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Saints 22, Titans 17

Saints wide receiver Marques Colston celebrates his 35-yard TD catch, which gave New Orleans a 16-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

Associated Press

Saints wide receiver Marques Colston celebrates his 35-yard TD catch, which gave New Orleans a 16-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

NASHVILLE — The Saints got a wake-up call from the Titans and Drew Brees came through to keep New Orleans' winning streak going.

Unable to reach the end zone through three quarters, the Saints got two touchdown passes from Brees to Marques Colston in the final 15 minutes to beat the Titans 22-17 on Sunday.

"It was a gut-check win for us," New Orleans coach Sean Payton said. "A lot of things early on didn't go our way. We had some calls that could have went either way. We just kept fighting and won a good game on the road against a good team."

The Saints have won five straight and lead the NFC South by two games with three left. They clinched a playoff berth, their third in a row, when Chicago lost in overtime at Denver.

And Brees joined Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas as the only quarterbacks to throw a touchdown pass in 40 straight games.

On third and 6, Brees threw 35 yards to a wide-open Colston, who jumped in the air just in front of the goal line at the middle of the field, caught the ball and fell into the end zone, making it 16-10 with 12:39 left.

The Saints converted two third downs on their next drive before Brees hit Colston again on a scoring pass, for 28 yards.

That gave New Orleans a 22-10 lead with 7:01 left. Colston had 105 yards on seven catches.

"We knew they were going to get yards," Tennessee safety Michael Griffin said. "Drew knows how to dissect a defense."

Brees had 337 passing yards to give him 39,413 in 150 career starts, just behind the 39,498 yards passing Dan Marino achieved in his first 150 starts.

The Titans twice had the ball in the final minutes with a chance to win.

Rookie Jake Locker, who came in after starter Matt Hasselbeck hurt his left calf, hit Nate Washington on a 40-yard pass with 27 seconds left, setting up a chance for a Titans rally.

Locker spiked the ball at the Saints 5, but his pass on second down to Marc Mariani in the end zone was batted down by cornerback Tracy Porter, and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar sacked Locker on third down as time expired.

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Saints 22, Titans 17 12/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, December 11, 2011 11:43pm]
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