Brees Sets Record, Saints Beat Falcons in OT
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees became the all-time leader in pass completions Sunday during the game against the Atlanta Falcons.
But it was a pair of rushing touchdowns by the veteran which won the game for the Saints.
Brees scored on a seven yard run late in the fourth quarter to tie the game and then got the game winner from a half yard out with 2:55 left in overtime as the Saints (2-1) survived over the Atlanta Falcons, 43-37.
Brees completed a pass to Michael Thomas midway through the second quarter to eclipse Brett Farve as the all time leader. The 17 yard completion was on the first play of an eight play, 70 yard drive that resulted in a 21 yard field goal by Wil Lutz.
The loss by Atlanta (1-2) spoiled a career day for Matt Ryan, who threw for five touchdowns, three to rookie Calvin Ridley in the loss.
The Saints got on the board first when Brees hit Ted Ginn, Jr. with a four yard touchdown pass following the opening kickoff. But on their second series, the Falcons tied it when Matt Ryan found rookie Calvin Ridley for 18 yards to knot the game at 7-7.
Lutz booted a 49 yard field goal that hit the left upright and went through for a 10-7 lead and booted his second field goal after Brees' record setting pass to make the score 13-7.
Ryan found Ridley again, however, on a 75 yard bomb just two plays later to give Atlanta its first lead, 14-13 with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. But New Orleans regained the lead on the final play of the first half on Lutz' third field goal of the first half, this one from 45 yards out to give the Saints a 16-14 lead at the half.
Atlanta drove 75 yards in six plays with Ridley scoring his third touchdown of the game to give Atlanta a 21-16 lead. He became the first rookie with three touchdowns receiving in a game since Odell Beckham, Jr. accomplished it in 2014.
The Saints special teams got into the game in a big way on Atlanta's next possession when Alex Okafor blocked a punt and Craig Robertson returned it twelve yards to the Atlanta 16. Brees then hit Cameron Meredith with the touchdown pass from eleven yards out for the score. It was Meredith's first catch as a Saint. Lutz' extra point made it 23-21 New Orleans with just over six minutes to go in the third quarter.
But Ryan led the Falcons on a 12 play drive and threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game, hitting Tevin Coleman early in the fourth quarter and the two point conversion gave the Falcons a 29-23 lead.
A 35 yard run by Taysom Hill highlighted the Saints' next drive and the Saints scored on fourth down from the one yard line on a pass from Brees to fullback Zach Line and Lutz' extra point gave the Saints a 30-29 lead with 9:59 left in the fourth.
The Saints held the Falcons on the next possession making Atlanta settle for a field goal attempt. But the Saints were called for a personal foul when David Onyemata made contact with the center. Atlanta took the points off the board and Ryan took advantage, hitting Mohammad Sanu with a five yard touchdown pass and found Sanu again for the two point conversion to give the Falcons a 37-30 lead with 6:58 to play.
The Saints, however, weren't done.
New Orleans drove 81 yards for the tying score on eleven plays with Brees running the ball in from seven yards out with 1:19 remaining and the Saints defense finally stopped the Falcons and the game headed to overtime.
Brees finished 39-49 for 395 and three passing touchdowns. Alvin Kamara rushed for 66 yards and caught 15 passes for 124 yards. Michael Thomas had ten catches for 129 yards.
Ryan was 26-35 for 374 yards. Ridley had seven catches for 146 yards, while Julio Jones snagged five balls for 96 yards.