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Saints rising going into bye week

– If the New Orleans Saints can salvage this season, they may look back at their second-half performance against the San Diego Chargers as the turning point.

The Saints won 31-24, their first win of the season.

Drew Brees’ touchdown passes to Marques Colston showed the offense still has the punch to mount a comeback – without suspended coach Sean Payton overseeing the unit. Even the Saints’ defense started to look like it was figuring out how its personnel best fits the scheme of first-year coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

“We’re definitely on the rise,” New Orleans interim coach Aaron Kromer said Monday. “We need to keep it going.”

Brees’ 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson in the first quarter eclipsed the mark of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas set from 1956 to 1960.

A big question is whether the Saints’ defense will build on its performance against the Chargers when it returns from the bye week or revert back to the mistakes that plagued the unit in New Orleans’ first four losses.

New Orleans, last in the NFL in yards allowed, gave up 288 yards to San Diego in the first half. The defense still appeared lifeless when the Chargers cruised into the end zone to go ahead 24-14 following a turnover to start the second half.

After that, however, a transformation took place.

The Saints shut out San Diego, allowing only 113 yards the rest of the way, and New Orleans rallied to win 31-24.

In the fourth quarter, New Orleans sacked Chargers QB Philip Rivers three times and intercepted him once.

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