Saints went marching out
Robert Bailey capped a record-setting day for special teams with a stunning punt return of 103 yards for the Los Angeles Rams yesterday.
With the New Orleans Saints leading 37-27 and 4:08 left in the game, Tommy Barnhardt's punt bounced close to the back line of the end zone, then rolled forward without being touched.
"No one touched the ball and it was still a live ball," Bailey said.
"When I looked back everybody was walking off the field. The ball was still rolling, I knew it was still alive. I just picked it up and started running."
Bailey scooped it up and ran down the field, through both special teams and players from the offense and defense trotting onto the field.
"I was running on the field and saw him trotting by," said Saints linebacker Sam Mills. "I started yelling that someone should stop him, but I didn't really believe it. By that time I was out there, their offense was out there, our defense was out there. All we needed were the band and the cheerleaders."
The Saints watched Bailey run without trying to stop him.
"All our players came off the field saying they heard a whistle," Saints coach Jim Mora said.
The punt record beat the old mark of 98 yards set by four others.
In all, the Saints and Rams had 688 yards and three touchdowns by special teams.
Scott Mitchell, whom the Lions signed as a free agent rather than keep Kramer, was 6-for-17 for 59 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Rison misses the bus. . . .
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison missed the team bus from the hotel and did not play until the second quarter. He had just two catches, his second coming with less than two minutes left and the game decided.
Atlanta actually was successful without Rison, scoring 10 points on its two possessions before Rison entered the game.
Rison, who has caught at least one pass in 54 straight games, made his first reception late in the third quarter and his second and final catch on Atlanta's final possession.
. . . . Worley misses the plane
Reserve Chicago running back Tim Worley missed the team plane and was not at the Silverdome for the Bears' loss to the Detroit Lions.
"Tim's at home. Our people have talked to him, but I don't want to say anything else until I meet with him tomorrow," Chicago coach Dave Wannstedt said.
Worley was suspended for six games in 1991 after twice testing positive for cocaine. The NFL also suspended Worley from April 1992 to May 1993 after he skipped two mandatory drug tests.
A rare 'double-double'
Cleveland's Eric Metcalf has returned two punts for touchdowns in two consecutive years. He's the first player to do that since Kansas City's J.T. Smith in 1979-80.
There were 13,800 tickets remaining for the Saints-Rams game, and scalpers were getting as little as $2 outside the 70,000-seat Louisiana Superdome. All five of the Saints' home games have been blacked out in New Orleans.