The Atlanta Falcons are playing for each other on Sunday in the last game of the 2015 season against the New Orleans Saints. Take a look at these photos from the game.
An up-and-down year that included its fair share of highlight reel moments and adversity drew to a disappointing close on Sunday, as the Falcons dropped their second-consecutive game to the Saints, 20-17. Matt Ryan threw an interception with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, and New Orleans kicked the game-winning field goal shortly thereafter to seal the victory.
Dan Quinn's first campaign as head coach ends with an even 8-8 record—a two-win improvement from 2014.
Julio Jones turned in yet another big game, this time racking up nine catches for 149 yards. Doing so moved him up in two key all-time categories: Jones passed Marvin Harrison, Charley Hennigan, Isaac Bruce and Jerry Rice to earn the second-most receiving yards ever in an NFL season. He also rose to second all-time in receptions in a year with his third catch of the afternoon.
Fellow Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman had a solid finale, too, but lost the ball at New Orleans' four-yard line late in the game. While Atlanta forced a fumble at its own one-yard line on the ensuing drive, the Falcons' inability to convert in the red zone once again came back to haunt them.
Although Quinn and Co. ultimately came up short of a postseason berth, there are many positives to take away from 2015. The running game has improved greatly thanks to a new blocking scheme and Devonta Freeman, and the defense took a big step forward.
There are plenty of solid pieces in place—Ryan, Jones, Freeman, Jake Matthews, Vic Beasley Jr., Jr., Desmond Trufant, to name a few—and with the right additions, Atlanta can quickly become the team Quinn has envisioned since Day 1.