Game Notebook: Falcons vs Saints

  • The Falcons amassed 568 total net yards in the win, the highest single-game yardage total in franchise history. Atlanta topped the previous mark of 563 yards set against the St. Louis Rams in 1980. Sunday's win marked the third time in franchise history that Atlanta has put up 500-or-more total yards against New Orleans (12/13/98 – W, 27-17 & 9/2/79 – W, 40-34 OT).
  • K Matt Bryant connected on a 51-yard field goal to tie the game at 34 as time expired in the fourth quarter. He then split the uprights with a 52-yard game winner in overtime. Bryant's overtime boot was the 17th game winner of his career and his eighth as a Falcon. It was also his second-longest game-winning kick since joining the Falcons.
  • Since joining the Falcons in 2009, Bryant has connected on 13 of 16 field goals of 50 yards-or-longer.
  • QB Matt Ryan had a career day, becoming the Falcons all-time leader in touchdown passes (156) while also setting the franchise record for total passing yards in a single game with 448. Ryan topped QB Chris Chandler's single-game record of 431 yards set against the Buffalo Bills in 2001.
  • The seventh-year signal caller's 448 passing yards were the second most by any quarterback on kickoff weekend without throwing an interception in NFL history.
  • Ryan finished the game completing 31 of 43 passes (72.1 percent) for 448 yards with three touchdowns and a 128.8 passer rating. He has led the Falcons to a 35-2 record when he posts a passer rating of 100-or-higher.
  • Ryan tossed three touchdowns for the 17th time in his career on Sunday. During his career, he has led the Falcons to a 19-1 record when he throws three-or-more touchdown passes.
  • Ryan tossed his 154th, 155th, 156th career touchdowns tying and passing QB Steve Bartkowski (154). Ryan tied Bartkowski with a three-yard scoring strike to WR Roddy White in the first half and broke the record with a one-yard touchdown pass to TE Levine Toilolo on the opening drive of the second half.
  • With his three-yard touchdown reception, White tied WR Andre Rison for the second most receiving touchdowns in team history with his 56th career score. He now sits one touchdown shy of WR Terance Mathis' club record of 57. Additionally, White and Rison are tied for the third most overall touchdowns in Falcons history behind RB Michael Turner (61) and Mathis (57).
  • White finished the game with 72 yards on five catches (14.4 yards per catch) and one touchdown. In 19 career games against New Orleans, White has recorded 76 receptions, 1,205 yards (15.9 yards per catch), and eight touchdowns. His five catches were his most in a single game against the Saints since pulling down seven catches at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2012.
  • CB Robert McClain recorded his second career interception, picking off QB Drew Brees in the end zone on a third down play in the third quarter. The interception set up a go-ahead touchdown by RB Antone Smith.
  • McClain's last interception came in the 2012 home opener against the Denver Broncos when he picked off QB Peyton Manning.
  • Five plays later, Smith caught a short pass from Ryan, split two defenders and out ran a third en route to a 54-yard score. The score was the longest reception of Smith's career and his second touchdown of more than 50 yards. Last season, Smith scored on rushes of 50 and 38 yards.
  • Smith's touchdown catch was the longest receiving touchdown by a Falcons running back since RB Michael Turner posted a 60-yard catch-and-run touchdown against Carolina in 2012 (9/30/12). Additionally, the score was the sixth receiving touchdown of 50-or-more yards by a Falcons running back in club history.
  • Dating back to 2013, Smith has posted 216 yards on 10 touches with three scores. He is averaging 21.6 yards per offensive touch.
  • The Falcons two-minute offense resulted in two successful scoring drives both at the end of the first half and at the end of regulation time. Trailing 20-7 with just 20 seconds remaining in the first half, the Falcons drove 58 yards in three plays to set up a 40-yard field goal by Bryant. Atlanta also drove 47 yards in eight plays in the final 1:20 to send the game to overtime.
  • Since 2008, the Falcons have scored 108 points on drives beginning inside the final two minutes of either half. Between 2008 and 2013, Atlanta ranked ninth in the NFL in two-minute scoring posting 103 points on drives starting inside the final two minutes of either half.
  • WR Julio Jones came to life on the Falcons opening drive of the second half grabbing two passes for 47 yards and setting up a one-yard touchdown catch by TE Levine Toilolo. Jones finished the game with 116 yards on seven receptions after posting just one catch for 20 yards in the first half. Jones had three of Atlanta's eight explosive plays in the win.
  • WR Devin Hester also made a significant impact in the passing game as he posted five receptions for 99 yards, the second-highest single game yardage total of his career. Hester also added two explosive plays and averaged nearly 20 yards per reception (19.8) in his Falcons debut.
  • The 99-yard output by Hester was his best since notching 91 yards on five catches against the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
  • The Falcons boasted five players with at least 50 receiving yards led by Jones (116), Hester (99), White (72), WR Harry Douglas (69), and Smith (54).
  • The Falcons had three players post double digit tackles, led by LB Paul Worrilow who collared 15 stops (seven solo). S Dwight Lowery led the secondary with 11 tackles (seven solo), while LB Joplo Bartu posted 10 tackles (four solo).
  • Worrilow, who led the Falcons with 137 total tackles in 2013, recorded the eighth game of his career with double digit tackles. Sunday also marked the fourth time the second-year linebacker has recorded 15-or-more tackles.
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