Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1





The Falcons avenged their only loss of the season Thursday night.

They jumped on their arch-rival New Orleans Saints early, and their defense held on for a 23-13 victory in front of 70,514 fans at the Georgia Dome.

The defense came up with five interceptions to derail the Saints’ potent offense as the Falcons improved to 11-1 on the season and inched closer to the NFC South division title and a playoff berth. They also ended Drew Brees’ NFL-record streak of touchdown passes.

112912 ATLANTA: The Falcons are off and running against the Saints with Michael Turner getting past Jonathan Vilma for yardage during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, November 29, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

112912 ATLANTA: The Falcons are off and running against the Saints with Michael Turner getting past Jonathan Vilma for yardage during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, November 29, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

“I think tonight, that was a really good win for our football team,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I felt our defense played a tremendous game. Anytime that you pick off five passes in a ball game. You’ve done a nice job.”

The Saints, who have been battling through “Bounty Gate” issues all season, dropped to 5-7 and are now super long shots to make the playoffs.

Saints coach Joe Vitt described their playoff hopes as “bleek” and linebacker Jon Vilma concurred with that assessment.

“We know that we have to have some other things happen with teams losing, even if we do win out,” said Vilma, one of the central characters in the “Bounty Gate” scandal. “The teams that we play over the next four weeks are pretty good. We have a very tough challenge ahead of us.”

Brees had thrown a touchdown pass in 54 consecutive games, breaking Johnny Unitas’ long-standing record earlier this season. There was an apparent scoring pass to Darren Sproles late in the first half, but it was nullified by a penalty.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/gameflash/2012/11/29/5069/index.html#ixzz2DgVAGxLQ

Brees had thrown a touchdown pass in 54 consecutive games, breaking Johnny Unitas’ long-standing record earlier this season. There was an apparent scoring pass to Darren Sproles late in the first half, but it was nullified by a penalty.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/gameflash/2012/11/29/5069/index.html#ixzz2DgVAGxLQ

Brees had thrown a touchdown pass in 54 straight games, breaking Johnny Unitas’ long-standing record earlier this season. He had a touchdown pass to Darren Sproles nullified by penalty.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan struggled for most of the day, but moved the offense for a key fourth-quarter field goal, a 55-yarder by Matt Bryant.

To clinch the NFC South title, the Falcons need a Denver win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. If Tampa Bay wins, the Falcons could wrap up a playoff berth with a Seattle loss or tie of a Seattle loss and a Minnesota loss.

Seattle plays at Chicago and Minnesota at Green Bay on Sunday.

“I thought our guys showed a ton of resiliency throughout the entire football game,” Smith said.  “We entered tonight’s game wanting to get a positive result and get mission 11 accomplished and I thought we did that.”

Safeties William Moore and Thomas DeCoud both turn in solid games. Moore had two interceptions and DeCoud had one.  Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive end Jonathan Babineaux also had interceptions.

November 29, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga: New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lane Moore (16) makes a catch in between Atlanta Falcons defenders Sean Weatherspoon, left, and William Moore in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., November 29, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

November 29, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga: New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lane Moore (16) makes a catch in between Atlanta Falcons defenders Sean Weatherspoon, left, and William Moore in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., November 29, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

“I give all the credit to coach (Mike) Nolan for his excellent game plan, tonight,” Moore said. ” He’s a heck of a defensive coordinator, and it was on full display in this game. This defense showed up against an excellent player in Drew Brees.”

DeCoud also covered tight end Jimmy Graham, who abused the Falcons in the previous meeting, a 31-27 loss on Nov. 11.

“I won’t say revenge, but it’s a division game and they beat us the first time, so we had to get our get back,” DeCoud said.

The Falcons, who held a 17-7 halftime lead, made a statement on their opening drive.

After a pass completion to Tony Gonzalez for 9 yards, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter dialed up five consecutive power running plays.

Running back Michael Turner ripped off gains of 35 and 5 yards. Jacquizz Rodgers took over with consecutive gains of 14 yards, the latter being on a nice cut-back run inside.

Turner then came back in and slammed into the end zone on a 3-yard run to set a franchise record with the 58th touchdown of his Falcons career. Bryant’s extra-point kick made the score 7-0.

November 29, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a 17-yard touchdown catch over New Orlean Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., November 29, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

November 29, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a 17-yard touchdown catch over New Orlean Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton in the first half of their game at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., November 29, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

On the Saints’ first drive, Brees got greedy. He tried to hit wide receiver Marques Colston in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown, but DeCoud intercepted the pass.

Both offenses were held twice and forced to punt, before the Falcons mounted another touchdown drive.

Ryan, who passed for a season-low 165 yards, tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez to cap a five-play, 49-yard drive.

After an exchange of punts, Weatherspoon, who did not play in the previous meeting, intercepted a Brees pass intended for running back Chris Ivory and returned it to New Orleans 29.

After a 2-yard run by Turner and two incomplete passes, Bryant made a 45-yard field goal to put the Falcons up 17-0.

The Saints answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive. On the march, the Saints converted on third-and-9, third-and-8 and third-and-3. The last one was a conversion by penalty after defensive end Kroy Biermann lined up in the neutral zone.

Saints running back Mark Ingram scored on a 1-yard run with 3:25 left in the second quarter.

Ryan and the offense stalled for the third consecutive possession, but the Saints used their last timeout with 2:24 left, and that would come back to haunt them.

Brees opened the key drive with 29-yard strike to Lance Moore followed by a 21-yarder to Colston in the middle of the Falcons’ zone. But the drive stalled at the Falcons’ 3-yard line in part because the Saints had no timeouts left.

After completed a pass to Darren Sproles, Brees couldn’t get the ball spiked in time to stop the clock.

“That was huge, very big,” Smith said. “We got off the field with no points in that situation because we were reeling a little bit there in the second quarter in terms of getting some stops.”

With the Falcons’ offense stymied, the Saints added fields goals by Garrett Hartley of 21 and 52 yards on their first two possessions of the second half to make the score 17-13 with 3:53 left in third quarter.

After another quick three-and-out by the Falcons, Moore intercepted Brees and returned it to the Saints’ 41-yard line.

Ryan and the offense, like they have several times this season, went to Gonzalez to get moving. After the loss of a yard on a run by Rodgers, Ryan tossed an 18-yard pass to Gonzalez followed by a 20-yard to Roddy White to move to the 4-yard line.

Turner lost two yards on first down and Gonzalez had a false start to push the ball back to the 11. A pass for Jason Snelling sailed on Ryan. His third-down pass for White was incomplete. Bryant made a 29-yard field goal to make the score 20-13 with 14:48 left in the game.

The Saints went back on the move and were down to the Falcons’ 36-yard line. On third-and-5, defensive end John Abraham sacked Brees for a 6-yard loss and knocked the Saints out of field-goal range.

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61 comments Add your comment

Michael M.

November 30th, 2012
12:49 am

1st just like the Atlanta Falcons

Michael M.

November 30th, 2012
12:54 am

Five interceptions and no touchdowns for Drew tonight…………new ones for the record books by Sleeze……………….got to give game balls to the Atlanta Defense and to the Falcons OC for slamming that ball down the Caints throats with the run on that first series……………………………………..

Sly Ty

November 30th, 2012
1:14 am

@Michael M. great observation. The Defense was astonishing…..I’m Rolling with Nolan!!!!

Sly Ty

November 30th, 2012
1:14 am

@Michael M. great observation. The Defense was astonishing…..I’m Rolling with Nolan!!!!

CASPER

November 30th, 2012
1:25 am

MIKE, YOU ON THE RIGHT TRACK, WE WILL WIN THE SUPERBOWL, BUT U WILL BE THE MAN, THANK YOU, FOR NOT TIPPING, KEEP IT REAL!

gritz-blitz-2

November 30th, 2012
2:05 am

A great win tonight. We still have some work to do. I would like to see if we can keep the throttle down on teams and not let up. In other words slit throats while we have them down.

LDawg

November 30th, 2012
2:19 am

Is the no-huddle gone? I always thought we played better when we got into a rhythm and let Ryan run it…

section 126

November 30th, 2012
2:27 am

GREAT WIN TONIGHT !!!

Defense – A
Special Teams – A
Offense – B
Coaching – A

REAMing aints

November 30th, 2012
2:35 am

REAMing aints

November 30th, 2012
2:36 am

So sweet to see Brees fail miserably, Graham a non-issue, and kick these losers out of the playoffs. A perfect night. Worst passing performance by Brees, consecutive TD streak killed, and the reality of our “giving” the game to them in N.O. confirmed. Go home aints, find a bottle and a dark alley and get back to your normal life. This season’s over for you and we kicked all your hopes, dreams, and cheating, headhunting, bounty gate, Tanya Harding a$$es back to the swamp. Brees was so full of himself on the pregame interview, saying how “everyone” realizes that bounty program never happened. What a delusional idiot. He has no clue and he and the aints got everything they deserved tonight. The worst, most embarrassing team in the NFL. Completely classless and total losers.

Dirtybird of Prey

November 30th, 2012
8:11 am

@ Michael M. – Five interceptions and no touchdowns for Drew tonight…………new ones for the record books

Well said double M….(s)Ain’t karma sweet?

FalconsFanForever

November 30th, 2012
8:14 am

It’s funny that yesterday before the game, all the AINTS lovers were talking all their smack, 3 pages of comments. Today no comments. Guess they finally got that taste of reality. Where are all you whiners? Back in NOLA where you belong, one could only hope! The AINTS came marching in, got that a$$ spanked and went home with their heads stuck in their tails! GO FALCONS!!!

Mina Jordan

November 30th, 2012
8:15 am

I’m proud for Atlanta! Drew Brees, This is OUR HOUSE!

I just read usually but...

November 30th, 2012
8:17 am

good game on 3 days rest.

BIRD WATCHER

November 30th, 2012
8:24 am

Great catch..media crew…to get Brees’ comments prior to the game: “THIS IS OUR DIVISION, WE KNOW IT, THEY KNOW IT”. After reading an article in a New Orleans newspaper this morning…he actually still believes his statement is true…SOMEONE, ANYBODY, EVERYBODY…PLEASE WAKE HIM UP AND SMELL THE DO DO! I truly love Tony Gonzalez’s post-game comments to an ESPN reporter who made him aware of the comments…he simply said “WE DIDN’T KNOW IT”…SWEET!!!

tony

November 30th, 2012
8:25 am

“bleek?” what does that mean?

Wutehvah

November 30th, 2012
8:25 am

Great win – go Falcons!! Big test coming 12/16

Dilla

November 30th, 2012
8:25 am

I really don’t like when Michael Turner has a good game it’s a delusion. Its like when Josh Smith actually hits a 3 pointer. He gets confident, keep shooting and miss the next 10. Turner has a good run then he’s back to getting 1 and 2 yards a carry for the next 10 carries. Rodgers would have over 100 yards if he would have had the bulk of the carries. And Please stop running plays where he has to get outside the tackle he never makes. The blockers can’t hold the block the amount of time it takes for him to get around.

Papa Pink

November 30th, 2012
8:32 am

The Falcons looked great in the first and fourth quarters. The defense was great. However, the Falcons still don’t have the respect of the national media. They need to play all four quarters like they played the first quarter. If they can do this in their remaining games and post season, they’ll get the respect of the National Media. Must say it was great seeing Brees set a new personal record for interceptions. Also nice to see his TD passes in consective games stopped.

Wutehvah

November 30th, 2012
8:41 am

The Falcons will get national respect when they earn it – by winning in the playoffs.

LawdHamercy

November 30th, 2012
8:43 am

It was so much energy in the dome last night. I had a great time at the game. I tip my hat to William Moore and DeCoud, they both stepped up when Asante went out the game. Chris Owens grew up last night before our eyes. Quizz was huge, just didn’t get the ball enough. Defense and ST played great football. It was also nice to see Turner makes some good reads and run with some attitude. Good game all around.

[...] Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1 [...]

mike

November 30th, 2012
9:14 am

Great game Falcons. Must be a good feeling beating all those teams with losing records. What are you guys going to do when you get to the playoffs and those other teams don’t have losing records?

[...] Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1 [...]

North FLA Falcon

November 30th, 2012
9:20 am

mike — they will have to come to the GA Dome and prove themselves!

shesoleo

November 30th, 2012
9:41 am

Well you know they never considered us as competition,a rival, or even on their level, remember? we were only their “little brothers” So what’s your excuse now? Tell me how does it feel to get your A$$ kicked by your little brother? I guess he grew up?????? PICKS (5), TD STREAK (over) PLAYOFF CHANCE (forget about it). GO FALCONS —-That’s the way to RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!

AintsDefenseSuk

November 30th, 2012
10:19 am

mike

November 30th, 2012
9:14 am

Great game Falcons. Must be a good feeling beating all those teams with losing records. What are you guys going to do when you get to the playoffs and those other teams don’t have losing records?

_____________________

What a stupid post. 2 years ago the Aints lost to a team with a losing record, IN THE PLAYOFFS.

It does not matter what your opponents records are. All that matters in the NFL is the WIN. And, right now the Dirty Birds are 11-1. WE DAT………………CHUMP!

AintsDefenseSuk

November 30th, 2012
10:21 am

Oh yeah, have fun watching the playoffs from home………..CHUMP!

MontanaDawg

November 30th, 2012
10:26 am

SI Quote…’ It means the Falcons are 11-1. But nobody will look at them like we would look at an 11-1 Patriots team or 11-1 Steelers team. Their playoff history is too shaky. Their record seems too sketchy.

I’m a big believer in close wins — I think they help players stay calm and disciplined when the playoff pressure arrives, because they have already come through in so many tight situations. But if the playoffs started today, would you take the Falcons over the 49ers? Would you want them over Eli Manning and the Giants? ‘

Agreed.

aint hater

November 30th, 2012
10:58 am

Right now i would take us over anyone but the 49ers, but i think that too will change in the next 4 weeks.

Open Minded

November 30th, 2012
10:59 am

Am I the only one who thought our offensive line was weak after the first drive? Matt Ryan had no real time most of the night to throw… just sayin.

I just read usually but...

November 30th, 2012
11:05 am

“if the playoffs started today, would you take the Falcons over the 49ers? Would you want them over Eli Manning and the Giants?”
I sure will.

Great Job

November 30th, 2012
11:10 am

To those Falcons fans who were at the Dome last night, you did an AMAZING job making noise all night long. It was very noticeable on tv! Way to be there when our Falcons needed you!

Silly aint's Fans

November 30th, 2012
11:44 am

Seen ?? where are you ….packing Payton’s bags…….get off the rightful NFC South Champion’s blog …your team is a bunch of losers !!!

Southside Dawg

November 30th, 2012
12:04 pm

Had fun at the Dome last night. But don’t bring your kids… There is some thug behavior in the stands in that place.

Drew "Choke" Breeze

November 30th, 2012
1:35 pm

Hey Breezie, its me destiny

Falcon James

November 30th, 2012
1:39 pm

This was a great game. Great to beat the Saint and crush they playoffs hopes. They didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway,.

REAMing aints

November 30th, 2012
2:16 pm

I’m beginning to think Loomis was in the building sending the offensive plays to the aints defense. That’s the only way that lousy defense keeps us from scoring. Not until the no-huddle did the defense look like they didn’t know what was coming. the only way the aints win anything is by cheating.

Bogus Bill

November 30th, 2012
3:44 pm

“Bleek?” Does Vitt pronounce “bleak” that way?

Rip

November 30th, 2012
4:31 pm

Why Matt Ryan can not show up in the BIG Games, payoffs, national TV games, he just can not do it and until he does he will just be an accomplish player

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

November 30th, 2012
5:55 pm

Matt Ryan desperately needs a competent O-Line and soon. We are stuck this year with McClure, Baker and Clabo, but hopefully next year TD can work his magic and improve the O-Line. Until then, the coaches need to let Ryan utilize the no-huddle more.

Goliath

December 1st, 2012
12:14 am

Did anyone see the pre-game warmups with Brees trying to rally the troops? He said “we own the division and we know it and the Falcons know it.” When he said it he looked very sheepish, like knew he was lying. Well guess what ASSHO*E? EVERYONE KNOWS NOW WHO OWNS THE NFC SOUTH.

The FALCONS DO!

Still Gritz Blitz'n

December 1st, 2012
10:05 am

Hey ALL The ABOVE, Look at this, NO seen, No Hiram Saint(waaa,waaa), No Choke(squeal,squeal), all the Trolls must’ve gott’n egged, We got a bag full of eggs for’em. But no trolls to play with & give another beat down to. Whimper’n Freak’n froggs. You had it com’n man, o’l troll ” seen” must’ve got choked up on his own diahrea after the game. Crap all over the who dats, & looked like Breezy noodle Choked. We crapped some GET BACK on all da’ caint’s. Got a Brown paper bag for you who ‘dats, & egg yoke slime on it for ya trolls.

[...] Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1 [...]

Still Gritz Blitz'n

December 1st, 2012
10:30 am

@ Goliath; Yeah; cause soon he said that, the other players kinda’ looked sheepished as well, well, his words didn’t bare no weight at all. O’l Lofton tried to put us under the bus last week, his word’s didn’t carry no weight either, Lofton looks kinda’ angry right now. He got schooled by Tony G. on that touchdown catch. Gotta love it man. seen,hiram,choke, ya’ll can go regurgitate on you’re on vomit man. Too bad ya’ll can’t back up you’re words. Ya’ll gonna miss Payton when Jerry daddy jones puts up some $$$$$ for him to get out of the big easy swamp?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 1st, 2012
10:37 am

Goliath – My Uncle send me a text with Brees pre-game speech. He gets his team fired up.

[...] Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1 [...]

[...] Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1 [...]

[...] Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1 [...]

[...] Falcons avenge their only loss to improve to 11-1 [...]