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John DeShazier: Top performers from Saints vs. Falcons

Coby Fleener turned in a big game

Check out the action on the field between the Saints and Falcons.

OFFENSE: It was just a matter of time before tight end Coby Fleenerhad a solid, New Orleans Saints-tight-end type of game. It's an important position in New Orleans' offense and the production wasn't there for Fleener in the first two games of the season, but it came Monday night against Atlanta – seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, his first as a Saint. Included were receptions of 36 and 32 yards, showing Fleener's ability to get deep. Throw in honorable mentions to running back Mark Ingram (15 carries for 77 yards and four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown, his first receiving touchdown in the NFL) and receiver Brandon Coleman(seven catches, on eight targets, for 78 yards).

DEFENSE: This isn't easily identified on a night when the Saints surrendered 442 yards – 217 of them rushing – and seven yards per play. After forcing a three-and-out on Atlanta's first drive, the Falcons scored on six consecutive possessions to take control. But defensive tackle Nick Fairleycrashed through for 1.5 sacks, seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback hurries. Largely, though, it was a difficult night for a unit that was missing both starting cornerbacks, a starting linebacker, a starting defensive tackle and a starting safety.

SPECIAL TEAMS: On this occasion, we'll go with rookie kicker Wil Lutz, whose 57-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter was the longest field goal by a rookie in franchise history. Lutz also kicked off and booted three touchbacks, significant because Atlanta's Eric Weems returned his first kickoff attempt 42 yards. Weems was held to 12 yards on his next return, and wasn't able to attempt a return on the other three. Lutz continues to display the leg strength that made him a pickup right before the regular season.

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