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Time Machine: Recapturing 2008

Posted Nov 27, 2012

The last time the Falcons beat the Saints in the Georgia Dome came in head coach Mike Smith's first year, and the Falcons are looking to put together a performance reminiscent of that day on Thursday.


RB Michael Turner’s comments this week when discussing the Saints were direct and succinct. He basically stated there isn’t much to say. They know what they have to do.
 
This bitter rivalry between teams and cities that evokes very strong emotions doesn’t need a lot of chatter, especially after having squared off just three weeks ago.
 
Everyone knows that the Saints have been a thorn in the Falcons' side for the last several years and the Birds are itching to change that on Thursday night in front of a national stage.
 
The last win at the Georgia Dome for Atlanta came in head coach Mike Smith’s first season in 2008. To try to recapture that positive vibe this week, let’s take a look at the formula for success in that contest and hope it bodes well this year.
 
The Falcons built a 17-6 lead at halftime on the heels of a Roddy White receiving touchdown (16 yards) and a Turner rushing score (2 yards). K Jason Elam booted a field goal to close out the only scoring in the third quarter.
 
On the second play of the fourth quarter, RB Jerious Norwood hauled in a short pass from QB Matt Ryan and zoomed 67-yards for another score for a 27-6 Falcons advantage.
 
The Falcons secondary forced two Drew Brees interceptions in the second and third quarters with the latter coming deep in Atlanta territory at its 21 yard line stifling a potential score.   
 
After a RB Deuce McAllister touchdown grab covering 15 yards cut the lead to 27-13, a rookie corner from the Falcons hammered in the final nail.
 
With New Orleans driving to close the gap to seven points late and positioned at Atlanta’s eight-yard line with 1:30 left, third-round pick Chevis Jackson from LSU stepped in front of a Brees check down pass in the left flat and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown, the second longest interception return in team history. A wild celebration ensued as the Birds claimed their sixth win of the young season.  
 
Brees did collect 422 passing yards, but had to throw 58 times in the process, and the Falcons picked off three crucial passes, allowing only two scoring tosses (one as time expired) and the signal-caller from New Orleans managed just a 66.9 passer rating.
 
On the winning side of the ledger, rookie Ryan completed 16 of his 23 attempts for two touchdowns and zero interceptions in workman-like fashion for a rating of 134.0 to orchestrate the win.
 
The Falcons can look to the formula displayed in that 2008 contest to help defeat the Saints this Thursday and move closer to clinching the NFC South Division title.
 
Falcons-Saints again… nothing more needs to be said.

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