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“You start thinking about the winning feeling and you start feeling like you’re close to a win,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “Then when it gets taken away, it’s just frustrating.”

New Orleans has won six of seven with a high-powered offense finally finding its stride. The Saints have scored at least 30 points in each of the last four games, reminiscent of their Lombardi Trophy season last year. The resurgence has been led by Brees, who’s back in form after a ragged start.

Manning threw for 21,734 yards in 11 seasons. Brees has topped it in five years with the Saints, leading them to their first title. On Sunday, he put together his 14th regular-season comeback.

Brees‘ 42-yard pass to Robert Meachem moved the Saints into field-goal range and set the stage for the last-minute, will-they-or-won’t-they drama on fourth down that made Sims flinch.

Brees finished 24 of 29 for 313 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a big-play offense. The Saints had five plays that went for at least 42 yards. Brees also had a 52-yard touchdown pass to Meachem. Chris Ivory carried 15 times for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a season-high 55-yard score.

Notes: Saints RB Reggie Bush played his second game since returning from a broken right leg that sidelined him for eight games. He carried five times for 26 yards and caught three passes for no gain. … RB Pierre Thomas missed his ninth straight game with a sprained left ankle. … The Saints secured their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1991-92. … New Orleans went 7-1 on the road last season. It’s 5-1 on the road this year. … The Bengals lost 10 straight games in 1993 and nine straight in 1998. The club record is 11 straight, including the last game of 1992 and the first 10 in ‘93. … Jermaine Gresham set a Bengals record for catches by a rookie tight end with 47.