In what was one of the best regular season wins of my lifetime as a Saints fan, the Saints held on to beat bitter rival and previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons 31-27 in the Superdome. The win raises the Saints' record to 4-5 (dammit if they had only beaten KANSAS CITY!!!!!) but more importantly gives us hope as we know they can beat anyone on any given Sunday. The defense is still not anywhere close to "good", but in this game they did a fantastic job stopping the run, generating a semblance of a pass rush with the front four, and playing excellent red zone defense much like last week. The Saints now have a fantastic shot at going 5-5 next week as they play a woeful Raiders team without Darren McFadden. Make the jump for my bullets on the game.
- The Saints are still getting beat vertically all too often, but at least this time it wasn't players running wide open as much. Many of the long passes were contested, the Falcons just made good plays.
- Michael Turner had 13 carries for 15 yards. His few goal line carries were all stopped dead in their tracks. Monster performance by the defense at the line of scrimmage. Broderick Bunkley in particular could not be moved in the trenches.
- Up and down game for former Falcon Curtis Lofton. At times he was beaten in coverage, other times got the Saints off the field with a 3rd down break up. At times he made tackles around the line of scrimmage, at times poor in play recognition.
- The Saints' offense was on fire at the end of the 1st half, but they had numerous opportunities to kill the game and couldn't do it. Letting the Falcons hang around forced the defense to come up with stops.
- Those two goal line stands by the Saints' defense were magical. Unreal stops. Fantastic run defense and good coverage. Color me shocked.
- Chris Ivory had a massive touchdown run, once again begging the question why he hasn't played sooner. What an incredible run.
- Mark Ingram was running very well as well. Obviously they carried over their effort from the Eagles game which was great to see.
- Charles Brown held up beautifully at right tackle. With him in, Greg Olsen came in as the jumbo tight end on numerous occasions. He had a stupid penalty but otherwise gave the Saints a lot of physicality in the run.
- I'm still frustrated with Jimmy Graham for that sequence where he had a false start and then ANOTHER dropped pass on 3rd down, but it's hard to stay mad when he turns in a performance like that. It was unreal. 7 catches, 146 yards, 2 touchdowns. Wow.
- Devery Henderson had a monster block on Ivory's TD run, but also had 2 drops and no receptions. One was a high deep ball that could've been thrown better, but the second was a gimme pass on a 3rd down. That was a killer drop.
- Lance Moore had an outstretched one handed circus catch over the middle that was just unbelievable.
- For most of the first three quarters the Saints' offensive and defensive lines dominated the game. While the Falcons repeatedly exposed the Saints' secondary, the winner was deserving in this one because I really felt like the Saints dominated the line of scrimmage and beat up the Falcons in the trenches.
- Thomas Morstead had a monster game. 50 yards per punt and yielded only 9 return yards on 3 returns. Credit fantastic coverage, too. If Morstead isn't headed to the Pro Bowl after this kind of season then it's never happening. Just incredible.
- That Garrett Hartley make from 31 was HUGE. He doesn't make that, and the Saints lose, because all the Falcons would need is a field goal on that last drive. He should always make that, yes, but don't lie you were nervous.
That's all I got. What a fantastic win against a very good team. Bring on the Raiders for a chance to get back to .500! Who would have thought after starting 0-4?