Atlanta Falcons humble New Orleans Saints with 26-9 upset
They got manhandled. Outplayed. Beaten. Dominated. And simply overpowered. The New Orleans Saints were not the team we’ve come to know yesterday.
The New Orleans Saints went into Week 10 facing their first NFC South opponent of the 2019 season, the Atlanta Falcons, as 14.0-point favorites in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Atlanta was able to notch only its second win of the season and handed New Orleans a tough pill to swallow.
The Saints no longer control their own destiny for the top seed in the NFC, as they would need to win out the rest of the regular season and hope the San Francisco 49ers fall to the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow night.
To start the game, both teams exchanged field goals before the Falcons put up 10 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hit tight end Austin Hooper for an 8-yard touchdown pass, and then kicker Younghoe Koo booted a 36-yard field goal to extend their lead to 13-3.
Before the half, Saints kicker Wil Lutz put up a 47-yard field goal as New Orleans trailed 13-6 going into intermission.
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In the third quarter, the Saints failed to get into the end zone as Lutz made a 28-yard field goal to cut the deficit to four points.
But, Ryan then led another scoring drive, as he found running back Brian Hill on a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it a 20-9 advantage.
Two more field goals from Koo would be the last scoring plays of the game, as the 26-9 defeat brought the Saints’ record down to (7-2).
On this day, the Saints nearly repeated their Week 2 performance against the Los Angeles Rams, where they lost 27-9. The team failed to score a touchdown, despite numerous red-zone opportunities against the Falcons.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for 287 yards while completing 32 of his 45 passes, but the looming statistic is the lack of touchdowns on the board from the offense.
The Falcons defense corralled Brees by bringing him down six times on the afternoon, and that is when the Saints had only allowed 12 sacks all season before Week 10’s matchup.
The bright spot was the continued success of Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, as he caught 13 passes for 152 yards. Thomas has totaled 86 receptions for 1,027 receiving yards in just nine games and remains the only consistent offensive weapon for New Orleans.
Another reason why the Falcons won was their victory in the time of possession battle. Atlanta held the football for nearly 34 minutes, including a 17-play touchdown drive in the second quarter.
The Falcons also rushed for 143 yards as a team, compared to just 52 yards for the Saints.
Even though the Saints defense allowed 26 points, it does not help matters when the offense fails to capitalize on good field position and finish with touchdowns.
Saints head coach Sean Payton will no doubt work on the team’s lack of offensive execution and try to improve in the red zone, eliminate costly penalties and get more production from players outside of Thomas.
Brees struggled in this game, but he should be able to rebound from this wake-up call as the season starts getting closer to January.
Every team has adversity in some form every year, but after these obstacles are thrown at a team, they should be able to have the leadership and mindset to stay the course and get back to its winning ways.