Photo via Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Looking at stats only, the New Orleans Saints had a pretty manageable opportunity to win playing at home against the Atlanta Falcons—but that wasn’t the case. The final score was 26-9 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with the Falcons taking the win on the road.
The Saints were looking to be one of the best teams in the league with a record of 7-1. The Saints were coming off a bye week and it looked like the offense was still sleeping when they played against the 1-7 Falcons.
Going into the game, the Falcons defense was ranked towards the bottom in every category, which could open the door for Drew Brees and the offense to take over and control the game. However, the Falcons defense showed up and pressured Brees multiple times.
Brees had been sacked seven times in total this season but Atlanta was able to down the QB six times. The Falcons’ defense knew when to show up on third downs and held Brees, the veteran quarterback, to zero visits in the end zone.
On the ground for the Saints, Kamara had four carries for 24 yards and Latavius Murray had five carries for 24 yards. The problem was third-down conversions for the Saints. Brees and the Saints were held to only completing three for twelve on converting first downs the entire game.
Wil Lutz, the kicker for the Saints, had a solid game and was the only player on the team to get points on the board for the Saints.
Matt Ryan lucked out on some of the drives as the Saints defense drew some penalties giving the Falcons vital first downs on some third downs. Ryan went 20 for 35 for 182 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Ryan was giving the ball to a lot of different players trying to throw off the Saints strong defense. The two main rushers for the Falcons offense was Brian Hill and Devonta Freeman. Hill had 20 carries for 61 yards and Hill also had one reception for ten yards, which took him into the end zone. Freeman had 10 carries for 38 yards.
Star receiver for the Falcons, Julio Jones had three receptions for 79 yards. Austin Hooper found the end zone once and had four receptions for 17 yards. Calvin Ridley and Russel Gage were consistent on offense giving Ryan several options on offense.
What does this loss mean for Brees and the Saints? With a record of 7-2 currently, playoffs are obviously still in the picture. The Saints play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road this Sunday.
With a momentum boost coming off the big win for the Falcons, they play on the road against the 5-4 Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Panthers just lost to the Packers last Sunday. This season has had a lot of ups and downs for teams across the board so the results for the Sunday games ultimately come down to who wants to win more.