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Saints Make it 10 in a Row, Bury Falcons’ Playoffs Hopes with 31-17 Victory

Saints workmanlike in Thanksgiving night 31-17 defeat of the Falcons. Life’s Good!

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

There was no turkey to be eaten late Thursday afternoon for the New Orleans Saints (10-1), instead they were tasked with plucking the pesky Atlanta Falcons (4-7) in a matchup pitting a desperate team against one that is vying for the NFC conference’s top spot.

Here is how the big rivalry game between Atlanta and New Orleans unfolded tonight in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

1st HALF

The Falcons won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Saints then proceeded to drive 75 yards 3:49 minutes to score a touchdown, a pass from Drew Brees to newly returned wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. After the point-after-touchdown conversion, the Saints were ahead, 7-0.

On the Falcons’ first possession of the game, Atlanta would drive all the way down inside the Saints’ red zone. On a 3rd and 2, safety Marcus Williams strips Matt Ryan of the ball, which the same Marcus Williams recovers for the Saints at their own 13-yard line.

The Saints would then go three-and-out with Drew Brees throwing his second interception of the season, a pass intended for Keith Kirkwood picked off by Falcons safety Damontae Kazee in Saints territory.

Taking over at the Saints 39-yard line, the Falcons would once again get into the red zone, but New Orleans defense would make a great stand after the Falcons had a short field, limiting Atlanta to a Matt Bryant 32-yard field goal that narrowed the Saints lead to 7-3.

On their ensuing possession, the third of the game, New Orleans would return to using its running game to get into Atlanta territory. New Orleans would drive all the way down near Atlanta’s goal line, but stall at Atlanta’s 4-yard line. Wil Lutz would then make a 22-yard field goal, giving the Saints a 10-3 lead with 9:09 left in the second quarter.

On the Falcons’ ensuing drive, the Saints defense would once again show his recent improvement, with defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins sacking Matt Ryan on a second down play, forcing a third and long that the Falcons would fail to convert.

New Orleans would then take over at their own 42-yard line and drive 58 yards while using 4:10 on the clock, capping their drive with a touchdown pass from Drew Brees to wide receiver Austin Carr. The Saints at this point of the game led 17-3 with well over a 5 minutes edge of time of possession over the Falcons.

Starting at their own 25-yard line, the Falcons would drive to midfield on their next possession, then showing the reckless abandon of a desperate team, the Falcons would convert on a 4th and 7 just on their side of midfield. Driving deeper into Saints territory, Julio Jones would then fumble the ball on a hit by linebacker Alex Anzalone. Safety Vonn Bell recovers the fumble, with 17 seconds left in the half.

The Saints would then take a knee to end the half with New Orleans ahead 17-3.

*

2nd HALF

Having deferred the toss to the second half, the Falcons would have great field position to start the second half, after returning Wil Lutz’s kickoff to their own 40-yard line. However, the Saints defense would hold Atlanta to a four-and-out, with the Falcons going for it on 4th and 2 from their own 48-yard line. Alex Anzalone would break up a Matt Ryan pass intended for Calvin Ridley on the play, giving New Orleans the ball at Atlanta’s 48.

The Saints would start with a negative play, losing three yards on a play with Taysom Hill at quarterback, then New Orleans would fail to convert on a 3rd and 5, with Brees overthrowing a wide open Michael Thomas. This forced a punt by New Orleans, with Thomas Morstead pinning the Falcons inside their 10-yard line.

Starting from their 9-yard line, the Falcons once would be held to a gain of only nine yards and forced to punt the ball back to the Saints.

New Orleans this time would drive 70 yards down the field, using mostly the running game with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, capping the drive with yet another touchdown pass from Drew Brees, this time to tight end Dan Arnold, putting the Saints ahead by 21, with a score of 24-3.

Starting at their 21-yard line on their ensuing possession, the Falcons drive 79 yards for a touchdown drive that saw Calvin Ridley rip off a 50-yard reception on 3rd and 13. Matt Ryan would find Ridley again on 4th and goal, narrowing the Saints’ lead to 24-10 with 22 seconds left in the third quarter.

Returning the kickoff to their own 37-yard line, the Saints would proceed to go three-and-out and punt the ball back to Atlanta.

On the Falcons’ next drive, Atlanta would drive 12 yards before a Matt Ryan’s pass intended for Julio Jones would be tipped by Tyeler Davison and intercepted by A.J. Klein at the Falcons’ 22-yard line.

The Saints would then run the ball into Atlanta’s red zone with Taysom Hill seeing the bulk of the carries, but on third and goal, Drew Brees would find rookie wide receiver Keith Kirkwood for a touchdown, Brees’ fourth of the evening. The Saints restored their 21-point lead at 31-10.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons would return the ball to their 39-yard line and in a drive that took 5:28 off the clock, Atlanta would drive to the Saints’ 2-yard line on a pass to Calvin Ridley, but Marshon Lattimore would force a fumble by Ridley, that cornerback Eli Apple recovered, giving the Saints the ball back at their own 2-yard line.

Saints would then go three-and-out, after two runs and an incomplete pass from Drew Brees to Dan Arnold. Thomas Morstead’s punt from inside his own 10-yard line would be fair-caught by Atlanta at their own 41-yard line.

Matt Ryan would then drive the Falcons for one last hurrah, finding running back Tevin Coleman for a touchdown to narrow the Saints’ lead to 31-17. the following onside kick would be caught by Alvin Kamara, ending the game on kneel-downs by Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense.

Winners of 10 in a row now, the Saints at 10-1 regain first place in the NFC ahead of the Rams’ game this upcoming Sunday.

Saints Win, Saints Win!!!

*

1st Quarter

  • Falcons win the toss and defer to the second half
  • Saints take over at their 25-yard line
  • Alvin Kamara rushes for 18 yards on the first play of the game
  • Saints rush into Falcons territory with Alvin Kamara
  • Drew Brees finds Tommylee Lewis for a touchdown
  • NO: 7 - ATL: 0
  • Falcons take over at their 25-yard line
  • Falcons get into Saints territory on a Matt Ryan pass to Mohamed Sanu
  • Falcons get into the red zone on a pass to Julio Jones
  • Matt Ryan fumbles the ball in the red zone and Saints recover
  • Saints take over at their 13-yard line
  • Drew Brees throws his second interception of the year on 3rd and 4
  • Falcons take over at the Saints’ 39-yard line
  • Falcons get into the Saints’ red zone on a pass to Calvin Ridley
  • On 3rd and 13, the Falcons stall in the red zone
  • Matt Bryant makes a 32-yard field goal
  • NO: 7 - ATL: 3
  • Saints take over at their 25-yard line
  • Saints get into Falcons territory on a rush by Mark Ingram
  • Saints are into Atlanta territory as the quarter ends

2nd Quarter

  • Brees is sacked by Takkarist McKinley on 2nd and 5
  • Saints convert a 3rd and 11 after the sack on a pass to Michael Thomas
  • Saints get into the red zone on a run by Mark Ingram
  • Saints stall in the red zone and Wil Lutz makes a 22-yard field goal
  • The Saints drive took 8 minutes and 26 seconds!!!
  • NO: 10 - ATL: 3
  • Falcons take over at their 25-yard line
  • Sheldon Rankins sacks Matt Ryan on 2nd down, his 7th of the year
  • Falcons go three-and-out and have to punt
  • Saints take over at their 42-yard line after a Kamara 7 yards return
  • Saints get into Falcons territory on a pass to tight end Dan Arnold
  • Saints get into the red zone on a run by Alvin Kamara
  • Drew Brees finds Austin Carr for a touchdown
  • NO: 17 - ATL: 3
  • Falcons take over at their 25-yard line
  • Falcons cross midfield as the two-minute warning hits
  • Matt Ryan is sacked by Cam Jordan on 3rd down
  • Falcons go for it on 4th and 7 and convert
  • Julio Jones catches a long pass and fumbles, Vonn Bell recovers
  • The Saints take a knee and go into halftime up 17-3

3rd Quarter

  • Saints kickoff and Falcons return it to their 40-yard line
  • On 4th and 2 Falcons go for it again and fail to convert
  • Saints take the ball at Atlanta’s 48-yard line
  • Saints stall at Atlanta’s 44-yard line and punt the ball
  • Atlanta takes over inside their 10-yard line and go three-and-out
  • Falcons punt and Saints take over at their own 30-yard line
  • Saints get into Falcons territory on a pass to tight end Ben Watson
  • Drew Brees finds tight end Dan Arnold for a touchdown
  • NO: 24 - ATL: 3
  • Falcons take over at their 21-yard line after their kickoff return
  • On 4th and 2 near midfield, the Falcons go for it again and convert
  • On 3rd and 13, Matt Ryan finds Calvin Ridley for 50 yards
  • On 4th and goal from the Saints 2-yard line, the Falcons go for it
  • Matt Ryan finds Calvin Ridley for a touchdown
  • NO: 24 - ATL: 10
  • Saints take over at their 37-yard line
  • Alvin Kamara gains two yards to the Saints 39-yard line as the quarter ends

4th Quarter

  • Saints go three-and-out and punt the ball.
  • After two penalties, the Falcons are pinned at their 10-yard line
  • Matt Ryan’s pass is tipped by Tyeler Davison and intercepted by A.J. Klein
  • Saints take the ball at Atlanta’s 22-yard line
  • Saints drive into the red zone on the feet of Taysom Hill
  • Drew Brees finds Keith Kirkwood for a touchdown pass
  • NO: 31 - ATL: 10
  • Falcons return the kickoff to their 39-yard line
  • Atlanta gets into Saints territory on a pass to Julio Jones
  • Cam Jordan sacks Matt Ryan on 3rd and 6 from midfield
  • On 4th and 13 and convert to Julio Jones
  • Falcons go for it again on fourth down from the Saints 30-yard line
  • Calvin Ridley converts, but fumbles the ball at the Saints’ 2-yard line
  • Marshon Lattimore forced the fumble and Eli Apple recovers the ball
  • Saints take over at their 2-yard line
  • After two runs, the Saints stall on an incomplete pass by Drew Brees to Dan Arnold
  • Atlanta fair-catches the punt at their own 41-yard line
  • Falcons get into Saints territory on one play
  • Falcons get into the Saints’ red zone at the two-minute warning
  • Matt Ryan finds Tevin Coleman for a touchdown
  • NO: 31 - ATL: 17
  • Alvin Kamara recovers the Falcons’ onside kick near midfield
  • Saints take a knee to end the game
  • Final Score: NO: 31 - ATL: 17

Poll

Who was your Saints player or unit of the game vs. the Falcons?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Drew Brees, because he is: MVP! MVP! Drew Brees!
    (36 votes)
  • 65%
    The D-Fence! D-Fence! forcing four turnovers and recording 6 sacks!
    (223 votes)
  • 8%
    Lewis, Arnold, Kirkwood and Carr catching all the TDs
    (29 votes)
  • 12%
    Taysom Hill, whose sole purpose in life is to truck defenders
    (42 votes)
  • 3%
    Hey Saints, where was my forty burger??
    (12 votes)
342 votes total Vote Now