- Despite a career-high day from QB
Matt Ryan, the Falcons late game rally fell short as Atlanta suffered its first loss of the season in a 31-27 defeat at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
- Ryan tied career highs completing 34 of 52 pass attempts for a career-best 411 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and a 100.7 passer rating. Sunday’s loss marked the first time that the Falcons have lost when Ryan has thrown three-or-more touchdowns (15-1). It was also the club’s first loss when Ryan records a passer rating of 100-or-better (29-1).
- Sunday was the first time in Ryan’s career that he has thrown for over 400 yards. His 411 passing yards are the third-most in a single-game in franchise history behind Chris Chandler (431) and Steve Bartkowski (416). He is one of just three quarterbacks to have a 400-yard game in club history.
Tony Gonzalezhad a milestone day as the future Hall of Famer caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Gonzalez became the second player in NFL history to catch 1,200 career passes and his 1,210 career receptions rank second all-time behind WR Jerry Rice (1,549).
- With two touchdown receptions on Sunday, Gonzalez not only became the first tight end and eighth player in NFL history to record 100 touchdown catches, but he also claimed sole possession of sixth place on the NFL’s all-time touchdown receptions list with 101 career scores. He passed WR Tim Brown and WR Steve Largent with his two touchdown performance on Sunday.
- In Sunday’s game, Gonzalez also moved past WR Cris Carter for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list. In 16 seasons, Gonzalez has caught 1,210 passes for 13,955 yards while Carter posted 13,899 receiving yards in his 16 NFL seasons.
- Additionally, Gonzalez posted the 30th 100-yard game of his career improving his own NFL record for 100-yard receiving games by a tight end.
Roddy Whiteturned in his second consecutive and 32nd career 100-yard game, catching seven passes for 114 yards. White has now recorded five 100-yard games against the Saints. He is the Falcons all-time leader in 100-yard games, receiving yards, and receptions. White needs 177 yards to complete his sixth straight 1,000-yard season.
- For the second consecutive game, the Falcons produced two 100-yard receivers, with Gonzalez and White each posting over 100 receiving yards. The Falcons have now accomplished this feat 14 times in franchise history.
- The Falcons opened the game with a seven-play, 80-yard drive touchdown drive. Ryan hit T
Mike Johnsonfor his first career touchdown catch, a one-yard score to cap the drive. Atlanta has scored an NFL-best 34 points on its opening possessions this season. Since 2008, the Falcons 207 first possession points are tops in the NFL.
Asante Samuelinitiated himself in the Falcons-Saints rivalry right away, intercepting QB Drew Brees on his first pass attempt of the game. Samuel has recorded two interceptions this season and his 47 career picks are the third-most among active players.
- Samuel’s interception was Atlanta’s 18th takeaway of the season, 12 of those takeaways have come on drives lasting four-or-fewer plays this season. The Falcons 12 quick turnover drives rank second in the NFL behind the Chicago Bears.
- Ryan hit Gonzalez for his second touchdown pass of the game in the second quarter. Ryan has thrown multiple touchdowns in seven of nine games this season. He has led the Falcons to a 29-6 record in his career when he throws two-or-more touchdowns, including 15-1 when he throws at least three TDs.
- Defensively, the Falcons were led by LB
Akeem Dentwho tallied nine total tackles (six solo). LB Stephen Nicholasalso had a strong performance notching seven tackles (five solo) with one sack and one tackle for loss. Nicholas dropped Brees on a key third down play in the second half that helped spark the Falcons late game rally. It was his first sack of the season and the sixth of his career.