- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2002

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) The New Orleans Saints wouldn't go away, even when it appeared they would be blown out. That's why they're still unbeaten.
"You never want to put yourself in that kind of a hole, but with the way we can score, we don't think we're out of it," quarterback Aaron Brooks said after the Saints rallied from a 20-0 deficit to beat the Chicago Bears 29-23 yesterday.
"It's tough when you're down 20-0, especially in the NFL," Brooks said. "We were lucky we didn't get blown out. We could have been down 28-0 at the half."
Instead, the Saints (3-0) got back in the game by scoring two touchdowns in a 58-second span in the second quarter and pulled it out when Donte Stallworth made a great move to score on a 29-yard pass from Brooks with 1:11 left in the game.
Sammy Knight then stopped a last-second Bears drive by intercepting a pass by Jim Miller at the goal line, turning away Chicago (2-1), which had won its 12 previous games decided by a touchdown or less.
"It shouldn't have come down to the way it did," Miller said. "The play didn't develop. If you let it develop any longer the clock runs out, so either I've got to throw it out of the end zone or throw it quick."
On the winning drive, Brooks had a 14-yard scramble and threw an 11-yard pass to Joe Horn to get to the Bears 31. On second down, Stallworth caught the pass near the sideline, got around defensive back Reggie Austin and coasted into the end zone to make it 27-23. Brooks then ran in for two points.
"They left me one-on-one on the corner, and I got past him and then I wasn't stopping. I kind of knew he was going to miss his tackle because he jumped way outside," Stallworth said.
"He was my man. He ran an out route, and I missed the tackle," said Austin, who had an interception in his first career start. "I have to make that tackle. Nine times out of 10, I make that play."
The Bears drove to the Saints 18 when Miller threw a 19-yard pass to Marty Booker and, after using his final timeout, an 18-yarder to Dez White. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Miller threw into a crowd at the front of the end zone, and Knight intercepted with two seconds remaining.
Trailing 20-0 after a host of mistakes, the Saints quickly regrouped with the two TDs, the second coming after Chicago's Leon Johnson fumbled a kickoff.
"We came in at halftime down 20-14, and the guys knew we were going to win the game," New Orleans coach Jim Haslett said.
The Saints finally took the lead with an 84-yard drive opening the second half. Brooks threw a 24-yard pass to Jerome Pathon and capped the march with a five-yard pass to Horn.
Paul Edinger's third field goal, a 25-yarder with 8:47 left, gave Chicago a 23-21 lead before Brooks led the Saints on the seven-play, 73-yard drive.


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