New Orleans Saints Survive Against the Atlanta Falcons
The game appeared to be over between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons when Will Lutz drilled a 45-yard field goal with less than 6:32 remaining in regulation. New Orleans went up 26-9 at that point.
Atlanta did not give up. With between the 3:24-3:31 mark remaining in regulation, Matt Ryan threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Russell Gage Jr, to cut the lead to 26-15. The Falcons recovered an onside kick with 3:24 remaining in regulation.
It led to another 43-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo with two minutes remaining in regulation. With 1:54 remaining in regulation, Atlanta recovered another onside kick. There have only been two onside kicks recovered combined this season. Cameron Jordan sacked Matt Ryan with 44 seconds remaining in regulation on a 4th-and-8 from New Orleans’s 44-yard and the Saints survived in a 26-18 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
New Orleans wins the NFC South Title for the third consecutive season. Their last Super Bowl win was in 2009 against the Indianapolis Colts. It will be interesting to see if the New Orleans Saints can get back to the Super Bowl. They have had heartbreak in the postseason for the last couple of years.
Hill blocked a punt and that is what set up the touchdown on that drive.
Matt Ryan threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jaeden Graham in the second-quarter (missed extra-point). Ryan completed 35-of-50 passes for 312 yards two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 21 yards on three carries.
Graham caught four passes for 41 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Calvin Ridley was the leading receiver in this game for Atlanta with eight receptions for 91 yards receiving.
Julio Jones did not play in this game due to a shoulder injury. Had this game been played on a Sunday, it would have been possible for him to play in this game. I thought he was going to play, but I was surprised to see him ruled out on Twitter when I saw ESPN’s Adam Schefter announce it.
Russell Gage Jr. caught five passes for 52 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Devonta Freeman was the leading rusher in this game for the Atlanta Falcons. He finished with 51 yards rushing on 17 carries. Freeman also caught three passes for 24 yards receiving.
Christian Blake stepped up in this game for Atlanta. He caught six passes for 57 yards receiving.
With the Saints leading 10-6 in the second-quarter, Taysom Hill scored on a 30-yard touchdown run. He rushed for 33 yards on two carries and a score. Hill also caught two passes for 12 yards receiving and a touchdown. He also attempted a pass in the game and it was incomplete.
Alvin Kamara was the leading rusher in this game for New Orleans with 61 yards on 11 carries. He also caught four passes for 23 yards receiving.
Jared Cook was the leading receiver in this game for the New Orleans Saints with three receptions for 85 yards receiving.
Michael Thomas was held in check in this game. He caught six passes for 48 yards receiving.
It will be interesting to see what happens with both of these teams moving forward. This game was controlled by New Orleans throughout until that late scare, which is really rare.
The Saints are currently the number two seed in the NFC right now. However, if the San Francisco 49ers lose this weekend on the road against the Baltimore Ravens (9-2) and if the Seattle Seahawks (9-2) beat the Minnesota Vikings (8-3) at home on Monday night, New Orleans could potentially move into the number one spot in the NFC.
The New Orleans Saints (10-2) will host the San Francisco 49ers (10-1) in a potential NFC Championship Preview next Sunday.
The Atlanta Falcons (3-9) will host the Carolina Panthers (5-6) next Sunday.
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