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Injured Saints Fall to the Falcons in 20-17 Loss

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The Saints fought well, but a slew of injuries and self-inflicted penalties led them to a 20-17 loss against the Falcons

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After vanquishing the Carolina Panthers (8-4) last Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the New Orleans Saints (9-4) didn’t have a whole lot of time to catch their breath before they had to travel to Atlanta and face another NFC South foe in the Falcons (8-5). In a matchup with absolutely huge playoffs implications, the Saints started in promising fashion, taking their first drive deep into Falcons territory, only to stall, but most importantly see their rookie phenom Alvin Kamara injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit by linebacker Deion Jones. The half would continue with A.J. Klein, Trey Hendrickson and Senio Kelemete being the next Saints to exit the game with injuries.

The Saints defense however would bow its neck and limit the Falcons to 10 points in the first half, with rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore making his return to the field felt with an interception of Matt Ryan in the waning seconds of the half. The Saints having already scored 10 points on a field goal and a touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Tommylee Lewis, would miss the chance to go up by three points, as a converted 47-yard field goal by Wil Lutz was nullified by an alignment penalty as the clock expired.

In the second half, the Saints started with a bang, when safety Chris Banjo playing for the injured Kenny Vaccaro picked off a pass from Matt Ryan to set up a touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Michael Thomas. After a third quarter in which the Saints barely had the ball save from the early minutes, New Orleans would find itself trailing 20-17 and needing a drive to win or tie the game. Drew Brees would then do the unforgivable by throwing an interception in the end zone to Deion Jones. The Saints would have another shot, forcing a fumble by Devonta Freeman in the ultimate seconds of the game, but the Falcons recovered. Sean Payton, trying to call a timeout, would be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after yelling at an official and coming onto the field.

The Falcons walk out of the game with a hard-fought 20-17 win, with the playoffs and the NFC South still in range for them. The Saints meanwhile have a mini-bye to lick their wounds before facing the New York Jets in the Superdome the Sunday after next.

Here’s a quarter by quarter recap of the game:

1st HALF

1st Quarter

  • Saints win the toss and elect to receive, trying to start fast!
  • Tommylee Lewis returns the kickoff to the 30-yard line
  • Saints get into Falcons territory on a pass to Alvin Kamara
  • Saints get into the red zone on a pass to Josh Hill
  • Saints stall and Wil Lutz makes a 34-yard field goal
  • NO: 3 - ATL: 0
  • Falcons take over at their 25-yard line
  • Julio Jones catches a slant and rumbles 38 yards into the Saints red zone
  • Falcons stall in the red zone and Matt Bryant makes a 28-yard field goal
  • NO: 3 - ATL: 3
  • Saints start at their 5-yard line after a penalty on the kickoff return
  • Saints get near midfield on a pass to Brandon Coleman
  • On 3rd and 8, Saints stall and have to punt
  • Falcons take over at their 19-yard line
  • Falcons go three-and-out and punt
  • Saints take over at their 26-yard line
  • Saints face a 3rd and 6 at their 30-yard line as the quarter ends

2nd Quarter

  • Drew Brees finds Michael Thomas for a big pass into Falcons territory
  • Saints stall on another 3rd and 6 and have to punt
  • Falcons take over at their 10-yard line
  • Atlanta gets near midfield on a pass to Julio Jones
  • On 3rd and 11, Falcons get a roughing the passer penalty on Sheldon Rankins
  • Falcons get into the red zone on a pass to tight end Austin Hooper
  • Tevin Coleman rushes into the end zone on 3rd and goal for a touchdown
  • NO: 3 - ATL: 10
  • Saints take over at their 33-yard line after Tommylee Lewis’ kickoff return
  • Saints get into Falcons territory on a 14-yard run by Mark Ingram
  • At the 2-minute warning, Saints have a 1st and 10 at Atlanta’s 26-yard line
  • Drew Brees finds Tommylee Lewis for a 26-yard touchdown pass
  • NO: 10 - ATL: 10
  • Falcons return the kickoff to their 32-yard line
  • Falcons get into Saints territory passing the ball
  • Marshon Lattimore intercepts Matt Ryan and returns it to the Falcons 30-yard line
  • Wil Lutz makes a 47-yard field goal that is nullified by a penalty as the half ends

2nd HALF

3rd Quarter

  • Falcons return the kickoff to their 24-yard line
  • Chris Banjo intercepts a pass from Matt Ryan to Austin Hooper
  • Saints take the ball at the Falcons’ 30-yard line
  • Saints get into the Falcons red zone on a 21-yard screen play to Ingram
  • Drew Brees finds Michael Thomas for a touchdown
  • NO: 17 - ATL: 10
  • Falcons take over at their 25-yard line after a touchback
  • Falcons get into Saints territory on consecutive Saints penalties
  • Atlanta gets into the red zone on running plays
  • Marcus Williams intercepts Matt Ryan in the endzone, Ryan’s 3rd INT of the game
  • Saints take over at their 4-yard line, where Williams made a ill-advised return
  • Saints get one first down but stall and punt
  • Falcons take over at their 27-yard line
  • Hau’oli Kikaha sacks Matt Ryan to force a third and 20
  • Saints force the Falcons to punt on 4th and 14
  • Saints start from their 24-yard line
  • Brees gets sacked by Dontari Poe and Saints go three-and-out. Punt
  • Falcons start from their 32-yard line
  • Saints defensive penalties are keeping the Falcons offense afloat in this one
  • Falcons cross midfield as the quarter ends with New Orleans up 7

4th Quarter

  • Another Saints holding gives Atlanta yet another first down
  • Falcons get into the red zone on a pass to Julio Jones
  • Matt Ryan finds Mohamed Sanu for a touchdown
  • NO: 17 - ATL: 17
  • Tommylee Lewis returns the kickoff to the 23-yard line
  • Brees holds on to the ball for a lifetime and gets sacked, Saints punt again
  • Falcons take over at their 30-yard line
  • Falcons get into Saints territory in two plays
  • On 3rd and 11 from the Saints 34-yard line, P.J. Williams breaks up a pass
  • Matt Bryant makes a 52-yard field goal
  • NO: 17 - ATL: 20
  • Saints take the ball at their 20-yard line
  • Brees finds Michael Thomas for 35 yards into Falcons territory
  • Mark Ingram gets a crucial first down to keep the drive alive
  • At the 2-minute warning, the Saints face a 3rd-and-1
  • Saints try to throw, fail to convert and decide to go for it
  • Drew Brees sneaks it in for the first down
  • Ted Ginn Jr. gets a first down at the Falcons 11-yard line
  • Drew Brees is intercepted by Deion Jones in the end zone
  • Falcons take over at their 20-yard line
  • Sean Payton gets an unsportmanlike penalty to give the Falcons a 1st down
  • Falcons kneel on the ball and win the game
  • Final Score: NO: 17 - ATL: 20

Poll

What are your feelings after the Saints loss to the Falcons tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Sean Payton is a stubborn, sometimes terrible playcaller
    (100 votes)
  • 28%
    Injuries caught up with the team, we’ll get them at home
    (112 votes)
  • 13%
    Big time game by the defense. Total letdown by the offense
    (51 votes)
  • 21%
    Missing Kamara was the deciding factor
    (83 votes)
  • 11%
    I’m out of burgers man. Out of burgers
    (44 votes)
390 votes total Vote Now