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Notes & Milestones: Falcons at Saints


Despite the loss, Atlanta clinched a playoff berth for the third time under Head Coach Mike Smith.

  • The Falcons have clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season and the third time in the last four seasons. A trip to the postseason was guaranteed prior to Monday night's loss at New Orleans with Arizona, Chicago and Dallas all losing in W eek 16. The 2011 season marks the first time in club history the Falcons have qualified for the postseason in back-to-back years (2010).
  • WR Julio Jones caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from QB Matt Ryan on a third down play on Atlanta's second offensive possession. Jones has six touchdown receptions this season, including four in the last three games. He has also hauled in a touchdown in three consecutive games.
  • Jones finished the game with eight catches for a game-high 128 yards, marking his fifth 100-yard game this season. The rookie out of Alabama has posted 317 yards on 16 receptions with four touchdowns in his last three games.
  • Ryan became just the second quarterback in franchise history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season after posting a career-high with 373 passing yards. This season, Ryan has thrown for 4,065 yards, which trails QB Jeff George's club record of 4,143 yards, set in 1995, by just 78 yards. Ryan, also tied his career highs with 32 completions and 52 pass attempts, and finished the game with a 92.9 passer rating.
  • The third-year signal caller has completed 339 of 557 pass attempts this season and is on pace to break his franchise records of 357 completions and 571 attempts set in 2010.
  • Ryan has thrown for 300-or-more yards in six games this season breaking George's team record of four 300 yard games in 1995.
  • The Falcons offense drove 64 yards on 11 plays on the game's opening drive to set up a 34-yard field goal by K Matt Bryant. Atlanta has scored 44 points on its first offensive possessions this season. Since 2008, the Birds 166 points scored on their opening drives rank among the League leaders.
  • Bryant added two more field goals, including a season-long 51 yarder in the third quarter. This season, he has converted 26 of 28 field goal attempts and his 51-yard kick at New Orleans was the longest road field goal of his career and tied for his second longest kick overall. Bryant's previous road long field goal came in Week 4 at Seattle when he put a 50 yarder through the uprights.
  • Two of Bryant's field goals came on drives lasting longer than five minutes. This season, the Falcons have scored 127 points on drives of five minutes or longer, which ranks among the League leaders.
  • WR Roddy White continued to show that he is one of the game's premiere wide receivers, hauling in a season-high 11 passes for 127 yards. White has recorded back-to-back games with 10-plus catches and has caught 10-or-more passes in three of the last five games. This season, White has totaled 96 receptions for 1,227 yards and is closing in on his second consecutive 100 catch season. No player in franchise history has ever recorded multiple100-catch seasons.
  • CB Dominique Franks recorded his second career interception when Saints TE Jimmy Graham lost control of a ball in the endzone, S William Moore batted the ball into the air and Franks hauled it in for a touchback. The second-year corner out of Oklahoma has appeared in 10 games this season and notched 15 tackles (10 solo) with one interception.
  • CB Dunta Robinson also intercepted QB Drew Brees, picking off a pass intended for WR Robert Meachem on the Saints opening drive of the second half. Robinson intercepted the deep pass at the Falcons 16-yard line and returned it 14 yards out to the Atlanta 30. This season, Robinson has collared 58 tackles (46 solo) with two interceptions and nine passes defensed.
  • S Thomas DeCoud paced the defense with 10 total tackles (seven solo) and one pass defensed. DeCoud has recorded double digit tackles in four games this season, including both of Atlanta's games against New Orleans.
  • DT Vance Walker notched the game's only sack, dragging down Brees for an eight-yard loss for his second sack of the season. Walker now has three career sacks in three seasons with the Falcons. This season, he has totaled 25 tackles (17 solo) with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
  • The Falcons have now forced at least one turnover in their last 19 consecutive road games – the longest current active streak in the NFL.
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