In their first season back in New Orleans after the devastation of hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Saints (2-0) came into tonight’s contest against the Atlanta Falcons (2-0) as the surprise team of the young NFL season, New Orleans went on the road and defeated the Cleveland Browns 19-14 in week one, before beating the Packers 34-27 in Green Bay last week.
Tonight however, was special for several reasons: this was the “Domecoming.” The first football game in a refurbished Louisiana Superdome, a place that had sheltered hundreds of residents fleeing the wrath of one of the deadliest storm in the history of the United States mere months earlier. It was also the first home game for Sean Payton and Drew Brees in the beginning of their Saints’ tenure.
Tonight, the Superdome was a football cathedral once again, and who better to face for the reopening of football in New Orleans than the despised Atlanta Falcons? This is one night that the NFL schedule-makers certainly got right.
The Saints didn’t waste any time, as Steve Gleason blocked Atlanta’s first punt which was recovered by Curtis Deloatch for a touchdown. Leading 7-0, New Orleans would harass Michael Vick all night, while scoring 16 more points and allowing the Falcons only three. The Saints would win the game 23-3, moving their season record to 3-0 and taking sole possession of the NFC South lead. The Dome reopening was a success on all fronts, and this game marked the beginning of what is likely to become the golden era of Saints football.
Here is how the game unfolded:
- The Falcons won the toss and elected to receive the ball. Atlanta would face a third down on the third play of the game, when linebacker Scott Fujita tackled Michael Vick and forced a fumble that the Saints failed to recover, however forcing the Falcons to punt.
- On the ensuing Falcons punt, safety Steve Gleason would dart through the middle and block Michael Koenen’s punt, which was recovered in the end zone by safety Curtis Deloatch for a touchdown!!! The Saints would take an early 7-0 lead after John Carney’s made extra point.
NO: 7 - ATL: 0
- On their second possession of the game, the Falcons would get one first down, and then on third down, Michael Vick would find Ashley Lelie for a monster 38-yard reception to the Saints’ nine-yard line. On third-and-goal, Vick’s pass to tight end Alge Crumpler wuld be dropped, forcing the Falcons to attempt a field goal by their newly-signed kicker, former Saints Morten Andersen, who would split the uprights.
NO: 7 - ATL: 3
- With 9:37 left in the quarter, the Saints’ offense would finally take the field for the first time. The Saints would immediately face a third down and go three-and-out following an incompletion by Drew Brees.
- Following Steve Weatherford’s punt, the Falcons would take over at their own 42-yard line and in their third possession of the game, go three-and-out again, with Michael Vick showing early struggles throwing the ball.
- The Saints would take over at their 20-yard line, with Brees finding Joe Horn and then Devery Henderson to move the Saints into Falcons’ territory. On third-and-8 from just inside Atlanta’s territory, Brees would hit Marques Colston for the first time of the night for a first down. A conversion that would be supplemented by a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Falcons’ Patrick Kerney for a hit to the head on Drew Brees. On the ensuing play, the Saints would perfectly execute a double reverse play to Devery Henderson for a touchdown.
NO: 14 - ATL: 3
- On the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons would have a good return, but go three-and-out once again, with Scott Fujita breaking up a Michael Vick’s pass on third-and-6, forcing yet another punt by the Falcons.
- The Saints would take over at their 20-yard line after a touchback and face a third-and-2 at their own 28-yard line as the quarter expired.
- After an 18-yard gain by Deuce McAllister was called back by a holding penalty on Jammal Brown, the Saints would fail to convert on third down and punt, still leading 14-3.
- Atlanta would once again get the ball with good field position at their 36-yard line, and running back Warrick Dunn would lead the Falcons into Saints’ territory. After a false start by the Falcons, defensive end Will Smith would tip a Vick’s pass to force the Falcons to punt again, as the Saints’ defense flexed its muscles.
- The Saints would take over at their 15-yard line, and get the running game going, with Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister. The Saints would get into Falcons’ territory on passes from Brees to Marques Colston and Joe Horn. From Atlanta’s 19-yard line, the Saints would eventually stall on an incomplete pass from Brees to Bush. John Carney would make a 37-yard field goal, extending the Saints’ lead to 14 points.
NO: 17 - ATL: 3
- Following the kickoff, the Falcons would yet again get great field position following at good return and a a penalty on Curtis Deloatch, putting Atlanta at the Saints’ 42-yard line. Atlanta would eventually get into the red zone on a 4th-and-one pass from Vick to Alge Crumpler. The completion was Vick’s first in his last seven attempts. The Falcons would get deep into the Saints’ red zone at the two-minute warning. On third-and-goal, Fred Thomas would break up a pass intended to Ashley Lelie. On the field goal attempt, cornerback Josh Bullocks would explode through the Falcons defensive line and block the field goal, keeping the Falcons to three points.
- The Saints would take over deep in their own territory and start with a run by Deuce McAllister, followed by a completion to Marques Colston. The Saints would get close to midfield on a run by Reggie Bush. A personal foul on the Falcons would get the Saints deeper into Falcons’ territory at the 34-yard line. John Carney would make a 51-yard field goal as the clock expired, giving the Saints a 20-3 lead at halftime.
NO: 20 - ATL: 3
- The Saints received the kickoff and on the first play of the half, Brees found Marques Colston for a 29-yard reception. New Orleans eventually goes on a lengthy drive that consumes nearly half the quarter and stalls at the Falcons’ two-yard line. John Carney makes a chip-shot field goal and the Saints take a 23-3 lead with 7:14 left in the quarter.
NO: 23 - ATL: 3
- Taking over at their 20-yard line after the kickoff, the Falcons would go three-and-out for the fourth time of the night.
- Saints take over after the Falcons’ punt, but go three-and-out as well. Weatherford’s punt pins the Falcons deep inside their 20-yard line.
- Starting at their 10-yard line, the Falcons would once again fail to gain a first down, as Michael Vick was harassed by the Saints’ defense. With 1:04 left in the quarter, the Saints would get the ball back.
- New Orleans would start at its 24-yard line and run the ball with Bush and McAllister to bring the quarter to an end.
- The Saints would keep the ball on the ground, alternating between Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister to get into Falcons’ territory. On 3rd-and-7, Kevin Mathis would sack Brees and force the Saints into a punt. This was Brees’ first sack of the night.
- The Falcons would do nothing with their possession, as the Saints’ ownership of the Falcons tonight would continue.
- Saints would take over at their 42-yard line and continue the second half ineptitude, going three-and-out as well and punting the ball back to Atlanta.
- Falcons would return the punt near their 20-yard line and Michael Vick would guide Atlanta into Saints’ territory using his legs. On 4th-and-12 from the Saints 44-yard line, Michael Vick would convert, keeping the Falcons’ drive alive. Atlanta would eventually fail on their second fourth down o the drive and turn the ball over on downs.
- The Saints take over at their own 30-yard line. After two runs by Deuce McAllister, Brees would find Colston for a first down, keeping the drive alive and bleeding more clock. Saints eventually stall on 4th-and-1 from Atlanta’s 45-yard line and punt.
- Falcons take over as the two-minute warning hits. Atlanta fails to move the ball past midfield and the game ends with a Saints 23-3 win.
- Saints Win! Saints Win!
How far can the 3-0 Saints go this year?
This poll is closed
Win the division, but lose their first playoff game
All the way baby, 16-0!!! Who Dat!
Wild Card. Win one playoff game, but that’s it, alas
Call me crazy, but they will go to the NFC Championship game
Depends on how many burgers they eat before each game