strong>By Michael Cunningham
The Falcons defensive backs, always a boisterous group, took it up another notch while singing along to the stereo in the locker room after this one.
“Don’t believe me just watch!” they shouted.
It was an appropriate tune because their performance against Saints quarterback Drew Brees had to be seen to be believed.
Not only did Brees’ record streak of games with a touchdown pass end at 54 on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome, he also had a career-high five interceptions in the 23-13 defeat.
“We didn’t know anything about a record,” Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson said. “We just came out here and played hard. I feel like we have one of the best secondaries in the entire NFL and I think we came out and showed that today.”
William Moore had two interceptions and fellow safety Thomas DeCoud had one. The two other picks came after Brees passed short when the Falcons had his deep targets covered.
Brees had thrown four interceptions twice in his career, the last time in 2010 against the Browns. Brees started to explain each of his five picks against the Falcons before cutting himself short.
“I pride myself on being a great decision maker and the guy that is going to help us win games and not be a detriment and turn the ball over like that,” Brees said. “A couple of critical mistakes today that ended up costing us the game and I’m OK saying that because I have to hold myself accountable.”
Brees had 298 yards with three touchdowns and one interception during a 31-27 victory against the Falcons on Nov. 11. But the Falcons thought their man-to-man defense worked well in the second half of that game and so decided to use that strategy from the start in the rematch.
“We knew in the secondary we had the guys to match his receivers in tight coverage and make him make the perfect throw and if he doesn’t, we get the ball back,” DeCoud said.
DeCoud got it started when he ended New Orleans’ first drive by stepping in front of a pass intended for Marques Colston in the end zone. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon later got an interception after Brees’ short pass deflected off of running back Chris Ivory.
Moore picked off Brees in the third quarter when he cut in front Devery Henderson. In the fourth quarter defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux got an interception after Kroy Biermann hit Brees.
The Falcons had Brees so rattled that they intercepted him on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. After an offside penalty negated Corey Peters’ interception, Moore sealed the victory with his second pick.
The Falcons roughed up Brees in spite of starting cornerback Asante Samuel missing most of the game with a shoulder injury. Reserve cornerbacks Chris Owens and Robert McClain both had key pass breakups.
“We’ve got plenty of depth,” Robinson said. “The young guys, they stepped in and made plays and that’s what this secondary is about. We are like brothers. We have fun together, we come out and work together, we practice hard together. And everybody has that kind of confidence in this secondary.”
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