Atlanta - On a day when he set the NFL record for completions, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees used his legs to drive his team to a 43-37 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
With 1:15 to play and down by seven, Brees made two Falcon defenders miss and raced into the end zone from seven yards out to force overtime. The Saints won the toss and captured the hard-earned victory when Brees jumped into the end zone from a yard out. The touchdown capped a methodical 80-yard touchdown drive that took 15 plays. The Saints thought they had won it on a pass to Alvin Kamara but on review he was ruled down at the 1.
The Saints (2-1) had to overcome a career-outing from Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan as he threw for a career-high five touchdowns - three to rookie receiver Calvin Ridley - as well as a series of penalties. The Saints were penalized 11 times for 120 yards and the flags ranged from the mundane (false starts) to the improbable (unnecessary roughness, which turned a made Falcons field goal into a touchdown on the next play). Even with all the penalties and the big passing plays the Saints surrendered, they were always in the game as the lead went back and forth between the teams:
First quarter: Saints lead, tied
Second: Saints, Falcons, Saints
Third: Falcons, Saints
Fourth: Falcons, Saints, Falcons, Saints, tied
OT: Tied, Saints win
Brees threw three touchdown passes to go along with his two TD runs, and was 39 of 49 for 396 yards. One of his touchdown passes went to Cameron Meredith, it was his first reception as a Saint.
Defensive end Alex Okafor blocked Matt Bosher's punt which the Saints quickly turned into Meredith's touchdown catch.
The loss dropped Atlanta to 1-2.
The Saints will play at the New York Giants next Sunday, Sept. 30.
Saints stat leaders
Drew Brees, 39 of 49 for 396 yards with three TD passes and two rushing TDs
Alvin Kamara, 16 carries for 66 yards, 15 receptions for 124 yards
Michael Thomas, 10 catches for 129 yards