Isn’t it high time the Falcons hushed the yapping Saints?

"How about I hit you in the face, lilttle brother? (AP photo)

Jimmy Graham to Thomas DeCoud: "Hold still while I smack you right in the face, non-rival." (AP photo)

Super Bowl XLVII will be in New Orleans, but nothing says the Atlanta Falcons have to beat the Saints to qualify. Still, it would be nice for the Falcons’ ego if, just once, they could exit a game against their nemesis without having to hear the crowing that emanates from the other side.

The Saints are reviled throughout the NFL, but nowhere are they as hated as within the red-brick building at 4400 Falcon Parkway, Flowery Branch. In December 2010 some Saints defenders posed on the Falcons’ logo after winning at the Georgia Dome. Last December the Saints allowed Drew Brees to keep throwing at the end of a rout to break Dan Marino’s yardage record.

The Falcons weren’t happy, and many among them wanted to draw the Saints in Round 1 of the playoffs. (They got the Giants instead. And lost 24-2.) Said linebacker Curtis Lofton: “I kind of hoped we’d go back to New Orleans, especially with the way they did us.

Today Lofton is a Saint, and this week he told Atlanta reporters the Saints don’t view this longstanding series as a rivalry but as “a divisional game.” And maybe they do. Is it really a rivalry when one side wins all the time?

Since Sean Payton, the coach now sitting out a year’s suspension, arrived in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints have beaten the Falcons 11 times in 13 meetings. Since Mike Smith became the Falcons’ coach in 2008, nearly one-third of his regular-season losses – seven of the 22, to be exact – have come against the Saints.

Being a coach, Smith wants to win every quarter of every game, but he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t see Thursday night’s game against the Saints as a chance to get something right after getting so many things. Almost every tack Smitty has taken against New Orleans has gone bust, and not all of them have been poor choices.

Twice he tried punting late while behind, and twice he saw Drew Brees run out the clock. Last year he tried going for it on fourth-and-inches in overtime and saw Michael Turner halted. Earlier this month Smith didn’t go for two when trailing by six points, didn’t for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal with his team trailing by four, and finally he saw the Falcons fail three times inside the Saints’ 2.

All losses to the Saints are galling, but for the Falcons the most recent one was especially egregious. It ended any thought of an undefeated season, and it came against a Saints’ team that was, on the record, nothing special. And afterward they had to hear linebacker Scott Shanle describe them as “classless” – as we know, the team that paid bounties to injure opponents is renowned for its geniality – because Sean Weatherspoon and Jonathan Babineaux were taunting Lofton in warmups.

(Then again, Roddy White wasn’t exactly the essence of grace afterward, saying the Falcons “gave” the Saints the game.)

Shanle also described the Falcons as the Saints’ “little brothers,” and here again we note: In football as in journalism, truth is the ultimate defense. The Saints have ruled this (non-)rivalry; the Falcons haven’t come close to holding up their end. But another encounter brings another chance, and it would behoove the Falcons to seize this one.

Not because their ultimate fate rides on this game. They’ll be in the playoffs, and the Saints probably won’t. But a team that has visions of a championship needs to believe it can climb every mountain, not just selected ones. It has long been my belief that the loss to New Orleans two days after Christmas in 2010 was a precursor to the epic playoff flop against the Packers three weeks later, when the top-seeded Falcons were beaten 48-21. Both the Saints, who were defending champs, and the Packers, who would become champs, brought championship intensity to the Dome. The home side brought something less.

Eleven games in, the 2012 season bears more than a passing resemblance to 2010. As Chase Stuart of Football Perspective wrote on the New York Times’ Fifth Down blog this week: “In 2010, Atlanta raced to a 10-2 record on the strength of an improbable 7-1 record in games decided by seven or fewer points … This season, Atlanta has raced to a 10-1 record on the strength of an improbable 7-1 record in games decided by seven or fewer points.”

Now as then, a lot of folks are waiting for the Falcons to flop. The 2010 team obliged. This one might not. These Falcons have taken some significant steps — beating Denver and Dallas in prime time, ending 24 years of futility in Philadelphia, dousing the hot Buccaneers on Sunday — and they can take another Thursday night. They can stomp the Saints. They can stop being the little brother. They can make another deposit in their bank of self-esteem.

By Mark Bradley

168 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

November 28th, 2012
3:56 pm

MB:

It’s time we sent the Saints packing out of the playoffs!

HT

Jeffrey

November 28th, 2012
4:09 pm

We need to beat em and keep em home in January. Go falcons.

Jamie

November 28th, 2012
4:09 pm

Lets punch them in the mouth!! I, along with the rest of the NFL, am sick of the Saints and their bromance with the networks! Every time you turn on a pre-game, post game or the NFL Network, you see BFF-less Drew Brees without his man crush Sean Payton. Makes me wanna puke!

david

November 28th, 2012
4:12 pm

Havent seen you on the UGA boards lately HT– no dirt to throw on UGA now?

alpha male

November 28th, 2012
4:13 pm

the dream week starts with Thursday nites Saints beatdown of the Atlanta Fraudcans…NO 33 ATLidiots 20…followed by a Murray Meltdown in the downtown dump known as the Georgia Dome…Bama 48 UGA 23…

1lovefalcons20

November 28th, 2012
4:14 pm

come on falcons send the aints packing back to their little stinkin small market city with the ugliest dome in america and the oldest…make a stand falcons!!!!!!!!beat america,s most hated team the aints

Samuel

November 28th, 2012
4:14 pm

You gotta step your game up. Go Birds!

alpha male

November 28th, 2012
4:19 pm

The Saints aren’t reviled throughout the NFL…actually the majority of NFL fans are smart enough to know that this bounty bs goes on at all levels of football and Goodell went ape crap with power in this case…it was a PR stunt…a bounty scandal would probably help the Falcons brand…lord knows, the brand isn’t respected anyways…

I'm Gumby, dammit

November 28th, 2012
4:19 pm

I don’t believe it. I posted before Seen on a Falcon’s blog.

Now lets shut him up once and for all.

alpha male

November 28th, 2012
4:24 pm

if not for the Jax Jaguars, the Falcons would be the NFL’s least influential brand…outside the perimeter, no one cares about the birds…north Georgia probaly has as many Titans fans as Falcons fans…no one north of Cartersville gives a rats rear about tha dirty birds…

Stuart

November 28th, 2012
4:26 pm

Maybe the Falcons can sign that chick in the Verizon commercial who inadvertently knocks the food into Brees with her Clay Matthews imitation.
Besides she is kind of cute.

B

November 28th, 2012
4:27 pm

Yes, yes and more yes.

And if I see one more Drew Brees commercial, so help me…

Roddy

November 28th, 2012
4:28 pm

Yeah MB! They needs to shut they mouth. See ya’llz at the waffle house! Rise up.

Name Changed to Avoid Moderation

November 28th, 2012
4:30 pm

@ Gumby – That’s because he is still in his after school program. Then he get’s home for milk and cookies…then he gets on the blogs.

Let get after the Saints quickly, put our cleats on their throat and never let up!

mister.earl

November 28th, 2012
4:31 pm

You gotta be a winner to be reviled. People only pity teams that are consistent losers.

Over the last 11 games, the Falcons record vs the despised New Orleans Saints is not pretty. That is a less than stellar stretch dating back to 2007. No matter what happens on Thursday, without a win in the NFL Playoffs, the Falcons season is another disaster.

That is a stone cold fact.

Archie

November 28th, 2012
4:33 pm

I cannot possibly be any more sick and tired of the stupid argument that winning so many close games is somehow a sign that a team is overrated. What would these people rather have… a 13-3 team that is 7-1 in close games, or a 13-3 team that is 0-3 in close games? Sure, some playoff games end in a blowout, the Falcons have been on the business end of a few of those. However, 90% of playoff games are decided by 7 points or less, so which team would you rather put your faith in… the one that wins those games 75% of the time, or the one that wins those games 25% of the time?

The truth is, being 7-1 in close games in 2010 had nothing to do with losing to the Packers and everything to do with the Packers just being an awesome team that got healthy and caught fire at the right time. The Falcons were losing that game regardless of their own record.

Macon Mike

November 28th, 2012
4:36 pm

series: 46-41 in favor of Falcons…23-20 Atlanta at home…

Herschel Talker

November 28th, 2012
4:40 pm

david,

Richt had a good year. Let’s see how he does against Bama this weekend and when LSU rolls onto the schedule next year.

HT

Damage Inc.

November 28th, 2012
4:40 pm

alpha male huh? compensating for something?

MFranklin

November 28th, 2012
4:46 pm

“Isn’t it high time the Falcons hushed the yapping S-aints?”

This is my 16th attempt to post a comment on this Union of Soviet Socialist Atlanta Newspaper website. I answered the above headline quote saying yes and that our (forbidden name) opponent had produced material for (forbidden name home team) this time around. I also suggested turning said unnamed opponent into something red and muddy.

Forgive me oh lord for I have sinned.

To: Mr. Cox at the AJC,

I promised not to bother you again regarding the way your site continually censors legit comments… but I sure wish you would do something to fix this.

who dat black is back

November 28th, 2012
4:47 pm

I will reserve my comments for the subsequent blog about the Falcons demise. There will always be one at the end of their season, because it never ends with a Super Bowl win.

Terry

November 28th, 2012
4:48 pm

Easy, falcons 31-20

Jeff H

November 28th, 2012
4:51 pm

Anything to shut up the bagheads.
Thank you, Macon Mike. I knew New Orleans could not ‘rule’ the Falcons. 30 years of a team so bad their fans were ashamed to show their faces does not equal ruling anyone at all.
But you give them a few cheating coaches and players with no sportsmanship, and they cheat their way to a trophy, and suddenly they are world beaters.
Go home, bagheads, and shut your traps.

extremus

November 28th, 2012
4:52 pm

Whether it’s a rivalry or not, the law of averages means things eventually even out over time. Granted, the Saints have enjoyed a huge run of success (albeit in mostly tightly contested games) against the Falcons in recent years, but at some point the pendulum will inevitably swing in the other direction. Thursday night would be as good a time as any. While I fully expect another grind-it-out, closely fought matchup, it sure would be nice to see the Falcons put a 49ers-style beatdown on the Saints, potentially en route to securing the NFC South title should the Bucs lose Sunday. And hey, if we get the chance we owe it to them to run up the score.

Falconfan93

November 28th, 2012
4:56 pm

The NFL… picking on the Saints? Gimme a break. They have been the darlings of the league. Drew Brees is on every NFL brand commercial(Visa, Verizon, shop.NFL.com). The reason the bounty issue became such a big issue with the NFL was that the commish caught them once. Told them to cut it out, because they were the feel good story the NFL needed after Katrina. They didn’t. So he came down hard. Can you blame him?

It is going to be a throw back game. 1st 1000 Saints fans get a paper bag for their head.

tom

November 28th, 2012
4:59 pm

Breese the Manning Bros and our own Matty Ice are only as great as the protection they receive. Falcons play like they did against the Bucs and they lose big. Defense was horrible and the where was the long ball threat most of the game. One time to Jones and that was it. They need to win one with a large gap in the score.

dubshakk

November 28th, 2012
4:59 pm

As a Saints fan, this article & the comments make me chuckle. If you don’t want the Saints talking trash, win the game. If you don’t want passing records set on your team in primetime, stop Brees from throwing 4th quarter TD passes. If you don’t want your overtime possesion to end, make a yard on 4th and 1. If you don’t want Remi Ayodele pissing on the dirty bird, then…..well, I won’t go there, but you get the point. Be a professional, and beat the other team on the field, then the yapping will stop. Until then, the Saints can yap all they want. WHO DAT!!!

Roark

November 28th, 2012
5:01 pm

hope this gets posted on the ATL bulletin-board!

stomp the sAints

November 28th, 2012
5:04 pm

Enter your comments here

MFranklin

November 28th, 2012
5:04 pm

History is absolutely clear; the S.aints fans did indeed wear bags over their heads because their team had more vacuum power than a Hoover. They also produced ‘I Hate The Falcons’ tee shirts for a while as well. They were gold with black lettering. Why? Because when they were on the verge of their first playoff spot, we beat them and sent them to an early off season.

The S.aints and F.alcons have been huge rivals since they were both in the NFC West and both subject to humiliation by the Rams and 49ers year after year. The major issue was that we (F.alcons) were always just one level up from them in this NFL dungeon. But… instead of understanding the brotherhood of suffering both teams endured during these years, the S.aints and their fans turned a grudging hate against us… that endures to this day.

**Wondering if this will make it past the KGB censors…

stomp the sAints

November 28th, 2012
5:07 pm

It’s time to wrap up the NFC South on Thursday Night Football.

oldmike

November 28th, 2012
5:08 pm

Seems like the perfect time to end the Saints season. Brees looked pretty ordinary against the niners. We looked poised and confident against the Bucs. I’ll take 7-1 in 7 point games any day of the week. Smitty is a conservative coach at heart. Let’s hope beget one giant gorilla of our backs Thursday and then stuff the Giants to boot.

Heat Check

November 28th, 2012
5:10 pm

extremus,

I will let you in on a little secret….

There are 2 main reasons the 49ers whip the Saints and the Falcons possess neither quality. The 49ers pass rush this season is hands down the best in the NFL and they seldom rush more than 4 to get the QB. The next is they run the ball. You, I, and anyone watching football knows the 49ers are going to do but can’t stop it.

The game Thursday to me is a toss up when you factor in the short week, but with Samuel out or playing with 1 arm it’s gonna be a long night for that Falcons defense. I think the Saints eeek 1 out in similar fashion to the first 35-27, with Brees having a 350 yd plus night.

sidslid

November 28th, 2012
5:11 pm

That defense is abysmal. With Julio back at what looks like full strength, we should easily put up 40.

sidslid

November 28th, 2012
5:13 pm

Enter your comments here

Heat Check

November 28th, 2012
5:13 pm

oldmike,

the 49ers don’t have much in common with the Falcons. I don’t know how drawing on that game has anything to do with tomorrow night

BigHittas

November 28th, 2012
5:19 pm

Please bomb the Saints to death. And make sure to throw the ball just beyond that slow azz Lofton’s coverage a bunch? And if we’re up with 2-3 minutes left, please run it up instead of being nice?

NuclearJim

November 28th, 2012
5:20 pm

Uh, they only wore the bags over their WOMEN’S heads in NOLA – for obvious reason unrelated to football and the NFL. If you have ever been to NOLA and seen their washed-out haggard looking homely fem’s, you know exactly what I mean! NASTY!

PMC

November 28th, 2012
5:20 pm

The “big brothers” are a 5-6 grease fire, and Steve Gleason has had more relevance in the last 5 years than Scott Shanle.

The Saints aren’t even relevant this year even if they sweep the Falcons, they aren’t making the playoffs.

The reason the Falcons have been poor against the Saints is one of matchups. Stephen Nicholas is an average player, he can’t matchup with Jimmy Graham period. The Falcons have had one of the poorer pass defenses in the league, partially because outside of Spoon the linebackers aren’t very talented or in Mike Pete’s case in thier prime.

The Falcons have also been generally bad at rushing the passer, Drew Brees does really well when he’s not pressured.

Prior to last season the Falcons lacked enough offensive playmakers to score with the Saints given our porous pass defense.

Also, this is the first year the Falcons have employed an NFL caliber defensive coordinator

I can only assume Thomas Dimitroff will continue filling holes, but Sean Payton with Drew Brees has been one of the better offensive combos in the league since 2006 and we haven’t exactly hit it out of the park with all our personnel moves to counter that.

It’s generally the matchups that have been the difference. Every game for the most part has come down to the end.

The Saints defense is hot freaking garbage, though despite this “not being a rivalry” they generally save thier best play for Falcons games.

PMC

November 28th, 2012
5:23 pm

Everyone in our division has worn bags over thier heads.

We all hate each other. Let’s get over it.

I’d love to hear a little more passion about winning these games coming from the front office here, at least I’d like to know that they are hurt by thier piss poor record against them.

BigHittas

November 28th, 2012
5:23 pm

and BTW, you HAVE to pressure Brees. You can’t allow him to stay in the pocket and pick you to death, OK D????

Steve

November 28th, 2012
5:23 pm

The Braves just got Upton, nice!

JustCS3

November 28th, 2012
5:25 pm

The overall record is 46-41, with Atlanta leading by 5 games. So, despite winning 11 of the last 13, the Aints are still just trying to play catch up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcons%E2%80%93Saints_rivalry

Kick who dat's butt

November 28th, 2012
5:32 pm

Looks like who dat alpha male is trying to peek out like a groundhog since aints have been in hibernation all season…. either way… the sphincter muslce will not be seen on Friday morning…. makes me feel so good that the cry baby has not been seen the entire season… only an occasional wimper from the crying rodent.

dubshakk

November 28th, 2012
5:32 pm

Nice rational post by PMC. It’s funny how we hate divisional opponents in NFL and wish their demise, but we will root for other SEC teams in college football if our guys can’t get it done. That being said, I hope UGA beats Bama, so I don’t have to root for Bama in the NC.

MardiBug

November 28th, 2012
5:35 pm

@dubshakk – I couldn’t agree with you more.

All the Falcons fans ever do is whine about New Orleans. All the Saints have done is beat them.

WHO DAT BABY!!!

Ted M

November 28th, 2012
5:37 pm

Keep the ball out of Michael Turner’s hands.

Billyho55

November 28th, 2012
5:39 pm

WELL GUYS…THE FREAKIN JAGS CLAIMED BABIN OFF WAIVERS! GOES TO AN EVEN WORSE TEAM THAN IGGLES! JUST COMICAL!

Billyho55

November 28th, 2012
5:40 pm

Steve,
THANKS FOR THE UPDATE!

NotConvinced

November 28th, 2012
5:45 pm

Facts is Facts….
Im not convinced at all about the 2012 Falcons.
Win a playoff game first!!!