ST. LOUIS — Stump Mitchell rushed for 158 yards and scored three touchdowns as the St. Louis Cardinals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 28-16 victory over the New Orleans Saints Sunday.
Mitchell, who carried 28 times, scored on runs of five and 16 yards and caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Neil Lomax.
Only 29,257 watched the Cardinals (5-9) win for the second time in the last 10 weeks. The Saints are also 5-9.
Lomax and some of the other Cardinals thought new knee-length maroon stockings may have helped turn things around. "I don't know where they got these things, but I think I'm going to wear them from now on" Lomax said.
But Mitchell, who scored three touchdowns for the first time in his career, thought there was another reason for the turnaround. "It was all to the credit of the offensive linemen," he said. "They opened the holes, and I just followed them.
"It was probably our best day. We didn't make mistakes. For once, we got out in front and stayed there."
Mitchell, a 5-9, 188-pounder in his fifth year out of The Citadel, started a fifth straight game in place of injured Ottis Anderson.
Said Lomax: "That Mitchell, he's amazing. You ask him to make four yards and he gets five, six or seven. Today was fun. It put the fun in football back out there for a lot of guys."
Lomax complemented the running by completing 14 of 20 passes for 202 yards.
Rookie free safety Lonnie Young had two interceptions for the Cardinals. His first gave the Cardinals possession at their own 42. Four plays later, Mitchell bulled in from the five to make the score 7-0.
After New Orleans closed to 7-3 on a Morten Andersen field goal, Mitchell scored on his 16-yard run and then Lomax passed seven yards to Pat Tilley to make it 21-3.
Young's second interception set the Cards in motion for a 77-yard drive capped by Mitchell's scoring reception on the fourth quarter's first play.
Andersen's first kick, a 31-yarder, was followed by a 30-yarder on the first half's final play and a 22-yarder with 9:57 remaining that gave New Orleans' kicker a team-record 11 straight without a miss.