Falcons Drill Saints 45-32
Former LSU Tiger Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to break open the game and the Atlanta Falcons spoiled the 10th anniversary of "Rebirth" in New Orleans by beating the Saints, 45-32 Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Jones, a second round pick and New Orleans native whose family evacuated the city during Hurricane Katrina, intercepted Drew Brees and raced for the score that increased the Atlanta lead to 45-25. It was the first interception of Brees in 305 passes, the fourth longest streak in NFL history.
Following the Jones pick six, Brees led the Saints right back down the field and Mark Ingram scored to cap a seven play, 75 yard drive to get the deficit back to 13, 45-32. with 10:00 left in the fourth quarter, but New Orleans (0-3) could get no closer.
Brees completed 36 of 54 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns and an interception, while Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was 20-30 for 240 yards and a pair of scores.
Devonta Freeman had 153 yards on 14 carries to lead the Atlanta ground game as the Falcons gained 217 yards on the ground.
Mark Ingram had 77 yards rushing for the Saints and Coby Fleener led the receiving game with seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
The Saints took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards with Coby Fleener catching a two yard pass from Drew Brees. The eleven play drive took over six minutes off the clock. Brees was 5-5 on the opening drive.
On the Falcons first possession the Saints got a third down sack but De'Vante Harris ran into punt returner Tommylee Lewis and the Falcons (2-1) recovered at the Saints' eleven yard line. Tevin Coleman made the Saints pay with a two yard touchdown run that tied the game at the 5:21 mark of the first quarter.
On their next possession, Atlanta kept a drive alive thanks to a questionable horse collar call against the Saints' Roman Harper. The Falcons took advantage on a 13 yard pass from Ryan to Freeman on the first play of the second quarter to give Atlanta its first lead. The drive was 11 plays, 74 yards.
The Saints then got a break when the Falcons roughed punter Thomas Morstead on fourth down and Brees made the most of the second chance, hitting Michael Thomas on a three yard touchdown pass capping a 75 yard drive to tie the game at 14-14. It was the first touchdown catch of Thomas' career.
But Atlanta came right back as Devota Freeman's 36 yard run highlighted another 75 yard touchdown drive and Coleman got his second score of the night to extend the Falcons' lead to 21-14 with five and a half minutes left in the second quarter and, after a Saints punt, a Saints pass interference call helped Atlanta just before halftime as the Falcons drove 94 yards in just eight plays with a Ryan shovel pass to Justin Hardy giving the Falcons a 28-14 lead.
But with only seconds remaining.the Saints went 36 yards in seven plays to give rookie Wil Lutz a shot at a long field goal and he nailed it from 57 yards to cut the lead to 28-17 at the half.
Following the second half kickoff, it took the Falcons just eight plays to get their fifth touchdown in as many possessions and Coleman scored for the third time in the game, this one from six yards out to stretch the lead to 35-17, but the Saints came back on their first possession after intermission with John Kuhn getting the touchdown from three yards out to cap a nine play drive. Mark Ingram ran in the two point conversion to cut the lead to 35-25.
The Saints finally kept Atlanta out of the end zone on the next possession, but it was the sixth straight possession that ended in points as a Matt Bryant field goal stretched the lead to 13, 38-25.
The win was the first road win on Monday Night Football for the Falcons since 1979. They had lost 12 straight road games on Monday night.