Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

ATL
26
NO
9
FINAL
1234T
ATL 31001326
NO 33309

Game Information
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana
Attendance: 73,283

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Grady Jarrett and an unusually menacing Falcons defensive front repeatedly pulled Drew Brees to the Superdome turf and proved Saints coach Sean Payton right.

The records really didn't matter in this matchup of NFC South Division rivals - as Payton had insisted days earlier.

Sacking Brees six times and holding New Orleans without a touchdown, the Falcons ended their six-game slide with a 26-9 victory over the Saints on Sunday that ended New Orleans' six-game winning streak.

"It felt really good and encouraging and motivating," said Jarrett, who had a team-leading 2 1/2 sacks. "It was like you want to get more and more, you know? So we've got to build off of this performance, definitely."

It was a stunning improvement for a Falcons' defense that came in with an NFL low-seven sacks. It happened against a Saints offensive line that had allowed 12 sacks through their first eight games.

"We didn't play well enough to win today, really, against anybody," Payton said.

Matt Ryan, returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him in the game before the Falcons' Week 9 bye, was 20 of 35 for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

"Winning is always a good tonic, regardless of how the season is going," Ryan said. "Obviously, our backs are against a wall with where we put ourselves at this point in the season. I'm proud of the way that we've taken that first step."

Ryan's first touchdown went for 8 yards to tight end Austin Hooper in the second quarter and his second to running back Brian Hill in the fourth quarter to put Atlanta (2-7) in front 20-9.

That was more than enough with the Falcons' defense frustrating first-place New Orleans (7-2) throughout.

"For them to hold a really good New Orleans offense to just three field goals is impressive," Ryan said. "A good team effort across the board and certainly one we needed."

Defensive end Vic Beasley Jr. had 1 1/2 sacks. Fellow end Adrian Clayborn and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell each had one.

The Saints had not been held without a touchdown at home with Brees running the offense since the record-setting QB joined New Orleans in 2006. But it was the second time this season the Saints had not found the end zone at home - the first a 12-10 victory over Dallas with backup Teddy Bridgewater filling in for a then-injured Brees.

"They played better than us," Payton said. "This league is too good week-to-week where you can go in and not be focused and ready."

STAFF SHUFFLE

Atlanta's defensive dominance came in the first game since coach Dan Quinn re-assigned assistant coach Raheem Morris from receivers to the secondary.

Quinn was struck by how good the coverage was, giving pass-rushers more time to get to Brees.

"For the guys to work in concert together - communication, technique - I thought that was a real big piece and one of the topics we were going into the game wanting to measure," Quinn said.

STAT LINES

Julio Jones caught three passes for 79 yards - including a 54-yarder to set up a field goal - for Atlanta, which possessed the ball nearly 34 minutes and rolled up 317 yards. The Falcons were the first Saints opponent since Seattle in Week 3 to gain more than 257 yards.

Brees went 32 of 45 for 287 yards and the Saints finished with 310 yards, well below their average of 375.3 coming in. That's despite getting running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook back from injuries. Other than receiver Michael Thomas, who caught 13 passes for 152 yards, few Saints offensive regulars approached their usual production.

SELF-DEFEATING SAINTS

The Saints committed 12 penalties for 90 yards. Half of those infractions produced Falcons first downs and four extended drives on third or fourth down.

With 9:01 left, J.T. Gray, who had blocked a punt in Chicago in Week 7, committed a 15-yard, roughing the kicker penalty trying to block another. That led to Younghoe Koo's 48-yard field goal, which widened Atlanta's lead to 23-9.

INJURIES

Falcons: Running back Devonta Freeman left with a foot injury. Defensive back Damontae Kazee was treated after tackling Saints running back Latavius Murray in the third quarter. Hooper limped off early in the fourth quarter. ... Safety Kemal Ishmael received treatment on the field in the final minutes but walked to the sideline.

Saints: Cornerback Marshon Lattimore left with a thigh injury and guard Andrus Peat left with an arm injury in the first half.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Visit Carolina on Sunday for the first matchup of the season between the NFC South foes.

Saints: Visit Tampa Bay on Sunday, looking for a season sweep of the Buccaneers.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Saints
09:27 Younghoe Koo 37 yd FG 3 0
04:09 Wil Lutz 29 yd FG 3 3

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Saints
11:09 Austin Hooper 8 yd pass from Matt Ryan (Younghoe Koo kick) 10 3
01:31 Younghoe Koo 36 yd FG 13 3
00:00 Wil Lutz 47 yd FG 13 6

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Saints
06:05 Wil Lutz 28 yd FG 13 9

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Falcons Saints
14:53 Brian Hill 10 yd pass from Matt Ryan (Younghoe Koo kick) 20 9
07:27 Younghoe Koo 48 yd FG 23 9
02:32 Younghoe Koo 30 yd FG 26 9

Team Stats
  Atlanta New Orleans
1st Downs 24 18
Total Yards 317 310
Passing 174 258
Passing Completions/Attempts 20-35 33-46
Yards/Pass 4.8 5.0
Rushing 143 52
Rushing Attempts 34 11
Yards/Rush 4.2 4.7
Turnovers 1 0
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Interceptions Thrown 1 0
Possession 33:46 26:14

Atlanta Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Matt Ryan 20 35 182 5.2 2 1

New Orleans Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Drew Brees 32 45 287 6.4 0 0
Taysom Hill 1 1 17 17.0 0 0

Atlanta Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Brian Hill 20 61 3.0 0 15
Devonta Freeman 10 38 3.8 0 12
Calvin Ridley 1 19 19.0 0 19
Matt Ryan 2 13 6.5 0 8
Kenjon Barner 1 12 12.0 0 12

New Orleans Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Alvin Kamara 4 24 6.0 0 8
Latavius Murray 5 12 2.4 0 6
Taysom Hill 1 11 11.0 0 11
Ted Ginn Jr. 1 5 5.0 0 5

Atlanta Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Julio Jones 3 79 26.3 0 54
Calvin Ridley 3 28 9.3 0 15
Russell Gage 4 23 5.8 0 9
Austin Hooper 4 17 4.2 1 9
Christian Blake 2 15 7.5 0 11
Devonta Freeman 3 10 3.3 0 7
Brian Hill 1 10 10.0 1 10

New Orleans Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Michael Thomas 13 152 11.7 0 18
Jared Cook 6 74 12.3 0 22
Alvin Kamara 8 50 6.2 0 14
Tre'Quan Smith 1 13 13.0 0 13
Latavius Murray 2 7 3.5 0 6
Zach Line 2 5 2.5 0 5
Taysom Hill 1 3 3.0 0 3
Ted Ginn Jr. 0 0 0.0 0

Atlanta Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Foyesade Oluokun 7 1 0 0
Isaiah Oliver 6 0 0 0
De'Vondre Campbell 4 2 1 9
Kendall Sheffield 4 1 0 0
Vic Beasley Jr. 3 1 1.5 10
Ricardo Allen 3 2 0 0
Blidi Wreh-Wilson 3 1 0 0
Grady Jarrett 2 1 2.5 17
Deion Jones 2 3 0 0
Damontae Kazee 2 3 0 0
Takkarist McKinley 2 0 0 0
Adrian Clayborn 1 0 1 10
Tyeler Davison 1 0 0 0
Kemal Ishmael 1 0 0 0
Jordan Miller 1 0 0 0
Jack Crawford 0 0 0 0
Jaeden Graham 0 0 0 0
Josh Harris 0 0 0 0
Keith Smith 0 0 0 0
Olamide Zaccheaus 0 0 0 0

New Orleans Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Demario Davis 7 4 1 8
Kiko Alonso 5 2 0 0
Vonn Bell 5 2 0 0
A.J. Klein 5 2 0 0
Marcus Williams 5 2 0 0
Eli Apple 4 1 0 0
David Onyemata 4 0 0 0
P.J. Williams 3 2 0 0
Cameron Jordan 2 0 0 0
Malcom Brown 1 0 0 0
J.T. Gray 1 0 0 0
Marshon Lattimore 1 1 0 0
Shy Tuttle 1 2 0 0
Marcus Davenport 0 2 0 0
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 0 0 0 0
Craig Robertson 0 0 0 0

Atlanta Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

New Orleans Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Marcus Williams 1 0 0

Atlanta Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

New Orleans Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Deonte Harris 4 109 27.2 0 46

Atlanta Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Kenjon Barner 2 33 16.5 0 21

New Orleans Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Deonte Harris 1 19 19.0 0 19

Atlanta Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Younghoe Koo 4 4 100.0 48

New Orleans Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Wil Lutz 3 3 100.0 47

Atlanta Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Ryan Allen 2 77 40

New Orleans Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Thomas Morstead 4 192 51