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: Saints must balance offense to beat Lions
New Orleans Saints vs Detroit Lions Sunday October 19, 2014 Noon Kickoff Ford Field in Detroit Last week's results: New Orleans was off while the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings 17-3. Series History: Saints lead 11-9-1 What they are...
Read More
Deke: SEC Rankings, week eight
For the first time in well, forever, the state of Mississippi is the best when it comes to college football. In round one of the battle of Southern States, Mississippi swept Alabama with the Rebels and Bulldogs earning wins over Alabama and Auburn. Now...
Read More
Deke: NFL Top Ten, week seven
Denver reclaims the top spot! The Silver Stars are shining bright deep in the heart of Texas, the Bolts got a scare from the Silver and Black while the Birds from the City of Brotherly Love were as impressive as their rivals from the NFC East. There...
Read More
Deke: CFB Top Ten, week eight
The Egg Bowl Tickets keep getting more and more in demand on Stubhub! The overrated bowl will be played this week, and the game between the Noles and Irish features two talented and issue-plagued QB's. Baylor came up big with a 24 point run while...
Read More
Deke: Tigers showing improvement in win over Florida
I'm human. I mess up. I talk bad, I get too frustrated and I let my emotions get the best of me from time to time. We all know this. But it does bother me sometimes when folks that analyze the LSU Tigers do not do so in a fair way. Now...
Read More
Hokie's Blog
Bobby's Blog
Kristian's Blog
Kristian: Saints release TE Tom Crabtree
The Saints have termintated their contract with TE Tom Crabtree and signed ILB Todd Davis to the active roster. While it's easy to read into release of Crabtree as a good sign for TE Jimmy Graham, Davis provides depth at thin LB position with...
Read More
Kristian: Saints will win in a close one against hobbled Lions
50/50: Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited again today in practice and it looks as though he'll be a game time decision when the Saints travel to Detroit Sunday to take on the Lions. "Sean (Payton) said he's going to test it,...
Read More
Kristian: Brees says "This is where you make your run"
Refreshed: The Saints had their bye week relatively early this season, but quarterback Drew Brees said it came at a good time for the team: "It's a time for self evaluation," Brees explained. "Especially physically I think, especially because we got...
Read More
Kristian: Report- Graham to miss 2-3 more weeks
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will likely miss 2 to 3 more weeks with a sprained shoulder according to the NFL Network. Graham suffered the injury in the week 5 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Number 80 has been a big part of the Saints...
Read More
Kristian: Saints sign TE Crabtree, bump Byrd to IR
According to the NFL transaction wire, the Saints have signed TE Tom Crabtree out of Green Bay and moved safety Jairus Byrd to injured reserve. Since Crabtree is more of a special teams guy, this move doesn't really tell us much about the status...
Read More
Saints vs. Packers

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™