NEW ORLEANS – Falcons team captains Ricardo Allen and Julio Jones have been vocal about the lack of accountability from the players in the locker room often this season.
The Falcons lost six straight games and after almost each one of them Allen and Jones said in order for them to be the team they know they can be, it starts with player-led accountability first.
According to Jones and Allen, there was a different sense of urgency and energy among the players in the week leading up to their trip to New Orleans and during the game.
The Falcons put together their most dominant performance of the season as they handed the Saints their second loss of the season, winning 26-9 to improve to 2-7 on the year.
For change to occur, it would start with an honest evaluation across the board. Allen said this week there was more "open" dialogue from players and coaches than ever before.
"Every play, just critique yourself to the hardest part" Allen said of how this week was different from week's past. "Nobody is coming at you as a person, everybody is coming at you as a player. If you aren't playing the way you want to, we were getting it corrected this week. It was open criticism from everybody."
Atlanta's communication issues that have crippled them often were fixed on Sunday. This was evident in the way the Falcons were able to get pressure on Drew Brees, whom they sacked six times.
To put that number into perspective – the Falcons had seven total sacks on the year before this game.
The Falcons played the complimentary style of football Dan Quinn has wanted to see from his team all year.
Although the Falcons had just one win coming into Week 10, Jones said he was proud of the way his team shut out the noise and played with a purpose.
"It felt like really good," Jones said. "The energy felt great today. Felt like it should have been like that the whole time. Guys weren't complacent. Defensively, they did an amazing job. Special teams did an amazing job today. Offensively, we did OK. We [will] continue to keep working."
The Falcons will look to build off this performance next week against the Carolina Panthers as they play the second of four straight games against NFC South opponents.