Imagine, if you will, being a quarterback in the NFL whose line struggles so badly that you’re sacked nine times in a single game. Now, imagine in that same game you throw an interception to a defensive linemen who proceeds to stiff arm you into meme-land.
That is the life of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on November 28, 2019.
Cameron Jordan had a four sack game, Marcus Davenport chipped in two more, and interceptions by Shy Tuttle and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson all contributed to the defense providing one of the best performances in New Orleans Saints history. Not only was the defense stifling, but the offense led by Taysom Hill’s two touchdowns (one receiving, one rushing) put up 26 points. Hill also blocked (technically tipped as the punt still went forward) a punt in this game. Finally, they finished it off with a turkey salute on the Falcons field. Not many football memories get better than that.
While there have certainly been some bad memories for Saints fans in their rivalry against the Falcons, recent history is far more plentiful with the good ones. Head Coach Sean Payton is 18-9 against the Falcons during his tenure with the Saints.
Other great rivalry wins like winning on Christmas Eve in 2017 bring a smile to any Who Dat! The game wasn’t as close as the 23-13 score might indicate, as the Falcons scored with two minutes remaining in the game on a Tevin Coleman reception from Ryan. Garbage time points. Sure, they count, but they cloudy up how the impressive win who were atop the division and headed for a deep playoff run.
A 54 yard pass to Ted Ginn, Jr., a 26 yard rush by Ingram and three Wil Lutz field goals put up the points needed to seal the game. Oh, and that guy Jordan added two more sacks. He sure seems to like playing against the Falcons. More importantly lets not forget one of the most memorable interceptions of all time: Marshon Lattimore’s butt-ception of Ryan.
The greatest win over the Falcons has us traveling all the way back to 2006. The re-opening of the Dome, Rebirth. There are moments in sports that transcend it being just a game and this was one of those moments. When Steve Gleason blocked the punt and Curtis DeLoatch recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown you just knew there was no chance the Saints were going to lose that game.
All of New Orleans, the gulf south and even the country were behind the Saints in that game. No one was going to take that game away from the city and you could feel it in the roar of the crowd. Michael Vick never looked more pedestrian. Which any football fan who had been playing Madden in those years could tell you was a big shock. Warrick Dunn was coming off a Pro-Bowl season an couldn’t find any running room against the Saints defense. Everything was set up for a historic night.
It’s not just a great football memory of a team beating their bitter rivals, but a memory of of what brought everyone together. The fact that it was a complete shellacking of a rival was only a cherry on top of an cake so sweet it’s been immortalized with a statue outside of the Louisiana Superdome.
Not every great memory of beating the Falcons has come in the past decade. In fact the first time these two teams matched up back in 1967 the Saints took the victory at Tulane Stadium 27-24 as Kent Kramer brought in a seven yard pass from Billy Kilmer to take the lead in the 4th quarter and clinch it. While Kilmer’s best years would be spent later in Washington he was still able to help start off the most underrated rivalry in the NFL on the right track.
Fast forward to 1979 and you’ll find Saints great Archie Manning doing a bit better than what we saw before in the article from a few days ago. 264 yards passing with a touchdown while adding 20 more yards on the ground en route to a 37-6 victory in what would end up being the franchise’s first non-losing season in it’s history. (This win actually took them to 7-6, but they’d lose to the Raiders and then Chargers before a win on the road against the Rams brought them to 8-8.)
Oh, and while you might expect Payton to lead the highest scoring game taking on the Falcons (and you’d be right) he wasn’t the first one to do it. The 2003 Saints squad led by Jim Haslett won 45-17 in Atlanta. The second best quarterback in black and gold history, Aaron Brooks, went 23/30 for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns while Fred McAfee converted a fake punt to help keep the momentum going leading to another score. (What is it with great special teams plays in wins over the Falcons?)
As I mentioned Payton’s squads have also put up big points against the Falcons including a 45-16 win in 2011 where Brees set another record (shocker) and the petty version of Payton never allowed them to take the foot off the gas scoring another touchdown with a little over two minutes remaining in the 4th quarter after the outcome had been well determined. Then, in 2018 the Saints would put up 43 points in another win over the Falcons.
There have been many great memories of Saints wins over the Falcons and we want to hear about yours! In the comments below tell us where you were, what the game was and the outcome of some of the best wins over the worst foe!