Saints Derail Falcons' Undefeated Train, 31-27: Who Dat Say!?!

Corey White's interception was one of the defense's biggest plays on Sunday. - Wesley Hitt

This is your place for all the postgame links, transcripts, and videos from the New Orleans Saints' 31-27 win over the once-unbeaten Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons vs Saints coverage

Falcons vs Saints box score

The Falcoholic

Atlanta Falcons 27, New Orleans Saints 31 | NFL.com
Game Center - Watch video of the game, buy tickets, get stats & depth charts, game highlights, analysis, recap, and discuss with other NFL fans!

Atlanta Falcons 27, New Orleans Saints 31 | ESPN.com
GAMEHQ: Final statistics, play-by-play, drive charts, photos, and highlights from the Atlanta vs. New Orleans game played on November 11, 2012.

New Orleans Saints Knock Off Previous Undefeated Atlanta Falcons, 31-27 | neworleanssaints.com
The Saints have now won four straight games against the Falcons and 11 of the last 13.

New Orleans Saints 31, Atlanta Falcons 27: Postgame Notes | neworleanssaints.com
The Saints have now won 13 straight games in the month of November dating back to 2009.

Saints 31, Falcons 27 - Photo Gallery | neworleanssaints.com
Michael C. Hebert - Photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons game.

Saints-Falcons Photos | NOLA.com
Pregame gallery.

Saints-Falcons Photos | NOLA.com
Gallery: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons game action in the Dome.

Photos: Saints take on Falcons in the 'Dome | wwltv.com
Pictures from the Saints-Falcons game in New Orleans.

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From The Saints Sideline

New Orleans Saints defense continues to show its resiliency with two more goal-line stands: First take | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - Another week, another shaky-yet-clutch performance for Saints defense in 31-27 victory over Atlanta Falcons.

Chris Ivory proves fans right: 10 more observations from New Orleans Saints victory | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - More thoughts on the Saints' 31-27 victory over Atlanta Falcons.

Quick Take: Saints deserving winners against Falcons | sportsnola.com
Ken Trahan - When it mattered most, the Saints were better, winning, of all things, with their defense.

Rapid Reaction: Saints 31, Falcons 27 - NFC South Blog | ESPN.com
Pat Y. - Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 31-27 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons: Stats that stand out | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - Saints shut Falcons down in the red zone.

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons: How the game was won | NOLA.com
Larry Holder

Game balls for the New Orleans Saints' dramatic victory over the Atlanta Falcons | NOLA.com
James O'Byrne

New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons: Grading the offense | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - The New Orleans Saints offense gets 3.5 fleur de lis out of four.

New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons: Grading the defense | NOLA.com
James O'Byrne - The defense gets 3 Fleur de lis out of 4.

New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons: Grading the coaching staff | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - The New Orleans Saints coaching staff gets 3.5 fleur de lis out of 4.

New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons: Grading special teams | NOLA.com
James O'Byrne - Special teams get 3 out of 4 fleur de lis.

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons game recap: Did you see? | NOLA.com
Larry Holder - Jabari Greer, Charles Brown, Mark Ingram all turn in big games.

Saints knock Falcons from unbeaten perch with 31-27 victory | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - Strike up the jazz band. The Saints are marching again.

New Orleans Saints use goal-line stand to knock off Atlanta 31-27 | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Defense rises up when it has to.

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham wanted to one-up Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez on Sunday | NOLA.com
Larry Holder - Jimmy Graham uses presence of Tony Gonzalez as motivation in Saints win over Falcons.

Roddy White blames Falcons failures, not New Orleans Saints for first loss | NOLA.com
Terrance Harris - White frustrated with Falcons failed red zone opportunities during first loss of the season.

New Orleans Saints hold Atlanta Falcons to one of their lowest rushing totals of season | NOLA.com
Katherine Terrell - Short-yardage situations plague Falcons against Saints.

New Orleans Saints hold 11-2 record against Atlanta Falcons since 2006 | NOLA.com
Katherine Terrell - Odds and ends from the Saints 31-28 win over the Falcons.

Corey White's interception a game-changing play for New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com
Peter Finney - It allowed Saints offense to stretch the lead.

Chris Ivory's 56-yard tour de force fueled New Orleans Saints upset | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan - Third-year running back ignites victory with highlight-reel run.

Handwerger: Resilient Saints answering questions, showing life | wwltv.com
After the past three seasons in New Orleans, a period in which the Saints went 41-13, it wasn’t apparent how the players would respond with their backs against the wall.

Deke: ATL Not Ready Yet! - WWL | AM870 | FM105.3
All week long, all I heard was how the Falcons were still mad because the Saints hung 45 on them in a record-setting game last season...and other rumblings I heard all last week in preparing for the Saints' first date with the Falcons was how the Falcons looked like the 2009 Saints.

Saints bring Falcons back to earth - NFC South Blog | ESPN.com
Pat Y. - If you thought the New Orleans Saints' 31-27 victory against the Atlanta Falcons was entertaining, wait until you hear what came out of the locker rooms at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after Sunday’s game.

Unbeaten No More, Saints Take Out Falcons 31-27 | thesaintsnation.com
Andrew Juge - In what was one of the best regular season wins of my lifetime as a Saints fan, the Saints held on to beat bitter rival and previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons 31-27 in the Superdome.

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From The Aerie

Falcons’ dream of undefeated season ended by Saints, 31-27 | ajc.com
D. Orlando Ledbetter - One yard. One loss.

The unbeaten Falcons fall in a distressingly familiar way | blogs.ajc.com
Mark Bradley - First, a spot of perspective. The Falcons are 8-1 and positioned to win their division. Just because they lost an excruciating game to the hated Saints doesn’t override all the good work that came before.

Falcons' Comeback Bid Falls Short | atlantafalcons.com
Daniel Cox - The Falcons didn't have enough late in the game against the Saints to mount another comeback, falling to the NFC South rival 31-27.

Gonzalez: ‘The Confidence Hasn’t Changed’ | atlantafalcons.com
Jay Adams - There will be no panicking. There will be no whining.

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Postgame Quotes

via neworleanssaints.com


ASSISTANT HEAD COACH / LINEBACKERS JOE VITT

"This was a big win for our football team today. We obviously played a heck of a football team today in Atlanta, coming in undefeated. They have outstanding weapons on offense and they are playing great, solid defense. Their special teams have shown up. It took a great week of preparation by our football team. I cannot say enough about our assistant coaches and the gameplan they have put together. Our run game coordinator, Aaron Kromer, the run game scheme he had was phenomenal. It is a good win for us and now it is on to Oakland. We have a big challenge ahead of us."

(on the fourth quarter goal-line stand) "It was huge. We made plays when we had to make plays defensively. The two last plays of the (drive) they had a chance to go in and win it and everybody kept their poise, they knew the call and they relayed the call on defense. They made plays when we needed them. It was encouraging to see. I think the other thing it was encouraging to see defensively is that our run defense was much better today than it has been all year long. It is something that we talk about all week long, and Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) has done a great job of staying positive with our defense and our defense has done a great job of trying to get better. They have worked hand in hand walking to get it done. They played better today and we had to play better in order to beat a good football team."

(on Chris Ivory's impact and energizing the sideline) "Your eyes are not lying to you. Ivory's run, Jimmy Graham's big catch, energized our sideline. Some of the plays that Drew (Brees) made in the two-minute drill energized out sideline. This is a football team that has been through a lot and stuck together and they are happy for one another when somebody makes a big play and that is just the nature of this football team."

(on 13 straight wins in November) "We work hard to get better every day. This win today is a culmination of these guys sticking together from day one. This football team starts 0-4 and our coaches do a great job, I said this before, Aaron (Kromer) did a great job of keeping our football team together. They come together with a sense of purpose and they work hard to get better every day; that is what they have done. That is the earmark of this football team. We take great pride in trying to construct the right plays and have them buy into what we do. We've got the right guys and we have to get better this week. We have a big week."

(on the defense's confidence) "There are a lot of members of that defense that we won a world championship with. They have played well at the highest level. They work hard every day at practice. They have great camaraderie and accountability. Nobody liked the position that we were in and the only way to get out of that position is to work hard every day, detail your assignment and practice with a sense of purpose not only to prepare for your opponent, but for your development and that is what they've done. It's a credit to our coaches."

(on the kicking game) "We obviously trust Garrett (Hartley), he has made the biggest kicks this franchise has ever had. It was good to see him make that kick today. Thomas (Morstead) did a great job all day long of kicking off; I think he is a Pro Bowl player. Our coverage units have been outstanding. We saw a little bit of a transition in the return game with Darren (Sproles) being hurt, but they (returners) work hard every day and they will work hard again this week."

(on Corey White) "I think he's come a long way. He has had to mature quickly because we've demanded a lot of reps from him early. I think that this game isn't too big for him. He has outstanding athleticism. The play he made on the ball was outstanding. Hopefully, he continues to get better because we're depending on him."

(on Curtis Lofton playing against his old team) "Curtis Lofton is a good football player. Curtis Lofton is the type of professional that does not get caught up with who he is playing and where he is playing. He has tremendous pride to put his ‘A' game on the field each week. He has meant a lot to us. We knew he was a good football player and that is why we acquired him. Our pro personnel (department) does an outstanding job with Ryan Pace. We didn't know what kind of person he was, you never know what kind of person they are until they get in the building, but he works his butt off every day. He has the respect of his teammates and he plays this game with great, great passion."

QB #9 DREW BREES

(on Falcons) "They're a really good football team, and have been for the last four years, ever since Mike Smith took over there. That offense and that defense, I know they got a couple of new coordinators this year, but they're playing as well as ever, obviously. It's a divisional game; those are all big games. I think the fans play up the rivalry between the Saints and Falcons a little more than the players, but we know they're a well coached football team, a disciplined football team, and we know we need our best to beat them. I guess over the past few years, we've been able to put that forth."

(on running game) "All of the running backs did a phenomenal job with whatever they were tasked to do. The offensive line, I can't say enough about those guys - their ability to not only open holes in the run game, but pass protection as well. A lot goes into a good running game - the guys up front, the tight ends, the receivers and such. It's the flow of the play calling; Pete Carmichael did a phenomenal job with creating that balance, that flow and that rhythm. Obviously, we felt good about what we were able to put out there today."

(on Saints defense) "They did a great job, especially after the first two series, really after the first series. Atlanta did a nice job of moving down the field and making a big play. (The Falcons) got a touchdown and then a turnover on the first play, the defense goes right out there and stops them. After that, we went on a 28-7 run, and obviously they were creating a lot of good opportunities for us to stay on the field, possess the ball and go down and get points."

(on Chris Ivory) "He's a beast. On more than one occasion, he stiff-armed somebody or (ran) somebody over or cut back on somebody. He's a rare combination of speed and power."

(on Marques Colston) "He's obviously a mainstay around here. He's already become the all-time touchdown leader for receiving touchdowns in Saints history, and I'm sure by the time it's all said and done, he'll be the most decorated Saints receiver of all time. We've got a bunch of other guys that are a part of that group and are just as important, but Marques has been a mainstay here for the last seven years. He continues to impress with the way he plays, his approach, his preparation, his toughness.

(on Tony Gonzalez) "I played against Tony Gonzalez when we were in the AFC West, Chargers-Chiefs, and now I see him twice a year in our division. He's the ageless wonder. (It's) unbelievable what he's been able to do for so long and just continue to do at such a high level. You can see the chemistry between him and Matt Ryan; it's impressive. This past year at the Pro Bowl, Jimmy and Tony were the two tight ends. It was like the older version, younger version. The young basketball player who's now coming up and following in his footsteps. It was funny, the one comment I remember Tony making to Jimmy was, ‘I used to be able to dunk over the goalpost too. That used to be my deal. Then one day, I went up there and it just wasn't happening. So there's going to be time when you go to dunk and it just isn't happening. Take advantage of the opportunities you've got until then.' "

(on 29 runs vs. 33 passes) "That's great balance. That's what you're looking for. That's when you know you're really rolling as an offense. When you have that balance, you're being successful, you're sustaining drives and opening up some big-play opportunities in the pass game. We did that today."

(on offensive improvement) "I think it's just kind of finding our own, finding our rhythm. We were in some different circumstances in games at those times as well. That was uncharted territory for all of us, those first four weeks. After that, I really feel we were able to figure it out offensively and find our rhythm.

(on opportunity to get to .500 next week) "Obviously, that's a big deal. When you can start off 0-4 and now we've got the opportunity next week to get to 5-5, to get to .500. That (means) we'll have won five of our last six. That would be extremely impressive. That's something we feel like we're capable of and we envision being able to do that, because we know the type of team we have. We knew that we dug ourselves a hole and had a mountain to climb, yet we also knew we had the right type of people. It was really just about trying to hone in and focus on ... getting a little bit better each week. Eventually, the chips were going to fall our way. The first four weeks, everything bad that could happen, happened. We knew as long as we continued to press it and do things the right way and create a sense of urgency this week, good things would happen and good things are starting to happen.

"I feel like our best football is yet to come. We've played some really good games, we've beaten some very good opponents in some big-time situations, but I truly believe like our best is yet to come."

(on opportunity to engage with special members of the Saints fan base) "I think what we do a great job of as an organization ... is every Saturday, at walk-through for home games, we'll being in military personnel (or) kids or adults, whether they've been stricken with an illness or disease, maybe it's terminal cancer, maybe it's an accident, and their one lifelong dream is to meet a Saints player or meet the team. We embrace the opportunity to be able to do that, especially for somebody that's going through a hard time. Whether it's a military member coming back home, like we did yesterday, who was going to surprise his family here at the game, we do that stuff all the time because we know how much that means to people. Certainly, we feel that we have so many fans, so many people that believe in us and look to us for strength and inspiration. We just try to be the best role models we can be."

CB #33 JABARI GREER

(on the final play of the goal line stand) "They had run a play that we had seen on film. Fortunately, we were in a coverage to make a play. Earlier in the game, we had give up two big plays. It was great for our team to show resilience. Guys continue to uplift me and we encourage each other. It was great being able to make a play and celebrate with my team. We realize that these games aren't easy. The story here is about the guys having great resilience. We go out there and continue to fight. They never quit."

(on the locker room now compared to earlier in the season) "It's exciting in the locker room when you win. There's nothing really to celebrate after a loss. We beat a quality opponent in a rivalry game. The people of New Orleans circle this date. It's incredible to have this win for them. It's important to give our fans a quality product on the field and something to be proud of."

LB #50 CURTIS LOFTON

(on the key to beating the Falcons) "The key is to make them one dimensional. You have to stop the run, don't let their play action (get) going and don't let the deep ball get over your head. You have to keep grinding because they're going to make plays. They are a great team. They have a lot of weapons. We knew they were going to make plays."

(on if this was vindication for him) "No, not at all. It wasn't me versus them. It feels good to get a win over a divisional opponent."

WR #16 LANCE MOORE

(on having big games against the Falcons) "I'm just one of those guys who waits for his time. We saw some things on film that we thought we could take advantage of. I felt good. Drew (Brees) played like Drew. All we have to do is to get open and catch the ball. That's the easy job. He's worried about people flying around him. These are the types of games that you love playing in."

(on why they have success against the Falcons) "For whatever reason, we show up to play them all of the time. That's not to say we don't show up against other teams. We don't try to make this one game bigger than any of the other ones. It's the next game on our schedule. We did the normal preparation and gameplan to get ready for these guys. We had a great amount of energy. Our defense came up huge for us."

TE #80 JIMMY GRAHAM

(on playing against Tony Gonzalez) "He paved the way for me. It seems like I'm going up against the things he did the last drive. It is definitely something that motivates me. I spent some time with him this past offseason. No tight end plays the game like he does. It's simply amazing that he's done it for this long. I try to learn as much as I can from him."

-

HEAD COACH MIKE SMITH

(Opening Statement) "I felt like this was a very hard-fought football game in terms of the effort. We made way too many mistakes in all three phases. I felt like we had many opportunities; we've got to convert when we get in these third and one situations. I know there were two earlier in the ballgame that we didn't convert. We talked about having to score touchdowns in the red zone; we've got to do that when we're down there."

(on the short-yardage offense) "Well, we had two third and ones: one we tried to run and one we tried to throw it. We are not getting the surge that we need to on the run plays. We've got to be able to move the line of scrimmage on those third down and one situations. Those are to the advantage of the offense, and we're not getting that done right now. We didn't get that done today."

(on the thought of going for two with 13:27 left in the game) "No. There were still 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and you don't even start looking at that chart until about the seven or eight minutes into the fourth quarter. If you miss that two-point conversion, then you're flipped on the other side in terms of the score. You usually wait until about seven or eight minutes left for two-point conversions."

(on the inability to pick up short yardage with the run) "We did not run the ball very effectively. They did a nice job of penetration today, knocking the line of scrimmage back. It wasn't always blitzes or stunts, they did a great job penetrating into the backfield."

(on not being able to score on the second-to-last drive against a struggling defense) "They've been playing a lot better defense and a lot better as a football team over the last four weeks. They've won three out of the last four. They play with a lot of confidence. When these two teams meet, you can throw the records out the window. It's going to be a hard-fought battle. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done today."

(on Dunta Robinson's unsportsmanlike penalty) "Those are what we categorize as not the type of penalties we want to have. We want to have aggressive penalties, we don't want to have those. We had that penalty and it knocked us back. We started off at the twelve and it knocks us back out, starting us on the 27 (yard line). We can't have those types of penalties. We had too many penalties today. We want to play penalty-free football on special teams. We had one early, had one in the third quarter, and then we had one there late on the last punt. In terms of getting the ball in good field position, we had a chance and then we got a ten-yard penalty that basically knocked the ball much further back than where we would like to be starting with no timeouts on the last drive.

(on the emotional frustration of needing one yard to preserve an undefeated record, and not getting it) "It's very frustrating. Whether it's one yard or ten yards, when you don't win it's frustrating. That's why we're playing the games, we want to get the win. We were close, and we weren't able to get that accomplished. We'll learn from that, we'll evaluate it as a staff, and this will be something that we'll learn from as we move forward. We just started the third quarter, we finished the first two quarters the way we wanted to. We are starting the third quarter not the way we wanted to, but we'll learn from it. We'll get back together tomorrow and make the corrections and move on. We've got another game to play."

(on how the Saints were able to shut down the running game) "I'm going to have to watch the tape. We definitely did not run the football with the efficiency that we needed to, wanted to, or thought we could. That's for sure. We've got to not have those empty yards, in terms of not getting touchdowns out of them. When you get down in the red zone, you want to be efficient all the time. There were two times where we did not score touchdowns when we were down there. Obviously we did not win the line of scrimmage for the most part in our run game. That's the thing that I saw from the sideline"

QB #2 MATT RYAN

"It was just a tough day. We could have run it better than we did. But the offense line did a great job and gave us a lot of chances. But we just fell short."

(on the fourth-down incompletion with 1:46 left) "Yes, he (defender) just made a great play. I think it's something where I could put that ball in a better spot - a little higher and more in front of him - to give him a chance to catch it and score."

"You've got to give them credit. We moved the ball into the red zone and just didn't score so they made the plays there and we didn't. That's an error and we've got to do better."

(on chances for undefeated season ending) "You want to win every game you go into. And then we can worry about all of the things that go along with that. But we understand moving forward we're still in a very good spot. And we've got a lot of football in front of us. We just need to be playing our best football moving forward."

"We've always played them tough and haven't had the outcomes we wanted. I don't worry about the past. And today we just didn't play as good as we wanted to."

WR #84 RODDY WHITE

"It's tough. I mean anytime you get an opportunity to score and you don't (do it), it's really frustrating. We had every opportunity to win the game and we just didn't get it done. We've got to fix our red zone problems. All in all I think we played well - except in the red zone, and that's the reason why we lost the game."

(on the rivalry between the Saints and the Falcons) "It's just been like that ever since I arrived in Atlanta. Us winning and them winning; and then they (Saints) won the Super Bowl and we're trying to get there. And it's going to continue. We see those guys in three weeks and we'll get another shot at them at our place."

(on the next to last drive of the game) "It's tough and very frustrating. We get all of the way down there to the 1-yard line and we expect to score. We just didn't get it done. Especially being down there on the one yard line and you expect to get in. But we just didn't get it done, and that's the most disappointing thing."

"We've got to go back and work hard again. We can't play next week and experience back-to-back losses. We've got to get our focus back again. It's not like they came out here and won a game today. I think we kind of gave it to them. It's not nothing they did; it was what we did. But we play them in three weeks and we'll be ready in the (Georgia) Dome for them then."

TE #88 TONY GONZALEZ

"This is football. I mean no one is going to go around crying and panicking or anything like that. We're a good football team. Our confidence hasn't changed. Our scheme isn't going to change, and I'm not going to give you a magic answer as to why they won. This is a typical football game, a hard fought game, a rivalry game and they came out on top today."

"Every year is a new year. They are up and down this year, and are a good football team. I don't think they are in our heads; not at all. That is a good football team. At the end we had our chances and just didn't capitalize."

"By no means am I happy we lost today. But sometimes when you lose you learn, and that's what we have to do. Sometimes it's good to stumble. So for us that's obviously what happened today. And I am sure this is going to make us a good football team in the future."

(on 100th career touchdown reception) "It was great. Of course I'd rather have it come in a victory. But you have to give Matt (Ryan) credit when he waited for me to get open and delivered the ball."

C #62 TODD McCLURE

"When we get down in the red zone like we did at the end, we've got to score. We just didn't get it done today. So now we've got to go back and see what we can do better the next time."

"It would be great to come back here (in February for Super Bowl XLVII). I mean that's every team's goal at the start of the season. We still have a long way to go. We're a real good football team. We'd rather lose now than lose in January, so we've got to learn from these mistakes and be ready to go."

DT #95 JONATHAN BABINEAUX

"What you saw out there today was two good teams battling and today they (Saints) were the better team. I wouldn't mind sitting where we are right now. You know it's only one game. We've got seven left. We all know we got off to a good start, but there's still a long way to go."

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V-Roll Roll Call

New Orleans Saints Media Page | neworleanssaints.com
Video highlight package plus clips of coach and player press conferences.






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