INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Derek Carr spent the past week answering questions about his sideline demeanor.
New Orleans' quarterback had nothing to apologize for Sunday.
Carr masterfully carved up Indianapolis' young, depleted secondary, Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara scored two touchdowns apiece, and the Saints beat the Colts 38-27 to move into a share of the NFC South lead.
New Orleans (4-4) ended a two-game skid, and Carr got a chance to move past the criticism he took for scolding teammates and yelling at offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael during a Week 7 loss to Jacksonville.
“Gosh, it feels good to smile,” Carr said. “I was at one place for nine years. If I got banged up, everyone in that building knew I was playing that Sunday. If I got upset, they knew where my heart was. But now I’m in a new place, and new things are happening. You have to prove yourself, you have to show guys where you’re coming from, you have to build new relationships. That was something I put on my heart this week. I tried not to be so emotional.”
Things went smoothly against the Colts (3-5). Carr made all the right reads, was on time and watched his receivers take care of the rest.
The four-time Pro Bowler went 19 of 27 for 310 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. Although he lost a fumble, he made big play after big play.
Rashid Shaheed had three catches for a career-best 153 yards, including a 58-yard TD catch, and for the second time this year he helped seal the victory with a long third-down reception in the final minutes. Kamara also caught a TD pass while Michael Thomas and Chris Olave combined for nine receptions and 114 yards.
“A lot came together for us today,” Carr said. “I felt for the first time all year that all 11 guys on offense played complementary football.”
The Colts, who have lost three straight overall and still have not beaten the Saints since losing the teams' Super Bowl matchup after the 2009 season, challenged the Saints' usually stingy defense.
Gardner Minshew was 23 of 41 for 213 yards with two TDs and one interception. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 87 of his 95 yards in the first quarter while Zack Moss finished with 66 yards and scored on a 1-yard stretch across the goal line.
But Indy's pass coverage was no match for Carr.
“I think sometimes you try to scheme up explosive (plays) and sometimes you hit on that and sometimes you don't,” Colts coach Shane Steichen said. “We've got to do a good job creating those explosives and, obviously, on the flip side of that we've got to stop them on the other side."
Carr opened the Saints' scoring with an 18-yard TD pass to Kamara before hooking up with Shaheed as New Orleans took a 21-20 halftime lead.
Kamara's 25-yard reception late in the third quarter set up his powerful 16-yard scoring run that made it 28-20. And when Shaheed was awarded a 44-yard catch after a replay review of an apparent interception, Hill capped the drive with a 1-yard scoring run to make it 35-20 with 10:49 to play.
Minshew answered with a 33-yard TD pass to Drew Ogletree with 8:19 left that got the Colts within 35-27. But after a defensive stop, Minshew couldn't drive Indy for a potential tying score, and the Saints closed it out with a short field goal.
Saints: While DE Carl Granderson left briefly in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury and LG James Hurst (ankle) was inactive, the Saints were impacted more by the illness running through the locker room. At least four players could be seen using IVs following the game. Tight end Jimmy Graham did not play because of an illness.
Colts: Minshew appeared to hurt his left ankle in the first quarter but did not miss a snap. LB Zaire Franklin, the NFL's top tackler, went to the locker after appearing to hurt his right knee in the first but also returned. RT Braden Smith (hip and wrist), CB JuJu Brents (quad), TE Kylen Granson (concussion protocol), DE Eric Johnson II (ankle) and DT Grover Stewart (suspension) all sat out.
BY THE NUMBERS
Saints: Carr made his 150th career start. ... DE Cameron Jordan became the second player in franchise history to play in 200 career games. ... Kamara had 17 carries for 59 yards and four receptions for 51 yards and another TD. ... New Orleans has nine interceptions this season. It had seven all of last year.
Colts: Indy is the only team to top the 20-point mark in all eight games this season. ... Moss started this week second in the NFL in rushing. He now has 589 yards despite missing the season opener. ... Franklin has recorded double-digit tackles a league-best six times this season.
Saints: Host Chicago next Sunday.
Colts: Face former coach Frank Reich when they visit Carolina next Sunday.
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