ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Rams lost again and are down another wide receiver, but they're feeling a lot better about themselves after nearly upsetting the unbeaten New Orleans Saints.
In the 28-23 loss to the unbeaten Saints (9-0) on Sunday, Rams receiver Keenan Burton suffered a torn patella tendon in one of his knees and will be lost for the season. The Rams (1-8) placed him on the injured reserve list and said he will undergo surgery.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo said he sees improvement from his club.
"We won the total yardage battle (434-420) and we won the turnover battle (3-1)," Spagnuolo said. "Those are two key things in trying to win a football game. There are some other areas we needed to do better at that might have changed the outcome but we didn't.
"But there are no moral victories. Our objective was to win the game. We expected to go in and win it. So, we're disappointed in the result. There's some positives there, yeah. But the result is still the same."
Receiver Danny Amendola agreed.
"You never feel too good when you lose a game. It's not about the defense playing well or the offense playing well. It's about winning," Amendola said. "You can't say we turned the corner. We still lost the game. We improved and we got better but we're still not good enough."
The Rams drove to the New Orleans 32-yard line before falling short.
"It was nice to have a legitimate shot at the end of the game against an 8-0 team, one of the best teams in the NFC," Spagnuolo said.
Center Jason Brown put it another way: "People had written us off as one of the worst teams in the league, and no one could have believed we could have been right there with the Saints."
The Rams defense allowed the high-flying Saints just one touchdown in the second half. That score came early in the fourth quarter when Drew Brees hit Robert Meachem down the middle for a 27-yard touchdown.
Rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis recorded four tackles to give him a team-leading 50 for the season. He did not take any solace in holding New Orleans under its 38 points per game average.
"When you lose a game, you never do enough," Laurinaitis said. "We allowed them score more points than we did. We've still got stuff to fix."
The Saints were the third of three unbeaten teams in a row at home for the Rams, who previously lost to Minnesota and Indianapolis. There's no rest this weekend: St. Louis hosts NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals, who are 4-0 on the road this year.
"Hey, all of them we play ... will be a tough battle," Spagnuolo said. "It'll be another big challenge."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)