Riggs bulled over from three-yards out to start the scoring and provide the Falcons with the first points of the contest. After a Saints score tied it in the second quarter, the Birds defense aided the cause.
After an Atlanta punt, New Orleans was driving into Falcons territory when LB Al Richardson sacked QB Dave Wilson on a blitz, causing a fumble, and DE Mike Gann scooped up the loose ball. Gann rambled 42 yards for a touchdown to propel the Birds back into the lead.
Archer made sure the Falcons extended their advantage by capping off a late third quarter drive on a big third down-and-four with an 18-yard scramble for a score and 21-10 lead.
A wild fourth quarter started innocently with a K Mick Luckhurst 31-yard field goal from Atlanta’s side and a 28-yard touchdown catch by New Orleans TE Hoby Brenner.
But then on the ensuing kickoff following the Brenner score, Cliff Austin returned it 94-yards for a score to provide what seemed to be an insurmountable 31-17 Falcons lead with just over four minutes remaining.
The Birds proceeded to pick off Wilson twice to seemingly cement the outcome, but on the second theft disaster struck.
Trying to run out the clock with just 1:30 left, Atlanta fumbled and Saints DE Frank Warren returned it 50-yards for a touchdown to close the gap.
Things continued to get interesting when the Saints recovered the onside kick with 28 seconds remaining at the Atlanta 46-yard line and only trailing 31-24. But the Falcons defense stiffened, forcing three incomplete passes to earn the win.
Archer completed 20 of 30 passes for 250 yards and added seven rushes for 29 more yards. Riggs churned out 97 tough yards on 26 carries while the defense recorded four interceptions in addition to the big fumble return score.