay, and while he was expected to be McAllister's backup, coach Jim Haslett knew he could run effectively if needed.

"I'm more impressed with the way he pass protected and ran routes and caught the ball, than I am running." Haslett said. "Because I've seen him run. I know what kind of runner he is."

Stecker also had four receptions for 20 yards.

Aaron Brooks threw for 316 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions, but it was the quarterback's poise and leadership that impressed Haslett. He led the tying drive to set up John Carney's 38-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in regulation, then helped New Orleans move into position for Carney's 31-yarder in overtime.

"I think Aaron's production has been pretty good since he's been here," Haslett said. "He's making really good decisions with the football. He got a lot of really big plays."

Haslett said Brooks' familiarity with the Saints' offense has helped.

"This is his fourth year starting in this system under the same coordinator," Haslett said.

New Orleans held the Rams to 78 yards rushing and pressured quarterback Marc Bulger, who was sacked five times.

Grant had three of the sacks, and said the win was exactly what the Saints needed.

"It was a great victory," Grant said. "The best one we've had. We stayed together as a team and got a victory as the whole unit. I think that's an outstanding job." Notes: The Saints came out of the game with only one serious injury. Wide receiver Talman Gardner has a high ankle sprain. It's not as bad as the one McAllister has, but will probably keep Gardner out of Sunday's game at Arizona. ... McAllister is still wearing a boot, Haslett said. He walked briefly without it on Saturday, but will still miss several games.

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