K Matt Bryant booted a 46-yard field goal in overtime to give the Falcons a 27-24 win over the Saints Sunday afternoon at the Superdome.
The Falcons outgained the Saints on offense by a 417-398 net yardage margin, including a 202 to 43 advantage in rushing yards. The Falcons held the ball 45:50 compared the Saints' 27:15 time of possession.
WR Lance Moorehad a career day with six receptions for a career-best 149 yards and two touchdowns.
QB Drew Breescompleted 30 of 38 attempts for 365 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
RB Pierre Thomasled the Saints in rushing with 30 yards on nine carries. No. 23 also chipped in on the passing game with six receptions for 61 yards.
TE Jeremy Shockeyhad a strong performance with eight catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
LBs Scott ShanleandJonathan Vilmatied for a team best 11 total tackles. LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar has a solid outng with a career-best 10 tackles.
The Saints started the game by forcing the Falcons to go three-and-out. The Falcons punted and Moore took it for a career-long 72-yards to Atlanta's six-yard line. Three plays later on third and two, Brees found Shockey for a two-yard touchdown. The scored marked Brees' fourth touchdown strike of the season and 206th of his career. It was Shockey's first touchdown catch of the season and 31st of his career.
When the Falcons got the ball back, QB Matt Ryan drove his squad on a nine-play, 80-yard drive with him eventually finding TE Tony Gonzalez for a 13-yard touchdown.
When the Saints got back on offense, Brees threw his first interception in 243 attempts, including the 2009 postseason, on a pick by Atlanta DB Brent Grimes who returned it 36 yards. The pick by Grimes also marked the first turnover by the Saints offense this season.
However, New Orleans would force the punt on a three-and-out drive. Moore fair-catched the punt at the New Orleans 14. Three plays later, Brees would find a wide open Moore who raced 80 yards to the endzone 80-yard touchdown connection. Moore' touchdown dash was the longest reception of his career. His previous best was a 70-yard catch vs. Green Bay on Nov 24, 2008.
The Saints forced the Falcons to punt again and the Saints were driving again with completions to TE David Thomas and Shockey, but Brees, facing pressure, threw an interception on a short throw to Atlanta DB Thomas DeCoud at the Atlanta 28-yard line
Atlanta took advantage of the turnover to drive all the way to the New Orleans 26-yard line, where on a fourth-and-two play they decided to go for it. On the key play, Ryan found WR Roddy Whitefor a seven-yard gain to advance to the 19-yard line.
On a third-and-one play at the Atlanta ten-yard line though, Falcons RB Michael Turner was thrown for a one-yard loss by DE Alex Brown. Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkeywould go for it on fourth down again and Ryan completed an eight-yard pass to Gonzalez. Falcons RB Michael Turner then had a one-yard gain to the New Orleans one.
DT Remi Ayodele had tackled turnover for a loss on the next play, but he was also called for a personal foul horse collar penalty, which gave the Falcons an automatic first down at the one yard line. On first-and-one, Turner was stopped by LB Jonathan Vilma and DE Jeff Charleston for no gain. On second-and-one, Turner finally got in the end zone to tie the score.
The Saints got the ball back with just over a minute to go. Brees managed quick completions to Shockey, Pierre Thomas and David Thomas, near midfield before calling timeout with 16 seconds left. However, there was only time for one more completion to WR Robert Meachem before halftime.
New Orleans took the ball out at the half and following a 15-yard completion to the New Orleans 32-yard line on third-and-16, RB Chris Ivory fumbled on the fourth-and-one play and the ball was recovered by Atlanta.
The Saints defense immediately picked up the offense when DT Sedrick Ellis sacked Ryan for a four-yard loss. Ryan then completed a six-yard pass to Gonzalez. On third-and-eight, Ryan found Gonzalez again for a 14-yard gain and a first down.
Atlanta advanced to near midfield when Turner rushed one-yard gain. The Falcons runner then had a 32-yard gain to move into the red zone. There, Ryan threw and incomplete pass. Falcons RB Jason Snelling rushed to the two-yard line. Initially it was ruled that CB Malcolm Jenkins had forced the ball out and it was recovered by CB Patrick Robinson, but following a challenge by Atlanta it was reversed. Ryan threw and incomplete pass intended for Gonzalez and then Turner was stopped by Vilma and LB Marvin Mitchell for a one-yard loss. On third down, Turner was taken down by Mitchell for a loss, forcing Bryant to kick a 13-yard field goal.
New Orleans got the ball back after the kickoff return at their 18-yard line. After failing to execute on the punt, Head Coach Sean Payton's third quarter challenge resulted in a fumble recovery by LS Jason Kyle. New Orleans then advance to the 22-yard line.
Then on third and two, Brees found WR Marques Colston for a six-yard gain. On first and ten at the 16, Brees hit Moore up the middle and he beat several defenders as he recorded his second touchdown of the game.
Atlanta got the ball back and advanced to midfield following a defensive pass interference penalty on New Orleans. Falcons WR Roddy White then had a 24-yard gain on a pass play. Falcons RB Jason Snelling then had a one-yard gain to the 25. On second down, Snelling rushed again for a two-yard gain and on third-and-six, Ryan found WR Roddy White for a 22-yard touchdown.
The Saints weren't able to respond to White's score and were forced to punt giving the Falcons the ball at the Atlanta 20-yard line.
The Falcons drove to the 37-yard line but on fourth and six, Ryan attempted to connect with Gonzalez was tipped by DE Alex Brown.
Brees led the team down to the 37-yard line with 1:24 left in the game. On fourth and one, Brees zinged a six-yard pass to Shockey to keep the drive alive. Five plays later, K Garrett Hartleykicked a 32-yard field goal to tie the score at 24-24 and send the NFC South showdown into overtime.
Atlanta won the overtime coin toss and chose to receive.
Ryan pushed the Falcons to their 42-yard line. On 3rd and seven, defensive captain Will Smithsacked Ryan for a nine-yard loss to force the Falcons to punt. Brees connected with Thomas, Shockey, Moore and Henderson to push the Saints to the Atlanta 11-yard line. Hartley attempted a 29-yard game winner but it sailed wide left.
The Falcons drove 52 yards on 12 plays over a 7:02 time span to setup Bryant's game-clinching kick.