The Falcons (2-7) snapped their six-game slide following a 26-9 victory over the New Orleans Saints (7-2) on Sunday. Atlanta's offense dominated the Saints throughout the day and was led by quarterback Matt Ryan who finished the game completing 20 of his 35 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
Wide receiver Julio Jones caught three passes for 79 yards in the game. The Falcons offense generated 317 yards of total offense and was very effective in the run game racking up 143 yards.
Atlanta's defense stood tall against the Saints offense and was led by linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, who finished with six tackles and a sack in the game. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett had a solid outing, reeling in three tackles and finished with 2.5 sacks. The Falcons held the New Orleans run game to 52 yards total and came away with six sacks on Drew Brees. Brees ended the contest with 287 yards, completing 32 out of 45 throws and zero touchdowns against Atlanta.
Here are the main takeaways from the Falcons-Saints game:
Falcons pass rush a factor against Saints
Coming Into the game, the Falcons defense only recorded seven sacks in the first eight games played. The Saints' offensive line have only allowed 12 sacks for this season, which is the third fewest in the league. Atlanta's pass rush finally got home as the defense sacked Brees six times in the game. It was the Falcons' interior who brought the most pressure between Grady Jarrett and Adrian Clayborn. Vic Beasley also picked up a sack in the fourth quarter. Half of the Falcons sacks in the game came on third down. For more coverage on the Falcons' pass rush against the Saints, click here.
Atlanta's offense finally found success in the run game
For most of the season, the Falcons struggled in the run game. Against the Saints, Atlanta generated 143 yards on the ground for a season-high. The Saints' defense entered the game only allowing 84.3 yards of rushing per game, which is the fourth-fewest in the league. Headed into the game, Atlanta's coaching staff stressed the importance of the run game and having a balance in order to be more effective offensively. The Falcons entered Sunday's game leading the league in passing offense, but is ranked at 29th in rushing amongst the entire league. For more coverage on the Falcons success in the run game against New Orleans, click here.
Ricardo Allen, Julio Jones discuss victory over Saints
Falcons captains, Ricardo Allen and Julio Jones have been vocal about the outcome of the season and what it will take to turn things around. Both players mentioned a different kind of focus heading into the game as the players and coaches were more open to dialogue. "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," said Allen. Following the game, Jones gave his thoughts on the win saying, "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."
For more coverage on Jones and Allen's quotes following the game, click here.
Tabeek: This win will go down as one of Dan Quinn's biggest ever
No one gave the Falcons a clear-cut chance at beating the Saints in New Orleans. Heading into the game, the Falcons were last in the league in sacks with seven, 21st in points allowed per game and 24th in yards allowed per game. The Falcons utilized the bye week to make essential coaching staff changes and made sure to prepare for the Saints, who currently lead the NFC South. Atlanta put together a well played game against their rival as this win will arguably go down under coach Dan Quinn's career. To read more on Tabeek's column, click here.
Other notable performance:
- Kicker Younghoe Koo came ready to play after being signed to the Falcons' active roster during the bye week. Koo was perfect on all four of his field goal attempts and converted on all extra point opportunities for Atlanta.
- Running back Brian Hill led the offense in rushing with 20 carriers for 61 yards.
- Linebacker Foyesade Oluokun led in tackles amongst the defense ending with eight total with seven being solo.
- Defensive end Vic Beasley came away with 1.5 sacks in the game. Defensive tackle Adrian Clayborn was also credited for a sack.
- Cornerback Isaiah Oliver tallied six tackles.
For those who want further analysis of Sunday's game between the Falcons and Saints, check out an archive of our live blog below.
Get an inside look at Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints with top photos from the field at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Louisiana