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Falcons Takeoff: Facts, stats, quotes from Week 12 home win over Saints

A one-stop shop for an overall statistical and factual look at the Falcons-Saints game in Week 12.

For the 2023 NFL season, digital team reporter Terrin Waack will provide select stellar stats, obscure facts and notable quotes from the most recent game to show how the Atlanta Falcons are taking flight into the new week.

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints 24-15 on Sunday for their Week 12 matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 70,166 ticketed fans.


-- The Falcons defense made it so the Saints offense went 0-for-5 in the red zone. It marked the third time this season Atlanta has kept an opponent at a 0% red-zone efficiency rate. The Jacksonville Jaguars were 0-for-1 but won in Week 4. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 0-for-2 and lost in Week 7. Meanwhile, it was the fourth time the Saints were shutout in such a way in 2023.

-- Falcons running back Bijan Robinson scored his third rushing touchdown and his third receiving touchdown against the Saints. He had a 10-yard scoring run in the first quarter and a 26-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter. It was the first time this season Robinson scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game. And with that, Robinson became the first Falcons rookie to do so since running back Lynn Cain in 1979. Cain had a rushing and two receiving touchdowns in a Week 7 loss to the then-Oakland Raiders.

-- Falcons safety Jessie Bates III intercepted Saints quarterback Derek Carr and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. That was Bates' 18th career interception, his fourth this season. It was his second career pick-six, first this season. In the Falcons record book, Bates' 92-yard interception returned for a touchdown will go down as the third-longest pick-six and the fourth-longest return in general.

-- The Falcons put up at least 200 rushing yards on the Saints for the third consecutive game after not breaking 100 five games in a row. Atlanta had a season-high 228 rushing yards Sunday. That also extended the Falcons' active streak of games with more than 100 rushing yards to six, and the only NFL team with more at the moment is the Baltimore Ravens with 12.

-- Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews notched his 155th consecutive career start Sunday, breaking former quarterback Matt Ryan's benchmark of 154 for a new franchise record. Matthews' streak is also the longest one active in the NFL right now.


-- This is so specific: Bates joined current Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner and former Detroit Lions defensive back Kenoy Kennedy as the only NFL players to record at least 12 tackles, one forced fumble and return an interception for a touchdown in a single game since at least 2000. Wagner had 12 tackles, a 98-yard pick-six and a forced fumble in Seattle's Week 13 win of 2018 over the San Francisco 49ers. Kennedy had 12 tackles, a 64-yard pick-six and a forced fumble in the Lions' Week 6 win of 2018 over the Carolina Panthers.

-- Saints kicker Blake Grupe was single-footedly responsible for all 15 of New Orleans' points. He made five field goals, which tied the franchise’s single-game record. Grupe could have set a new record, had he not missed his final 54-yard attempt with 30 seconds remaining.

-- The Falcons' victory snapped the Saints' five-game winning streak in Atlanta. The last time the Falcons beat the Saints in Atlanta was Week 14 of 2017, the first year of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That means Sunday was only the second time the Falcons have won in their current home venue against the Saints.

-- Sunday was actually the first time the Falcons hosted the Saints after a bye week since 1990, when byes were re-introduced to all NFL team schedules. The Falcons won that Week 5 game, 28-27. This means the Falcons are undefeated in Atlanta against the Saints after a bye.

-- The Falcons and Saints' regular-season records against each other now stand at 54-54.


On ending the three-game losing streak…

"It's just one game, but we needed that win in the worst way and I thought overall it was a good team win." 


Cornerback A.J. Terrell

On what this win means in the grand scheme of things…

"It was a division game, and we knew whoever won the game is going to be on top of the division. That's where we are right now. We just got keep going 1-0 each week, and the future is ours."


Saints running back Alvin Kamara

On dropping to 5-6 after loss to Falcons...

"We don't have an identity as a team. We're a team that says we want to do it and we don't do it and It shows. Consistently inconsistent. ... Everybody with a Fleur-de-Lis on their body and on their head. Consistently inconsistent. I'm saying as a team."


Top 3 rushers

  1. Falcons: Bijan Robinson, 16 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown
  2. Saints: Alvin Kamara, 15 carries for 69 yards
  3. Falcons: Tyler Allgeier, 10 carries for 64 yards

Top 3 receivers

  1. Saints: Chris Olave, seven receptions for 114 yards
  2. Falcons: Drake London, five receptions for 91 yards
  3. Saints: Taysom Hill, two receptions for 55 yards

Top 3 passers

  1. Saints: Derek Carr, 24-38-1 for 304 yards (sacked once)
  2. Falcons: Desmond Ridder, 13-21-2 for 168 yards
  3. N/A

Top 3 defenders

  1. Falcons: Jessie Bates III, 12 total tackles, seven solo (an interception, a forced fumble)
  2. Saints: Carl Granderson, 10 total tackles, seven solo
  3. Falcons: Jeff Okudah, eight total tackles, seven solo


The Falcons (5-6) hit the road for a Week 13 matchup with the New York Jets (4-7) at MetLife Stadium. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m. ET and air live on FOX.

The Jets are coming off a 34-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins for their own Week 12 contest.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints during Week 12.

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