Bush scored twice for the first time in more than a year and Drew Brees compensated for two interceptions with two touchdown passes that allowed the Saints to escape with a 28-23 victory Sunday over the St. Louis Rams.
Courtney Roby opened the second half with a 97-yard kickoff return and Robert Meachem's 27-yard grab early in the fourth quarter gave New Orleans (9-0) just enough breathing room to tie the franchise record with nine straight wins.
"You're not going to blow everyone out," said cornerback Randall Gay, who played on the Patriots' 16-0 team in 2007. "It's a lot harder to blow teams out when for a lot of teams, this is like their playoff game."
Marc Bulger's 19-yard pass to Donnie Avery made it a five-point game with 2:44 to go and the Rams (1-8) made it to the New Orleans 32 before Bulger threw incomplete into the end zone on the final play. Tackle Alex Barron was called for holding on the play, which would have ended the game regardless.
The Rams had no timeouts on their final drive and burned a lot of clock on Bulger's 5-yard checkdown to Steven Jackson the previous play, leaving them just enough time for one final snap.
"It would have been really nice to pull it off," Bulger said. "There's a reason they're unbeaten. They made plays when they had to."
The Rams had a season high for points against a defense that played most of the second half without both starting cornerbacks. Tracy Porter limped off with a left knee injury in the opening minute and Jabari Greer was inactive because of a hurt groin.
Turnovers hurt more. The Saints had three for a four-game total of 13.
They also stalled on offense late in the game, scoring fewer than 30 points for the first time in five games, and opening the door for the Rams.
"We're not content with where we're at, and we're certainly not content with the way we've played these last few weeks," Brees said. "We need to close the game out when we're given the opportunity."
St. Louis got big games from Avery, who caught two touchdown passes, and Jackson, who had 131 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries and totaled a season-high 176 yards from scrimmage.
The Rams faced their third straight unbeaten team at home -- a first in NFL history. They fared much better against the Saints than against the Colts (a 42-6 drubbing) and Vikings (a 38-10 loss).
"Tough one," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "Tough, tough, tough, tough."
Jackson was at his bruising best again for the Rams, who were coming off their bye and a victory over the Lions the week before that ended a 17-game losing streak. He has 6,206 yards in his sixth season, passing Lawrence McCutcheon (6,186) for third on the franchise career list.
Before exploiting the Rams with 83 yards on six carries with a 55-yard jaunt and adding two receptions for 15 yards, Bush hadn't done much this season. He scored four touchdowns the first eight games but with only 194 yards rushing.
"I don't feel like I've dropped off at all," Bush said. "I feel like I'm still the same person, I don't feel any faster or slower.
"I think coach gave me a lot of opportunities to make plays and I think I was able to do that today."
The Rams saw the electrifying player taken second overall in the 2006 draft, and the two-TD game was his first since Oct. 18, 2008. Bush vaulted over a defender on a 3-yard run for the game's first score and won a footrace to a corner of the end zone on a 15-yard reception.
"Yeah, he's a handful," Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "He's a game changer."
- Jackson's run for the tying score was only the Rams' fifth touchdown out of 18 trips inside the 20 all year.
- Rams WR Keenan Burton (right knee) was carted off after getting hurt on an end zone interception by Usama Young and has an injury to the patella tendon. Late October pickup Brandon Gibson stepped in with his first seven catches of the season, for 93 yards.
- The Rams forced a total of nine turnovers in their first eight games.
- The Saints lead the NFL with 17 interceptions.