NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Saints wide receiver Joe Horn just wanted to create a little excitement—by calling attention to himself.
Horn certainly did that in unique fashion Sunday night. He had four touchdowns and a cell-phone conversation in the end zone during New Orleans’ 45-7 victory over the New York Giants.
After the second score, Horn made a call on a cell phone hidden in the padding of the goal post.
“I had told my kids to be at home, watching the game, and I told my momma, `Mom, if I score the second one, I’m going to get my cell phone out,”’ Horn said.
Horn, who scored on receptions of 50, 13, 7 and 18 yards, received a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a tongue-lashing from coach Jim Haslett. But he also had a career night, setting a team record for TD receptions.
“You don’t do stuff like that,” Haslett said after the game. “I know it was premeditated. I know it was national television. But you don’t do it.”
Haslett said he would not fine Horn. He said the league probably would. Horn agreed.
“Would I take it back? No, no,” Horn said. “I knew exactly what I was doing. And I understand, I’m quite sure that I’ll be fined. For what, I don’t know …
“I thought I’d probably get fined for it; I think it’s ridiculous. I wasn’t taunting any other football players. I wasn’t trying to start fights. I didn’t throw a ball in the stands so people could fight over it. I was dancing. I was celebrating. The fans love that.”
The three-time Pro Bowler had his 19th game of 100 or more yards, also a team record. He finished with nine catches for 119 yards.
After an acrobatic catch of a 13-yard pass from Aaron Brooks, Horn ducked behind the goal post, where teammate Michael Lewis dug the phone out of the padding and handed it to him. Horn opened the phone, dialed and started talking as he walked back to the bench.
“This game is all about excitement,” Horn said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of fans across the nation that love the excitement of football. … We should give the fans what they want, what they pay their hard-earned money for, and that’s excitement.”
“The players might say they’re upset, but they probably loved it,” quarterback Jesse Palmer said.
The victory kept the Saints’ slim playoff hopes alive at 7-7.
For the Giants (4-10) it was the sixth straight defeat, further weakening coach Jim Fassel’s hold on his job. New York has been outscored 163-51 during the slide.
“It’s not going to get any easier when we’re playing teams that are either in the hunt or on the fringe of the hunt,” Fassel said.
Brooks completed 26 of 35 passes for 296 yards and a career-best five touchdowns. New Orleans dominated the Giants, gaining 440 yards to 241. New York converted only one of nine third downs.
The untested Palmer replaced Kerry Collins, who was out with a sprained ankle. In his first NFL start, Palmer completed 15 of 26 passes for 140 yards.
The Saints jumped ahead on the opening drive. Brooks connected with Horn on a 50-yard touchdown pass just two minutes and five plays into the game.
John Carney’s 35-yard field goal on New Orleans’ second drive made it 10-0.
Brooks, who lost three of his four fumbles last week, fumbled a handoff on the Saints’ next possession. Dhani Jones recovered New York on the Saints 39. Visanthe Shiancoe’s 4-yard touchdown reception, the rookie’s first score, cut New Orleans’ lead to 10-7. Palmer scrambled for 26 yards on the drive.
After Horn’s second touchdown—and his phone call—made it 17-7, Saints defensive tackle Kenny Smith blocked Matt Bryant’s 43-yard field goal attempt. Fred Thomas ran it 64 yards to make it 24-7 at halftime.
The Saints opened the third quarter with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Horn. This time, Horn walked to Brooks, presented him with the football and hugged him.
Brooks hit Jerome Pathon with a 26-yard touchdown pass to put New Orleans up 38-7 after three quarters. Brooks found Horn a final time from 18 yards, and Haslett pulled his starters.
It was the most points the Saints ever scored at home.
^Notes: New Orleans sold out its 29th straight game at the 72,000-seat Louisiana Superdome … The third of Horn’s nine catches made him the first player in New Orleans history with 70 or more receptions in four consecutive seasons. … Brooks’ five touchdown passes gave him 83 for his career, third in club history behind Archie Manning (175) and Bobby Hebert (85). … Giants RB Tiki Barber’s 37 yards increased his career total to 5,322, ahead of Joe Morris (5,296) into second place on the team’s rushing list. … Saints G Spencer Falau sprained his left knee and FB Terrelle Smith has an infected jaw. Giants CB Ralph Brown hurt his shoulder.