Photos of Michael Mauti vs the Atlanta Falcons. Photos by Michael C. Hebert.
The New Orleans Saints will travel to face the Atlanta Falcons in the team's final game of the 2015 season. This week's game will mark the 93rd regular season meeting between New Orleans and Atlanta, with the Falcons holding a 48-44 advantage in the series. However, the Black and Gold have posted a 14-5 mark against Atlanta since 2006, including a 6-3 mark at the Georgia Dome.
The Saints will look to close out their 2015 season on a positive note, seeking two straight wins following a 38-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday. The 8-7 Falcons have won two straight, including a 20-13 win over previously undefeated Carolina on Sunday. In the win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints garnered 537 total net yards on offense with their most balanced performance of the season, running up 135 yards on the ground and 402 through the air. Defensively, New Orleans recorded two interceptions that led to 10 points, and surrendered a season-low 65 yards rushing.
Offensively, QB Drew Brees shook off a nagging foot injury to complete 25-of-36 passes for 412 yards with three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 135.4 passer rating. His top recipient was WR Brandin Cooks, who surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark with five grabs for 123 yards (24.6 avg.), including a 71-yard touchdown connection from the signal-caller. RB Tim Hightower had his first 100-yard performance in over five years, carrying 27 times for 122 yards with two touchdowns, chipping in three receptions for 47 yards for a career-high 169 total yards from scrimmage. A strong performance by the offensive line aided in the offensive explosion, as they only surrendered one sack.
Defensively, CB Delvin Breaux enjoyed a dominant performance, picking off Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles, deflecting a pass that led to DE Bobby Richardson's pick and totaling three passes defensed. S Kenny Vaccaro added a career-high two sacks.
New Orleans defeated the Falcons 31-21 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 15 in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs. In that contest, RB Mark Ingram rushed for an early touchdown and then near the end of the first quarter, LB Michael Mauti blocked a punt and returned it four yards for a touchdown to put the Saints out to a 14-0 lead. The Falcons scored early in the second quarter, but New Orleans scored 10 consecutive points in the third quarter to extend their lead to 24-7. A one-yard touchdown by Ingram midway through the fourth quarter secured a 31-14 lead. Also in the contest, TE Benjamin Watson enjoyed a career performance with 10 receptions for 127 yards with one touchdown, while defensively, DE Cameron Jordan tied a career-high with three sacks.