Third Quarter: Call Goes Against Falcons

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One quarter still remains and the Falcons trail by seven and are driving deep in the Saints' territory with a chance to tie, but the outcome of the game -- and the Falcons' playoff hopes along with it -- might have swung on one controversial play.

Falcons' cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted a pass to the Saints' Robert Meachem along the sidelines that would have stopped the Saints' opening drive. Instead, Grimes was called for pass interference, giving the Saints' a first down at the Falcons' 12. The call drew the ire of the fans, who lustily booed the call, and Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith, who was shown by the FOX broadcast exchanging words with the officials over the call.

Reggie Bush finished the drive with his second touchdown pass of the day, a 25-yarder on a screen pass to make the score 23-9.

When the Falcons got the ball back, they responded with their first touchdown. Earlier I credited the game plan of Falcons' offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. He seems to have found something in a match-up against Saints' safety Darren Sharper, who entered the day tied for the league lead in interceptions with eight. The Falcons are sending Jenkins on routes to the inside of the field with Sharper to his back, in essence posting up the 6-foot-4 Jenkins against the 6-2 Sharper.

It's working.

Jenkins caught a 50-yard touchdown to make the score 23-16 against Sharper. Jenkins has three catches for 82 yards on the day, two of those receptions against Sharper.

Oh, and the Falcons finally forced the Saints to punt for the first time today. The Saints are now 7-of-9 on third-down conversions.

It's shaping up to be a heck of a fourth quarter.

By the way, it was announced that Falcons defensive end Jamaal Anderson has a chest injury and his return is unknown.


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