New Orleans never trailed in the contest until Falcons DE Chauncey Davis picked off a Drew Brees pass attempt and rambled in 26 yards for the interception return for a touchdown. With over 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Saints trail 14-10.
New Orleans received the opening kickoff and Atlanta P Michael Koenen had a touchback. On the first play, QB Drew Brees handed off to RB Pierre Thomas and he gained two yards up ahead. A second down throw to WR Devery Henderson was incomplete. On third and eight, a throw to TE Jeremy Shockey gained only four yards, sending P Thomas Morstead out to punt. Morestead's punt went for 50 yards to the Atlanta 25.
On Atlanta's first play from scrimmage, RB Michael Turner got nowhere, being stopped by DE Alex Brown for no gain. On second down, Falcons QB Matt Ryan's pass was broken up at the line by Brown. On third down, a pass intended for Falcons WR Harry Douglas didn't hit its target, sending RB Reggie Bush out to receive a punt. Koenen kicked to Bush at the 30-yard line and he returned it to the New Orleans 39.
On first down, Brees completed an eight-yard pass to Henderson for a 14-yard gain to the Atlanta 47 near the Saints sideline. A first down throw intended for Graham was incomplete. On a second down throw to WR Lance Moore near the Saints sideline, only two yards were gained. On second and eight, Brees eluded rushers and completed his throw under pressure to WR Robert Meachem, but the pass was for no gain as he was stopped up by Falcons CB Brian Williams. Morstead had a 40-yard punt that was downed by CB Leigh Torrence at the five-yard line.
On first down, Ryan handed off to Turner for a six-yard gain, before he was tripped up by S Roman Harper. On second down, Turner was stopped for a three-yard loss by LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar making the start at strongside linebacker. On third and seven from the eight, Ryan's pass intended for Jenkins went out of bounds. With Bush back, Koenen had a 51-yard punt, putting New Orleans at their 40-yard line.
Brees handed off to Thomas on first down as he was stopped by Atlanta LB Curtis Lofton and DE Jamaal Anderson as he gained only one yard. On second down, Brees completed a pass to Meachem near the Falcons sideline for a gain of six. On third and three from the 47, Brees went downfield up the middle to Colston, but the throw was broken up by Falcons S William Moore. Morstead's 53-yard punt sailed into the end zone for a touchback.
On first down for Atlanta from the 20, a high throw by Ryan was caught by WR Roddy White at the 38-yard line. With a fresh set of downs, Ryan dropped back and went to White again, but this time, offsetting pass interference penalties resulted in a replay of first down. On the next play, Turner gained only two yards before being stopped by DE Will Smith and DT Sedrick Ellis. On second down, Ryan completed a five-yard pass to Jenkins. With third and three, Ryan dropped back and a pass intended for WR Brian Finneran was broken up at the line of scrimmage, forcing the punt unit out. A 26-yard punt by Koenen went out of bounds at the New Orleans 29.
On first down, Brees completed a pass to Bush that was good for a gain of eight yards. Brees converted a first down, on a throw to Meachem for a gain of eight. Brees handed off to Thomas on the fresh first down and he gained one yard. A pass to WR Lance Moore, where he had a subsequent nice run for more gained 16 and put the Saints in Falcons territory. Brees went back on first down and completed a throw to Thomas, but it gained only one yard. A second down pass to Thomas out of the backfield resulted in no gain as he was stopped by Falcons DE Kroy Biermann. On third and nine from the 37, Brees went to Thomas again and he advanced to the 34, setting up a fourth and six and a trip out by the field goal unit and a 52-yard attempt by K Garrett Hartley, which he drilled through the uprights, for the longest field goal of his career. Hartley's subsequent kickoff went for a touchback.
On first down for Atlanta from the 20, Turner was stopped for a two-yard loss by LB Jonathan Vilma and Smith. On second down, Ryan completed an 18-yard throw of White near the middle of the field on the last play of the first quarter. On first and ten from the 36, Turner was tripped up by DL Jimmy Wilkerson for only a one-yard gain. On second down, Ryan handed off to the Falcons' bell cow again and he was stopped by Dunbar after only a one-yard gain. On third and eight, a fumbled snap was recovered by Vilma, putting New Orleans at the Atlanta 34-yard line.
New Orleans got their first, first down of the series on a ten-yard throw from Brees to Graham. For their next first down, Thomas barreled forward before being stopped by Moore at the three-yard line for a gain of 16 yards. Thomas then rushed in for the rushing touchdown to put the Saints up by ten.
Hartley's kickoff went to the five and it was returned to the 22, where Atlanta would start out. Ryan first threw to TE Tony Gonzalez where he gained seven before being stopped by Dunbar. Turner then ripped out a 27-yard run to move into New Orleans territory, but on his next rush, he was stopped by CB Tracy Porter for a loss of one, putting Atlanta at second and 11 at the Saints 45. Ryan misfired on a second down pass intended for Jenkins. But Atlanta, got a first down, when a short throw to RB Jason Snelling turned into a 19-yard gain. Ryan's first down pass was incomplete, but DL Anthony Hargrove was called for illegal hands to the face, putting the Falcons at the 21-yard line. On the fresh set of downs, Ryan scrambled and in the process, Dunbar was called for a personal foul penalty following a seven-yard rush, putting the Falcons at the seven-yard line following the penalty. On the first down, inside the ten, Ryan handed off to Turner, but he was stopped for a loss of one. A second down throw was incomplete, but both teams were called for offsetting penalties, resulting in a replay of second down. Ryan then completed a seven-yard touchdown to White to put the Falcons within three.
The kickoff by Koenen resulted in Thomas being stopped at the 18-yard line where the Saints would resume possession. On first down, Brees threw a quick pass to Bush that resulted in a four-yard gain. On second and six from the 22, Bush handed off to Thomas who gained one yard before being stopped by Anderson. On third and five from the 23, Brees tried a downfield attempt that was just overthrown for Meachem, forcing Morstead back to the field where a punt took a Saints bounce to the Atlanta 30-yard line.
On first down, Turner was forced out of bounds by Vilma for no gain. On second and ten, Ryan's pass for Jenkins for broken up by CB Jabari Greer. On third and ten, Jenkins was called for offensive pass interference, forcing a third and 20 from the Atlanta 20. A third down throw to Falcons FB Ovie Mughelli only gained 11, sending the punt unit out again. Koenen punted to Bush at the 20-yard line before being stopped by Mughelli at the 21. On the return, DE Jeff Charleston was called for an illegal block to the back that would set the Saints back at the ten to start their drive. New Orleans would be unable to get out of their territory and would be forced to punt and have a three point lead at the half.
Hartley's kickoff to open the second half was downed for a touchback and Ryan's first pass of the half was incomplete. He completed a second down throw to Gonzalez for a five-yard gain. A third down throw to Jenkins was complete just at the first down marker. On the fresh set of downs, Ryan threw to Jenkins again and Porter stopped him for a one-yard loss. Ryan went to the Ohio State product for the third consecutive time and found him for a 16-yard gain. On first down from the 45, Ryan handed off to Turner who gained four yards before being stopped by Vilma. On second down, on a pass attempt to Jenkins, Porter was called for a pass interference penalty, putting the Falcons at the New Orleans 36-yard line. Porter was called for his second straight interference penalty at a play at the goal line, giving the Falcons first and goal at the one. On first and goal, Turner was stopped for no gain. Ryan handed off to Turner on second down and a fumble was forced by Charleston and recovered by LB Marvin Mitchell.
The Saints got the ball back from the two and Brees threw an incompletion on first down under pressure. On second down, Thomas was stopped by Falcons LB Mike Peterson for no gain. On third down, Brees completed a 12-yard pass to WR Marques Colston for a 12-yard gain. After Thomas was stopped for a loss of one, Brees completed another pass down the middle to Colston for a ten-yard gain, setting up third and one. A rush by Bush to the edge resulted in no gain. The punt by Morstead was downed at the Atlanta 23-yard line.
On first down, Turner rushed ahead and gained six before being stopped by Wilkerson. On second down, Snelling was stopped by Brown after only a one-yard gain. On third and three, Ryan completed a pass play for a 15-yard gain to Jenkins for a first down to the 45. Ryan ran play action with the fresh set of downs, but his attempt slightly overthrew Gonzalez. A second down pass intended for White was incomplete. Following an Atlanta timeout, Ryan dropped back on third and under pressure from Smith was forced to throw an incomplete pass. Koenen's punt went into the end zone for a touchback.
With New Orleans taking the ball at the 20, Brees' first down pass intended for Meachem was incomplete, followed by a missed connection with Colston setting up third and ten. The signal caller found Meachem up the middle on the clutch third down play as they gained 14 yards to move the chains. Brees rolled out on the first down and attempted a bomb to Meachem that was broken up by Falcons CB Dunta Robinson. On second down, Thomas gained four yards on a handoff. On third down, Brees completed a pass to Thomas avoiding a sack and got back to the line of scrimmage. Morstead came out to punt gain and it was fielded at the 18 before Atlanta WR Eric Weems advanced it to the 24.
On first down, Ryan handed off to Turner for a seven-yard gain before he was stopped by S Roman Harper. On second down, Ryan dropped back and was taken down by DE Will Smith for a loss of seven, forcing the Falcons to need ten yards for a first down. Ryan threw an outlet pass to Mughelli, but he was only able to get eight yards forward, forcing the punt unit out again. Koenen punted the ball out of bounds at the 23-yard line. On the special teams play, Torrence was called for a personal foul penalty play on hitting an Atlanta player out of bounds, forcing the Saints back to starting at their ten-yard line.
New Orleans got the yardage back though as Thomas ripped off a 13-yard run on the final play of the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Brees completed a ten-yard throw to Henderson. On the next play however, dump off attempt by Brees was picked off by Falcons DE Chauncey Davis for a touchdown to put the Falcons in the lead for the first time.