On a night when former New Orleans Saints great Steve Gleason was honored for his contributions to football and society, New Orleans special-teams standout Michael Mauti blocked an Atlanta Falcons punt to give the Saints their second touchdown of the "Thursday Night Football" game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Saints entered halftime with a 14-7 lead against the undefeated Falcons.
Gleason, of course, entered Saints lore when he blocked an Atlanta punt in the game that re-opened the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006. Gleason was on hand Thursday to receive the George Halas award from the Pro Football Writers Association.
Mauti, the son of former Saints receiver Rich Mauti and a Mandeville High graduate, came right up the gut of the Atlanta line to block Matt Bosher's punt. Mauti recovered and bull his way a few yards into the end zone.
The Saints scored earlier in the quarter on a 2-yard Mark Ingram run.
The Falcons scored on a 7-yard Matt Ryan pass to Roddy White and ?
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 16 of 20 for 164 yards in the half. Tight end Benjamin Watson was the top receiver with six receptions for 72 yards.
The Saints' defense had a fourth-down stop and forced and recovered a fumble by Atlanta running back Tevin Coleman and by Ryan, botn ending Atlanta drives in the red zone. Ryan never received the shotgun snap from James Stone on the ball he lost with 1:54 to play in the second quarter.
The Saints lost starting left tackle Andrus Peat, the team's 2015 first-round draft pick, in the first quarter when an Atlanta player rolled up on his left leg. Veteran Tony Hills replaced him. Peat was playing for starting left tackle Terron Armstead, who missed his second consecutive game with an injury.