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Saints Wild Comeback Bid Falls Short, Lose 27-25 to Falcons

A case of too little too late for New Orleans

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

A week after defeating the defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New Orleans Saints were back in the Caesars Superdome to face their bitter rivals the Atlanta Falcons. The Dirty Birds were coming off a disappointing home-loss to the Carolina Panthers, and trying to stay in the NFC playoffs picture.

The Saints’ defense came out on fire, forcing the Falcons to punt early. On the other side of the ball, New Orleans could seemingly run at will in the first quarter, but the Saints receivers could not catch a cold, let alone a ball, with crucial drops by Adam Trautman and Marquez Callaway. Matt Ryan however, would find his rhythm, juking defenders, gaining first downs with his legs, and playing like his life depended on it. The Falcons would take a 10-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, having completed a 15-play 92-yard drive for the lone touchdown of the game to that point.

The second half would start just as inauspiciously for the Saints, after a meager field goal made the score 10-3 Atlanta, Matt Ryan and his merry band of misfits wide receivers would drive 80 yards for another touchdown, with Ryan this time running casually into the end zone for a 17-3 lead for Atlanta.

In the fourth quarter, with the Saints’ offense having managed only another field goal to make the score 17-6, Sean Payton would insert Taysom Hill, providing the offense with a spark that would be short-lived, as Trevor Siemian would be reinserted in the game and promptly fumble a ball that the Falcons would return to the Saints’ five-yard line. Matt Ryan would then find Olamide Zaccheaus for the latter’s second touchdown of the day and a 24-6 lead for the Falcons.

The Saints would quickly respond, driving for a touchdown with Trevor Siemian finding Marquez Callaway for the team’s first touchdown of the day, which came in the fourth quarter. An illustration of how inefficient the Saints’ offense was today. With a little under eight minutes left in the game, the Saints’ trailed 24-13.

Things would then get interesting, as the Saints would force a punt, and aided by multiple penalties on Atlanta, New Orleans would find the end zone, with Trevor Siemian hitting Marquez Callaway for a touchdown to make the score 24-19, after a failed two-point conversion.

The defense would once again force Atlanta to go three-and-out, with Cam Jordan sacking Matt Ryan and forcing the Falcons to give the ball back to the Saints. New Orleans would then improbably take the lead, when Siemian found Kenny Stills for a touchdown from the 10-yard line to give the Saints a 25-24 lead with a minute left in the game, after failing on the two-point conversion yet again.

However, it took just one play for Atlanta to regain all the momentum, with Matt Ryan finding Cordarelle Patterson for a 64-yard pass down the right sideline, burning rookie corner Paulson Adebo in the process. The Falcons would kick a field goal and win the game 27-25, thwarting the Saints’ comeback attempt, which came a little too late.


Below is a live quarter-by-quarter description of how the game unfolded:


FIRST HALF

First Quarter

Saints win the toss and defer to the second half. Atlanta starts at their 25-yard line. On the first play, Kyle Pitts beats Marshon Lattimore on a route but drops a long pass from Matt Ryan. On third down, Ryan finds Cordarelle Patterson for 34 yards into Saints’ territory. Falcons eventually stall at the Saints’ 39-yard line and elect to punt.

Saints start at their 8-yard line, and start with a 9 yards run by Mark Ingram. Saints continue running the ball with Ingram and move to the 40-yard line. Saints eventually face a 3rd-and-11 and a long pass to Kenny Stills is incomplete. Saints punt.

Falcons start from their 22-yard line and Ryan finds Kyle Pitts all the way to the Saints’ 40-yard line for a 39-yard gain. On 3rd-and-4, Ryan finds Patterson for a first down to the Saints’ 20-yard line. Falcons eventually stall at the Saints’ 13-yard line and Younghoe Koo makes a 32-yard field goal.

ATL: 3 - NO: 0

Deonte Harris returns the kickoff 23 yards to the 24-yard line. Saints pick up a first down on two running plays. Alvin Kamara then runs to the Falcons 42-yard line. Saints use only the running game to the Falcons’ 37-yard line. Siemian finds Deonte Harris to the Falcons’ 28-yard line for a first down. Saints then commit a holding penalty and a false start as the quarter ends.


Second Quarter

Saints start the quarter with a 1st-and-25 incompletion, then incur a delay of game penalty. New Orleans is going in the wrong direction in this drive. Saints face a 3rd-and-29 and stall at the Falcons’ 45-yard line and punt.

Falcons take over at their 25-yard line. run two plays and face a 3rd-and-6, Saints stuff the play and force a punt.

Saints start at their 35-yard line, after a short running play, Siemian finds Tre’Quan Smith for 19 yards into Falcons territory. Saints face a 3rd-and-3 at cannot complete and go for it, but Adam Trautman drops a perfect pass from Siemian. Falcons take over on downs.

Falcons take over at their 36-yard line and quickly face a 3rd-and-9, and Ryan finds Russell Gage close to a first down, but it’s 4th-and-inches. Falcons go for it and are stuffed at their own 44-yard line. Saints take the ball back.

Saints quickly face a 3rd-and-12 after a holding penalty. and stall. Saints punt again. Falcons are pinned within their 10-yard line.

Falcons take over at their 8-yard line. Ryan finds Gage for a first down and Atlanta gets out of the shadow of their end zone. Matt Ryan finds another first down with his legs. Falcons continue to drive as the two-minute warning hits. Falcons face a 3rd-and-5 from their 36-yard line and Ryan finds Kyle Pitts for 16 yards into Saints territory. Falcons get to the Saints 41-yard line and Ryan finds Russell Gage to the Saints’ 20-yard line. Ryan finds Pitts to the Saints’ 13-yard line with 16 seconds left in the half. A Saints’ penalty on Kwon Alexander gives the Falcons a first down at the Saints’ 3-yard line. Ryan finds Olamide Zaccheaus for a touchdown. The drive went 15 plays and 92 yards

ATL: 10 - NO: 0

Saints return the kickoff for 20 yards and the clock runs out


SECOND HALF

Third Quarter

Deonte Harris returns the kickoff to the 23-yard line. On the first play, Mark Ingram gains 14 yards for a first down. Saints face a 3rd-and-3 from their 43-yard line and Siemian finds Deonte Harris for a first down in Falcons’ territory. Siemian then finds Alvin Kamara for 19 yards to the Falcons’ 30. Siemian finds Kamara again to Atlanta’s 20-yard line. Saints eventually stall and Brian Johnson makes a 35-yard field goal.

ATL: 10 - NO: 3

Falcons return the kickoff to their 19-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Ryan finds Zaccheaus for a 49-yard pass to the Saints 18-yard line. That was Ryan’s longest completion of the season. Ryan finds Hayden Hurst to the Saints’ one-yard line. Matt Ryan then runs into the end zone for a touchdown.

ATL: 17 - NO: 3

Saints start from their 21-yard line. On the second play of the game, a holding penalty on Tre’Quan Smith wipes out a huge run by Alvin Kamara. Smith then gains 20 yards on the next play on a pass from Siemian for a first down. Another holding penalty on the Saints, the 8th of the game set the Saints back again. Saints face a 3rd-and-16 and gain 15 yards. The Falcons jump offside on 4th down and gift the Saints a first down. Siemian throws and incomplete pass to Kenny Stills and face a 3rd-and-8 as the quarter ends.


Fourth Quarter

Siemian throws and incomplete pass on the first play of the quarter. Brian Johnson makes a 52-yard field goal, a season-long for both he and the team.

ATL: 17 - NO: 6

Falcons start at their 23-yard line. Atlanta gains one first down, then faces a 3rd-and-7 and a Ryan pass to Pitts falls incomplete. Falcons punt. Deonte Harris returns the kick 18 yards to the Saints’ 27-yard line. New Orleans inserts Taysom Hill on the second play of the drive. Hill finds Tre’Quan Smith for a first down near midfield, then Harris for another first down in Falcons’ territory. Siemian is then reinserted in the game and fumbles the ball, the Falcons pick it up and return the fumble near the Saints’ goal line.

Falcons need only one play for Ryan to find Zaccheaus for a touchdown.

ATL: 24 - NO: 6

Saints return the kickoff to their 30-yard line and drive into Falcons’ territory. Siemian finds Trautman at Atlanta’s 5-yard line. Siemian finds Marquez Callaway for a touchdown.

ATL: 24 - NO: 13

Falcons take over at their 20-yard line and quickly face a 3rd-and-18, and cannot get enough yards and have to punt.

Saints take over at their 46-yard line after a Falcons’ penalty. A pass interference on the Falcons puts the Saints at Atlanta’s 27-yard line. On 3rd-and-10, Siemian is sacked but contacted to the head which draws a penalty and gifts the Saints another first down. Siemian finds Deonte Harris to the Falcons’ 5-yard line. On second-and-goal, Alvin Kamara runs into the end zone for a touchdown. Saints go for two but Siemian’s pass for Adam Trautman is too high.

ATL: 24 - NO: 19

Falcons take over at their 25-yard line. A holding penalty on Bradley Roby is the 10th for the Saints on the day. On the third play of the drive, Cam Jordan sacks Matt Ryan, forcing a 3rd-and-22. Ryan is sacked again and the Falcons have to punt.

Deonte Harris returns the punt 27 yards to the Falcons’ 42-yard line. On the first play, Siemian finds Kenny Stills for a first down to Atlanta’s 21-yard line. Saints get to the Falcons’ 19-yard line as the two -minute warning hits. Siemian finds Harris again for a first down to the 10-yard line. Trevor Siemian finds Kenny Stills for a touchdown, giving New Orleans a 25-24 lead. Saints fail on the two-point conversion.

ATL: 24 - NO: 25

Falcons take over at their 25-yard line with a minute left. On the first play of the drive, Matt Ryan finds Cordarelle Patterson for 64 yards to the Saints’ 11-yard line.

Falcons run the ball to bleed the clock down, Atlanta line up for a field goal and Younghoe Koo wins the game for Atlanta as the Saints’ comeback bid falls short.

Poll

What lost the Saints today’s game against Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Sloppy play, too many penalties.
    (34 votes)
  • 45%
    The inability for pass catchers to catch any passes.
    (96 votes)
  • 16%
    This team does not have a quarterback.
    (34 votes)
  • 11%
    The defense forgetting how to play football.
    (25 votes)
  • 10%
    Eating a giant cheeseburger is never a loss.
    (22 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now


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