NEW ORLEANS -- The Falcons just scored a huge win.
Sure, things got a little tense at the end. Okay, super tense. Like, can't-believe-the-Falcons-are-in-this-situation tense.
But they came out of it with a victory, a dramatic one at that.
They got up big on the Saints, lost a lead and somehow got it back right at the end with Younghoe Koo's third game-winning field goal of the season.
Let's dive into it, with three gut reactions to a massive 27-25 victory at the Caesars Superdome.
Falcons secure huge win against tough team
The Falcons earned their first three wins against lower-level teams. The Giants, Jets and Dolphins don't strike fear in anybody these days and, while a win's a freaking win, the Falcons still had to prove they could beat a good team.
They did that against the Saints. New Orleans can flat play, with an excellent defense and running game.
We saw how good the Saints can be at the end, when they made a furious push for a comeback win. They got close but couldn't seal the deal, thanks in huge 64-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Cordarrelle Patterson to set up the decisive score.
While some will discount this victory after how things played out at the end, they shouldn't. Winning is hard in this league, really hard against top teams.
The Falcons got one, moved back to .500 and stood tall when it really mattered most.
Falcons run defense (still) an issue
The Carolina Panthers ran all over the Falcons last week. The Saints obviously took note. They have better personnel to execute on the ground, and they ran at a shockingly efficient clip. Alvin Kamara and Mike Ingram took yards in chunks, especially in the first half.
Kamara was a problem all day as a runner and receiver, as expected.
The Saints ran all over the Falcons defense, but it didn't turn into much early. The Saints entered the fourth quarter without crossing the goal line, and didn't do so until there were eight minutes left in the game and the Falcons up three scores. That's when things turned in a hurry and got messy for the Falcons.
This is an issue they have to address moving forward. Teams will keep attacking them on the ground, with efficient results that will make winning harder. That includes next week's game against Dallas and Ezekiel Elliott, who is as efficient as they get.
A.J. Terrell true lockdown corner
The Falcons cornerback is operating on a different, higher level this season. That has been apparent since training camp, when Terrell was playing with physicality, smarts, speed and confidence.
Throwing his way has become a fool's errand.
Most teams don't even bother.
The Saints tried and tried, to no avail. Terrell had several pass breakups in this one, including a fourth down and a nice one in the end zone to keep New Orleans from crossing the goal line.
Having a steady, productive defensive asset like that pays dividends, including in this game against the Saints. Terrell's taking away a side of the field, working extremely well in his role in this defensive scheme.
It's getting to the point now that this graphic truly rings true.
Call for questions
Let's fill up the mailbag with your reaction to what we saw here at Superdome against the Saints. Submit your comments, concerns and questions right here for possible inclusion in Monday's Bair Mail.
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