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Saints vs. Falcons Final Score: Atlanta Wins 37-34 with Overtime Field Goal

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The Saints open the 2014 NFL season with a heartbreaking 37-34 loss to the Falcons in overtime. Here's how it all went down.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

1st Quarter

  • Saints inactives: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Marcus Ball, Erik Lorig, Senio Kelemete, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon and John Jenkins.
  • Saints win the coin toss. Elect to receive.
  • Brandin Cooks makes his first career NFL catch on the second play from scrimmage for 32 yards. He's involved early, with 3 catches for 48 yards on the first drive.
  • The offense stalls thanks to a hands to the face penalty on Zach Strief. Saints settle for a field goal. They lead 3-0.
  • The Saints defense shuts down the Falcons on the first series for a three and out.
  • Brees just can't seem to connect with Joe Morgan on the deep ball today. Multiple attempts have failed.
  • Saints must settle for another field goal. Graham silences doubters by nailing an impressive 50-yard field goal to go up 6-0.
  • The Falcons start moving down the field. Julio Jones catches a screen pass and has daylight to run free. Jairus Byrd knocks the ball loose and forces the fumble. Corey White recovers in the end zone for a touchback. Huge swing play.

2nd Quarter

  • Saints take advantage of the turnover. Khiry Robinson breaks off a nice 21-yard run, then punches it in the end zone on first and goal for the touchdown. Saints take a healthy 13-0 lead.
  • Eight different offensive Saints players have touched the ball so far.
  • Falcons finally start moving the ball and the Saints defense starts letting up. Matt Ryan has had all day to throw. Some bad pass protection by the secondary and weak tackling. Most frustrating is giving up a 3rd and 12 in the red zone. Not a good series for the defense.
  • Curtis Lofton is helped off the field by trainers, keeping his right arm straight. He goes to the locker room. Later reported as a neck injury. Return is questionable.
  • Roddy White grabs a touchdown catch. Falcons cut the Saints lead to 13-7.
  • Pierre Thomas looking like his usual, reliable self. Breaking tackles and picking up first downs on the regular.
  • The Saints answer right back with another touchdown of their own with just 20 seconds left in the first half. Brees throws a quick pass to Brandin Cooks for his first career NFL touchdown. Saints lead 20-7.
  • Roddy White catches a deep throw with 4 seconds remaining to put the Falcons in field goal range. .
  • The Falcons kick a field goal as time expires. Saints take 20-10 lead into half time.
  • Saints did not punt once in the first half.

3rd Quarter

  • Matt Ryan is one slippery SOB. He did a good job evading the Saints pass rush.
  • Keenan Lewis is not in the game for the Saints defense to start the half. Comes out of the locker room and checks into the game half way through the series.
  • Curtis Lofton also returns to the game during the series.
  • Matt Ryan converts 3rd and 10 with a 17-yard pass to Julio Jones. Patrick Robinson on the coverage.
  • Falcons finish an impressive offensive drive with a touchdown pass to Levine Toilolo. Score is now 20-17. Nerves start kicking in.
  • Consecutive pass interference and illegal hands to the face penalties by the Falcons give the Saints first down.
  • Brees and company still having trouble completing the deep stuff.
  • Thomas Morstead has to punt for the first time when the offense stalls.
  • Colston and Brees connect on a beautiful 57-yard catch and run to put the Saints in the red zone.
  • The entire affair is negated when Brees is then picked off in the end zone by Ronaldo McClain. Totally deflating.
  • Matt Ryan throws a short dump off pass to Smith that turns into a 54-yard touchdown thanks to an embarrassing string of missed tackles. The whole play should have been soundtracked to the Benny Hill theme song. Falcons take the 24-20 lead and the quarter ends.

4th Quarter

  • After a nice screen pass to Pierre Thomas for a healthy 19-yard pickup, Mark Ingram finds the hole and breaks off a sweet run for another 19-yards. He follows that up with a short stretch run to the outside for the touchdown. Saints re-take the lead 27-24.
  • Tyrunn Walker gets the Saints first sack of the day. Falcons are forced to punt.
  • Morstead booms a 58-yard punt, gets the roll, and pins the Falcons on their 12-yard line. A holding penalty on the Falcons pushes the ball back to their 6-yard line. Great field position for the Saints.
  • Interesting stat: the Falcons have 5 receivers with 50+ yards.
  • Jacquizz Rogers gets the handoff, puts a spin move on Kenny Vaccaro, and bust through into the end zone for the touchdown. Falcons take back the lead 31-27.
  • Completions to Jimmy Graham, Pierre Thomas, and Marques Colston move the Saints down the field.
  • Linebacker Parys Haralson checked into the game as an eligible receiver in the goal line package.
  • Mark Ingram punches it into the end zone on 2nd and 3 for his second touchdown of the game. The Saints pull ahead once again 34-31. The Falcons take over with 1:20 remaining in the game.
  • Patrick Robinson is laying face down on the field in pain.
  • Saints defense again lets the Falcons move easily down the field to get in field goal range. Very frustrating.
  • Matt Bryant makes a 51-yard field goal to tie the game at 34 as time expires.
  • Matt Ryan finishes regulation with 448 pass yards, a new Falcons franchise record.

Overtime

  • Saints win the coin toss and elect to receive first.
  • Marques Colston makes a short catch then fumbles it away, recovered by the Falcons in Saints territory. Colston is livid on the sideline.
  • Matt Bryant makes a 52-yard field goal to give the Falcons the win 37-34.