NEW ORLEANS - Rueben Mayes, sidelined all of last season after Achilles tendon surgery, scored three of New Orleans' first four touchdowns of the season as the Saints beat the Phoenix Cardinals 28-7.New Orleans (1-2) scored 15 points in two previous games, all on field goals by Morten Andersen.
Mayes' touchdowns came on runs of 10 yards in the third quarter and 4 and 14 yards in the fourth period.
Mayes, who last scored a touchdown in the 12th game of the 1988 season, scored three touchdowns in a game for the first time. He scored two in the 12th week of the 1987 season, his second year in the NFL and the second season he was picked to the Pro Bowl.
Saints quarterback John Fourcade, who entered the contest with the NFL's lowest quarterback efficiency rating, 17.7, threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Eric Martin with 22 seconds left in the first half, breaking a scoreless tie.
Phoenix (1-2) tied it 7-7 on a 37-yard pass from Timm Rosenbach to rookie Ricky Proehl in the third quarter, the first passing touchdown for Phoenix this season. The Cardinals took advantage of a mixup in the Saints' secondary that left Proehl wide open at the 10-yard line with the closest Saint, Brett Maxie, 10 yards away.
The Cardinals missed two scoring opportunities in the first half. Al Del Greco was wide left on a 52-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, and Jim Wilks blocked a 37-yard attempt in the second period.