Atlanta - The New Orleans Saints ended the 2016 season with a 38-32 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was spot-on from the get-go, leading the Falcons on touchdown drives on each of their five first half possessions. He finished the game 27 for 36 for 331 yards and four touchdowns.
The Saints trailed 35-13 at halftime but rallied with with three second half touchdowns before the Falcons were able to run out the clock.
The loss dropped the Saints to 7-9, the third consecutive season they've had that record, good for a third-place finish in the NFC South. The NFC South-champion Falcons (11-5) earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye with the victory.
Several Saints player hit milestones during the game. Brees surpassed 5,000 yards passing for the fifth time in his career, rookie receiver Michael Thomas eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and running back Mark Ingram registered the first 1,000-yard season of his career.
Receiver Willie Snead IV had to leave the game in the fourth quarter to be examined for a potential concussion and Cooks left after being shaken up attempting to make a catch late in the game. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins also had to leave the game with a foot injury.
It was the final game between the teams in the Georgia Dome as the Falcons are moving into a new stadium in 2017.
Saints stat leaders
Drew Brees, 29 of 50 for 350 yards with two touchdowns and one interception
Mark Ingram, 20 carries for 103 yards and one touchdown
Michael Thomas, 10 catches for 156 yards and one touchdown
Falcons stat leaders
Matt Ryan, 27 of 36 for 331 yards and four touchdowns
Devonta Freeman, 12 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown
Julio Jones, seven catches for 96 yards and a touchdown