Text Us: 870870
Studio: (504)260.1870
Toll Free: (866)889.0870
A   A   A
 Follow 
Share
Jimmy Graham
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) prepares to stop Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud (28) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Posted: Thursday, 21 November 2013 10:48PM

Lackluster Saints hold off Falcons 17-13



ATLANTA (AP) Drew Brees threw a pair of touchdown passes and the New Orleans Saints overcame a lackluster offensive showing, holding off the Atlanta Falcons 17-13 Thursday night.

Brees hooked up with Jimmy Graham on a 44-yard touchdown and Benjamin Watson on a 1-yard scoring play, both in the first half and good enough to give the first-place Saints (9-2) a sweep of their season series with their NFC South rivals.

Atlanta (2-9) dropped its fifth straight game, clinched its first losing season since 2008 and was officially eliminated from the division race with five weeks remaining.

The Falcons had a chance to pull off the upset, driving to the Saints 29 with less than 3 minutes to go. But New Orleans turned up the pressure on Matt Ryan, Atlanta missed a long field goal, and the Saints ran off all but the last 5 seconds.

The Georgia Dome rocked with chants of "Who Dat! Who Dat!" as the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Saints ensuring they will remain alone atop the NFC South and just one game behind Seattle for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. New Orleans will face the Seahawks on Dec. 2 in what shapes up as one of the biggest games of the year.

The Falcons had hoped to salvage some bit of pride in this lost season, driving from their own 9 - actually, the 3 after Ryan was sacked - to the Saints 29. But Ryan was sacked again by Cameron Jordan and hurried into a pair of incompletions. As the crowd groaned, the Falcons surprisingly sent on Matt Bryant to attempt a 52-yard field goal.

He knocked one through, but the Saints called timeout just before the snap. After standing around during the commercial break, Bryant's next try sailed wide of the left upright.

Brees and the offense took it from there, assuring Atlanta had time for only one desperate play at the end.

The Saints quarterback was 23 of 33 for 278 yards. Ryan was 30 of 39 for 297 yards, but Atlanta's offense produced only one touchdown - the fourth time that has happened during the its current skid.

The Falcons, who had been outscored 135-61 over their previous four games, put together an impressive drive on their opening possession. Steven Jackson carried it five times for 24 yards, the last of them a dive into the end zone on third-and-goal at the Saints 1. The touchdown came after Darius Johnson appeared to score on a quick slant, but the replay showed a knee was down just before he stuck the ball over the goal line.

Jackson's TD on the next play gave Atlanta its first lead in nearly a month. The Falcons had gone nearly 15 quarters - almost four full games - since being up 3-0 over Arizona early in Week 8.

The advantage didn't last long. Brees guided a 15-play, 78-yard drive in which the Saints converted five straight times on third down, including Watson's leaping catch in the back of the end zone.

Bryant put the Falcons back ahead with the first of his two field goals, a 39-yarder early in the second quarter, but New Orleans grabbed the lead for good when Graham slipped behind the secondary and hauled in his long touchdown.

He celebrated by dunking over the goalpost and hung on the crossbar for extra emphasis, actually bending the post. As the Saints lined up to attempt the extra point, the officials noticed the crooked uprights, leading to a brief delay as a worker on a ladder came out to straighten the bar.

The Falcons got in position to recapture the lead, driving to the New Orleans 10. On third-and-goal, Ryan couldn't find an open receiver and took off running, briefly spotting a clear path to the end zone. But the Saints closed in quickly, prompting Ryan to slide down at the 6 rather than risk an injury. Some Atlanta fans booed as Matty Ice trotted off the field, no doubt remembering a college game the previous week when Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray fearlessly plowed straight ahead to score a touchdown in the closing seconds against Auburn.

Atlanta settled for another Bryant field goal from 24 yards and trailed 14-13 at the half.

The Falcons got no closer.

The only points of the second half came on Garrett Hartley's 41-yard field goal for the Saints.

A   A   A
 Follow 
Share
Deke's Blog
Deke: SEC rankings, week four
Well folks, if the SEC West added Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina, then the rest of the nation's games really wouldn't matter. Currently all seven of the SEC West's members are ranked among the top 42 teams in the nation with five of...
Read More
Deke: NFL Top Ten, week three
The Monsters of the Midway have supplanted the Cheese Packers in my poll. The Who Dats way down yonder in New Orleans are out, while the 2-0 Bills from South of Canada have burnt me before, so I'll use caution before I put Buffalo in my best 10. ...
Read More
Deke: CFB Top Ten, week four
SEC WEST, SEC WEST, SEC WEST, Yes! The SEC West has four teams in this week's top 10, and that's no fluke. The first weekend in October could be the biggest regular season in the history of the SEC with monster games like Ole Miss hosting Alabama,...
Read More
Deke: Saints at Browns is bigger game than most people think
New Orleans Saints (0-1) vs Cleveland Browns (0-1) Sunday, September 14 First Energy Stadium, Cleveland Ohio Kickoff 12pm Series History: Cleveland leads the series 12-4 over New Orleans Last week: Atlanta beat New Orleans 37-34 in OT and...
Read More
Deke: NFL Top Ten, week two
"Bow Down When you Come to My Town" was once a hot tune by Westside Connection in the 90's, and it came to mind last Thursday night when I drove home and was listening to a beat-down in Seattle. I've seen a bunch of beat downs, but rarely one as...
Read More
Hokie's Blog
Bobby's Blog
Kristian's Blog
Hokie: Saints 0-2 start "sucks, it really does"
The Saints are off to an 0-2 start to the season, and color analyst Hokie Gajan puts the blame at the feet of the players. "You can't continue to have the breakdowns that you have seen," Gajan said. "I am putting it on the players. When you make...
Read More
Monday Morning QB: Brees says "we have to stick together"
Sure, it's not the start the Saints envisioned, but as many have said in the past, you are what your record says you are in the NFL - and the Saints are 0 and 2 for a reason. "Typically a play here, a play there, you can't describe. A lot of these games...
Read More
Kristian: Reality check! Saints are 0-2
Uh-0 and 2: In July when the Saints started training camp, nobody thought they would start the season 0 and 2, but it's reality after a pair of gut wrenching losses in the final second of regulation and overtime. Now the Saints face an uphill battle to...
Read More
Kristian: Rob Ryan guarantees Saints D will be better this week
Defensive Coordinator: Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan didn't sugar coat his defense's performance last week today when he spoke to the media. "You have to obviously fix something, when you give up that many points and that many yards. It's...
Read More
Kristian: Payton blows off Goodell, says "our focus is on Cleveland"
No-Goodell: Saints coach Sean Payton would have every right to lash out and pile on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell following the Ray Rice video debacle that has swept the league since Monday. "Our focus has really been on Cleveland," he said, stopping...
Read More
Saints vs Vikings

Team News
Saints Schedule
Team Leaders
Division Standings
NFC Standings
ADVERTISEMENT

FACEBOOK

1 Thing

Contact Us

Contests

WWL iPhone App

Powered By InterTech Media, LLC™