In a game with so much on the line, it's sometimes tough for two teams to live up to the billing. Monday night, the Falcons and Saints had no problem with that. The excitement, however, didn't translate into enough for the Falcons as they fell for just the third time this season, dropping Monday night's thriller 17-14.
One More Week
The Falcons came into Monday night's game needing one win to lock up the NFC South title, the No. 1 spot in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. It looks like they'll have to wait one more week to have a chance to pop the champagne. A win over Carolina on Sunday still guarantees the aforementioned postseason prizes.
Help When They Need It
The Falcons' offense had a difficult time finding a rhythm in the second half as the defense was on fire. So one side helped the other out. With Drew Brees under big pressure, he forced a pass right into the waiting arms of defensive end Chauncey Davis, who promptly took it 26 yards into the end zone for the score. The pick marked the second interception and first touchdown of Davis' career.
The Predator's Game
Defensive end John Abraham may not have the respect of the national media, but he's done just about everything he can to earn it. The Predator is near the top of the league in total sacks as he added another Monday night. In his 10-year career, Abraham has never been the recipient of an interception. That changed against the Saints. Pressuring Brees, Abraham threw his arms in the air and deflected a Brees pass high in the air. The Predator settled under it and hauled it in for his first career interception.
Time Not On Our Side
We haven't said this much this season, but the Falcons struggled in the time of possession category Monday night. The Saints were able to hang on to the ball on offense, keeping the Falcons' defense on the field while Matt Ryan and his weapons were relegated to the sideline. It was a dose of what the Falcons had been dishing out all season. The Saints won the time of possession battle 36:12-23:25, a large chunk of which came on the go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter when the Saints held the ball for 7:11 and came away with seven points.
Sack Party. Almost.
The Falcons were able to bring a lot of heat to Brees, putting an immense amount of pressure on him from the linebacker and corner positions. Those blitzes had worked wonders in other games this season and they certainly created a lot of harrowing situations for Brees on Monday night. Brees, however, was like a magician when faced with pressure, slipping and sliding out of the grasp of Falcons defenders. The sack column for the Falcons could have been much higher Monday if not for the abilities of Brees.