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October 6, 2009

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Saints win battle of unbeaten NFL teams

THE New Orleans Saints turned to their defence to hand the New York Jets a convincing 24-10 defeat in a clash of unbeaten NFL teams on Sunday.

Darren Sharper intercepted a pass then sprinted 99 yards for a touchdown while Remi Ayodele grabbed a fumble for another touchdown for the Saints (4-0), who established a 17-0 lead in the second quarter that they never relinquished.

"Those were outstanding and, quite obviously, very big plays," Saints coach Sean Payton said.

"I think he's got a pretty good presence," the head coach added about Sharper's interception. "He watches the eyes of the quarterback. He made a real good play on that."

The physical play of the Saints also impressed Payton. "We won the turnover battle and that's generally a key to be in the win column," he said.

Neither the Saints' Drew Brees nor Jets' rookie Mark Sanchez threw a touchdown pass.

"Give all the credit to our defence," said Brees, the Saints' veteran quarterback who completed 20 of 32 passes for 190 yards.

"We wanted to run the ball effectively, keep our defence on the sideline and manage the ball and not turn it over.

"We were balanced and did what we needed to do to win," Brees said.

John Carney kicked a first-quarter field goal and Pierre Thomas scored on a one-yard run for New Orleans in the fourth to wrap up the win.

The Jets' (3-1) points came from Jay Feely's second quarter field goal and Thomas Jones' third quarter 15-yard touchdown run. Sanchez, who had guided the Jets to their three early wins, was intercepted three times and finished with 138 yards passing.

In Denver, Champ Bailey knocked away a potential tying touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Sam Hurd with one second left, giving the Broncos their first 4-0 start since 2003 with their 17-10 victory over the Cowboys.

In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes on fast-starting Pittsburgh's first two drives, Rashard Mendenhall surpassed his previous career total with 165 yards rushing and two scores and the Steelers opened a 28-point lead, then held on for a 38-28 win.

In other action, it was: 49ers 35, Rams 0; Dolphins 38, Bills 10; Patriots 27, Ravens 21; Bengals 23, Browns 20, OT; Jaguars 37, Titans 17; Colts 34, Seahawks 17; Giants 27, Chiefs 16; Bears 48, Lions 24; Redskins 16, Buccaneers 13; and Texans 29, Raiders 6.


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