Saints Notes 11/7
Saints Notes: Benson stays away
Advocate staff report
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson made good on his pledge not to attend his team's game against Chicago on Sunday in Tiger Stadium.
Benson sent an email to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue saying he would not attend any more games in Baton Rouge because he felt threatened after an altercation with a fan while leaving the 24-6 loss to Miami last Sunday at Tiger Stadium.
A photographer for a New Orleans television station caught part of the altercation on tape, prompting Benson to rip the microphone off the camera.
After the email became public last Wednesday, Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said the e-mail was an emotional response to the altercation and that Benson had not made a final decision on whether to attend the game. But eventually Benson did stay away.
Benson's granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, who is an owner of the team and Benson's heir apparent, attended the game, which the Saints lost, 20-17.
It was the first Saints game Benson has missed since Nov. 23, 2003, when he missed a game against Philadelphia because his wife, Grace, had died a few days earlier.
When Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks hooked up with wide receiver DontÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â© Stallworth on a 15-yard scoring pass with 9:57 to play in the second quarter, it ended a string of eight consecutive quarters without a touchdown.
The TD drought covered 130 minutes and 3 seconds of clock time as their last touchdown came with 5:00 to play in the first period of a 28-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 23. In the ensuing eight-plus quarters, their only points came on four field goals.
Bears backup RBs Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson took over the running game when starter Thomas Jones left with a rib injury after rushing for 40 yards on 11 carries. Benson rushed for 79 yards on 14 carries and Peterson had 58 yards and a TD on six carries.
Play of the day
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs stopped Aaron Stecker for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 from the New Orleans 21 late in the fourth quarter. The Saints punted and Chicago drove to the winning field goal.
The Saints forced three turnovers, all in the first half, but didn't score any points off of them.
Saints kicker John Carney, a 16-year veteran, climbed one spot on the NFL's all-time scoring list for the second straight week. Carney kicked a field goal and two extra points and now has 1,595 points, moving him ahead of former Detroit Lions kicker Eddie Murray. A former Tulane star, Murray had 1,594 points.
Carney will likely move up one more spot this season as he needs 14 more points to pass Lou "The Toe" Groza (1,608 points) for seventh place.
After playing 13 games in 13 weeks, counting four exhibition games, the Saints will have a bye next week. The players will do conditioning work today and will practice Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, then get Thursday through Sunday off. Their next game is on Nov. 19 at New England.
The Saints' inactives were TE Ernie Conwell, TE Shad Meier, S Siddeeq Shabazz, CB Joey Thomas, LB T.J. Slaughter, T Ben Archibald, and DT Rodney Leisle. Adrian McPherson was the third quarterback.
Because of injuries to Conwell (knee) and Meier (hip contusion), tight end Zach Hilton started for only the second time in his three-year NFL career. Lamont Hall was the backup and guard Jamar Nesbit came in as an extra tight end on short-yardage situations.
Saints WR Nate Poole injured his right knee and left the locker room on crutches. He will have an MRI today, as will MLB Courtney Watson, who injured his knee in the second half.
Brooks extended to 29 his streak of consecutive games with a completion of at least 25 yards with a 42-yard completion to Poole in the third quarter. That's the longest current streak in the NFL. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green is next on the list with 19 straight contests. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ Antowain Smith's 42-yard run on the second play of the game was New Orleans' longest rushing play of the season. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ The Saints and Bears have played on three college campuses. They met at old Tulane Stadium in 1968, 1970 and 1973, and at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium in 2002 when Soldier Field was being renovated.
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