Babineaux's Versatility Paying Off for Defense

Days before Atlanta faced New Orleans in Week 16, Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux identified two goals that would lead to success against the Saints: keeping Drew Brees out of the end zone and getting off the field on third down.

Atlanta's defense allowed New Orleans to score two touchdowns in the team's 30-14 win. One of those Saints touchdowns came after a 99-yard kickoff return, leading to a 1-yard touchdown run in the opening minutes of the first quarter.

The final touchdown by New Orleans came three quarters later when Brees threw a 4-yard score to tight end Jimmy Graham. As for getting off the field on third down, the Falcons accomplished their goal 50-percent of the time (7-of-14).

"We came into the game with a good mindset of getting them off the spot, and I think we did a good job," Babineaux said. "Sometimes, I think we were lacking when they got that last touchdown drive, but other than that, we came to play." 

Our photographers have sorted through thousands of their photos and selected the very best images from the Associated Press from Sunday's win over the Saints to feature in this Best of Gameday gallery.

Of Atlanta's season-high five sacks against Brees Sunday, Babineaux logged one, lined up inside at defensive tackle, earning his second sack of the year. Since 2005, his 25.5 career sacks are tied for the 14th most by a defensive tackle. The 10-year veteran finished the game with two tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry and the one sack against Brees in the first half.

Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has appreciated the efforts by Babineaux all season long, crediting his ability to line up in a variety of positions, including defensive tackle, defensive end and at times as an outside linebacker in the option game.

"He's very versatile," Nolan said. "He's got very good quickness. He's in the backfield a lot. Babs is a very disruptive player. The other day, he made some plays, and that's what they all are trying to do."

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