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New Orleans Saints beat Atlanta Falcons 26-18 to capture third consecutive NFC South title

Game action photos from Thursday Night Football on Thanksgiving night 2019 as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons in week 13 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta - On Thanksgiving night, at the home of their most hated rival, the New Orleans Saints gave their fans several things to be thankful for:

  1. A redemptive 26-18 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium that gave the Saints (10-2) their third consecutive NFC South title.
  2. An all-everything performance from reserve quarterback Taysom Hill, as the Idaho Army Knife caught a touchdown pass, ran for a 30-yard touchdown and partially blocked Atlanta's first punt.
  3. The development of second-year defensive end Marcus Davenport, as he registered two sacks of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and forced a Ryan fumble that was recovered by safety Vonn Bell.
  4. The pass-rushing dominance of Cam Jordan.
  5. The continued excellence of stalwarts Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. All contributed their normal high-level play and continued their assault on league and team record books.

Jordan registered a career-high four sacks, giving him 13.5 sacks of the season, the third consecutive season he has cracked double digits. Jordan also moved past Wayne Martin into second all-time in Saints history with 85. Jordan had four of the Saints' nine sacks and defensive tackle Shy Tuttle and rookie defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson each had an interception. It also was the 38th consecutive game that the Saints defense didn't allow a 100-yard rusher.

Brees was 18 of 30 for 184 and a 3-yard touchdown pass to Hill, the 532nd of his career, tying him with Tom Brady for second all-time. Brees also broke the 10,000-attempt barrier in the game, second all-time to Brett Favre.

Thomas continued his chase for the single-season receptions record as he hauled in six passes for 48 yards, giving him 110 receptions in 12 games. The record is Marvin Harrison's 143.

Kamara ran for 61 yards on 11 carries to become the fourth player in NFL history to have 2,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards receiving in his first three seasons. The other players: Christian McCaffrey, Roger Craig and Herschel Walker.

The start of the game couldn't have gone better for the Saints. Davenport sacked Ryan on the first play and when the Falcons (3-9) were forced to punt, Hill made his first big play of the half. The Saints led 17-9 at halftime and added three more Wil Lutz field goals in the second half. Lutz made kicks from 22, 47, 42 and 45 yards.

The end of the game couldn't have gone worse for the Saints as they allowed the Falcons to recover back-to-back onside kicks, converting one into a field goal. The defense ended the final Atlanta drive on downs.

Notes: Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore returned to action after missing the previous two games. Atlanta played without star wide receiver Julio Jones. Saints receiver Tre'Quan Smith left the game with an ankle injury and linebacker Kiko Alonso left with a thigh injury. …. Penalties continue to be an issue for the Saints as they had nine for 121 yards. ... The Saints will play host to the conference-leading San Francisco 49ers (10-1) on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers will play the Baltimore Ravens (9-2) on Sunday, Dec. 1.

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