Saints vs. Falcons - Play by Play
The quest for 7-0 is the theme for the New Orleans Saints tonight in the Superdome as they face the 4-2 Atlanta Falcons in the first NFC South matchup of the season for the Black and Gold here in the Louisiana Superdome:
11:19 - Good teams can play less than their best and win. The 7-0 Saints did that here tonight. But concerns about the run defense and ball security must be addressed on a short week with the desperate Carolina Panthers headed to the Dome on Sunday.
11:16 - FINAL: Saints 35, Falcons 27
11:15 - Breathe. NOW it's over. Sharper adds to his interception total with the Hail Mary grab at his 5 yard line with 3 seconds left. And NOW we see the victory play.
11:14 - Ryan hits Jenkins for 12 to the Saints 49 then spikes it with 11 seconds to go.
11:13 - On a conventional onside attempt, Atlanta gets the ball. Oh boy indeed. A Saints upback (David Thomas) whiffed on it, and the Falcons have the ball at their 37 with 26 seconds left.
11:11 - Saints call their final timeout just as Atlanta was trying a middle squib onside kick. New Orleans has made this last two minutes very hard. It should not have been. and it isn't over yet.
11:10 - The never-ending game rolls on as Elam nails a 28 yard field goal with 28 seconds left to cut the lead to 35-27. Atlanta will try an onside kick. Oh boy.
11:01 - and Mike Bell fumbles. What? Payton's foolishness gives Atlanta life. Ridiculous clock management. The play is being reviewed with 1:23 to go, but the Saints head coach looks like a fool for not taking a knee right away.
10:59 - Good win leave the field gingerly. Let's hope the Saints's starting center is ok for Sunday after getting hurt on play that should have never been run.
10:57 - Weird clock management by Payton. Instead of taking a knee, he runs the ball up the middle. Jonathan Goodwin is injured on the play, so the Saints are charged a timeout with 1:37 to go. Atlanta keeps their last timeout and could force a punt here. Why not just take a knee?
10:56 - No matter. Ryan throws 3 more incompletions, and this game is over. Saints ball with 1:42 to go.
10:54 - Referees get the call right. Atlanta keeps the balla t the two-minute warning.
10:48 - Will Smith makes the strip as Ryan tries to throw, and McCray recovers it. But Mike White has thrown the challenge flag. I think they reverse this call since Ryan managed to get his arm moving forward enough to constitute a pass attempt.
10:46 - Sharper drops a pick! He's human. Shanle accidentally strips him after another tip by Vilma, who is truly one of the league's best linebackers in coverage.
10:43 - Morstead's kickoffs have been shorter than usual tonight. Casillas is down injured on the return to the ATL 34.
10:42 - Touchdown, Saints! Pierre Thomas takes the swing pass and leaps into the endzone. Jon Stinchcomb made the key block at the goalline.
35-24 SAINTS (3:03 left)
10:40 - Henderson catches a short out at the two and is tackeld at the one. Again, Brees threw it just enough to the inside to give the defender the chance to tackle Devery. Atlanta calls their 2nd timeout with 3:09 left.
10:37 - Thomas up the gut for a yard, and Atlanta calls timeout. The Falcons have two remaining with 3:14 to go. A touchdown likely seals it.
10:37 - Colston is a man amongst boys tonight. He gains 7, and it takes 3 Falcons to stack him up. First-and-goal for New Orleans at the 7.
10:35 - Awesome grab by Shockey with one hand at the Falcons 19. Another less-than-precise pass by Drew, but his other key playmaking receiver makes it happen.
10:33 - Marques Colston leaps high for a 29-yard catch over Grimes. Take note, Jordan Jefferson. Sometimes the best play is let your big, athletics receivers go up against shorter DBs to make a play down the field. That might be LSU's best play this Saturday at Alabama.
10:32 - Saint sget a break as Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson is called for holding Reggie Bush on a third down throw. Tough call perhaps. First down, New Orleans.
10:31 - Brees is so off in the 2nd half. On a play-action rollout, he throws across his body into danger. Incomplete.
10:30 - Porter intercepts it at the goalline. Vilma tipped the ball intended for Gonzales. This Saints pass defense is bailing out the rest of the defense and the offense. Playmakers on defense have been crucial all year long in the close games. Saints ball at their 20.
10:28 - Pathetic tackling by the Saints who had Turner stopped at the line only to miss tackle-after-tackle leading to a 24 yard run. Harper missed him twice. The Saints don't deserve to win this game.
10:27 - Falcons get the ball, and the Saints are out of challenges.
10:24 WOW. On 3rd-and-1, Thomas takes a handoff out of the split back formation. He fumbled it, and Atlanta recovered. Payton will challenge whether his knee was down, but this may be challenge for field position only. From the spot of where the knee hit, Thomas was short of the first. But that would be better than giving the Falcons the ball at the 35.
10:19 - Saints keep the lead - barely. A 6 munte 45 second drive encompassing 70 yard ends with an Elam field goal from 25 yards out.
White's drop gives the Saints a chance to take command again with a typical drive for them. Where have Colston and Shockey been in this half? My guess is they re-emerge here.
10:14 - Roddy White had an apparent touchdown catch in the back of the endzone. But it hit the turf. Payton throw his challenge flag before the extra point. This is a clear reversal. Will Atlanta go for it on 4th down again? Bypassing a 25-yard field goal with 11:36 to go would be odd.
10:13 - Aaron Stecker makes an appearance on a wheel route on 2nd-and-12. The play gains 7 to the Saints 7.
10:12 - and they get it. Roman Harper has no shot to stop Tony Gonzales in one-on-one coverage. First down to the Saints 12.
10:11 - End around sweep on 3rd-and 5? Eric Weems gains just a yard to the 23, and ATL will go for it.
10:06 - Turner turns the corner again (Dunbar) as the third quarter ends. Atlanta trails by just 7 and is on the move with a 1st down at the Saints 29.
The New Orleans offense sputtered for the most part in the period with two nothing drives and one decent one that ended with the Carney missed field goal.
10:05 - But the Saints fail to capitalize as Atlanta gets another big play from White, this time a 29-yarder into Saints' territory over the middle.
10:04 - Will Smith earns his second sack after Ryan hurried up into the pocket too soon.
10:03 - Turner breaks outside for 9 on yet another poor play by a Saints 'backer. Jon Vilma rarely takes bad angles but did so on a playw where he was totally unblocked.
10:01 - Ulgy offense so far for the Saints in half number two. Saints run an empty backfield shotgun set on 3rd and 3, and Brees bounced his throw to Reggie Bush. It makes nos ense for this team to be out of sync here, but Atlanta head coach Mike Smith deserves credit for defensive adjustments.
10:00 - Saints run their first screen pass of the night to Thomas, who comes up with what looks like a hip injury. We'll see if he returns.
9:55 - Interesting numbers for Turner tonight. He has 13 carries for 99 yards, and 3 of those carries were for a total of 86 yards. It's been feast or famine for the New Orleans run defense tonight.
9:53 - Lance Moore appears to be out for the remainder tonight, so Reggie Bush will handle punt return duties the rest of the way. He fair catches it at his own 16.
9:52 - Sharper is making more headway as a blitzer tonight. Pressure forces an incompletion and a punt by Atlanta.
9:51 - Dunbar stuffs Turner at the line for no gain on 2nd-and-5. He is the lesser of two evils at that linebacking spot tonight.
9:47 - And Carney pushes an ugly kick wide right from that hash mark. His kicks have looked ugly for the most part this year. Atlanta gets two straight stops to put themsleves right back in the game. Funny to see two excellent kickers look so bad tonight.
9:47 - Falcons force a field goal attempt after two ill-advised throws by Brees at the ATL 19.
9:44 - Important 3rd down conversion by the Saints. Brees hits Shockey in front of an overmatched linebacker past midfield.
9:41 - Each defense has a score tonight, but the two units have given up 550 yards already (260 for ATL; 290 for NO)!
9:38 - Touchdown, Falcons. And more sloppiness reigns for the Saints. Greer never found the ball on a high-arching deep throw to White, who got away with a push off to reel it on for the score from 68 yards out. Atlanta gets right back in it.
9:37 - Finally, a holding call on the outside. Sam Baker, 1st rounder last year out of USC, hooked Will Smith.
9:35 - Saints asleep at the wheel so far. A sloppy 3-and-out followed by Charles Grant called offsides to start the half
9:16 - Elam's attempt from 50 is short and to the right at the gun. Atlanta's kicker has left 6 points on the field so far in a game where they need every point they can get.
HALFTIME: Saints 28, Falcons 14
9:12 - Ryan hits Justin Peele for 6 on the sideline after Boby McCray was tackled trying to get to the passer. It's a mystery how a lead official can miss that kind of hold right in front of him. Fifteen seconds left in the half.
9:12 - Ryan finds Gonzales for a big 3rd down covnersion to midfield. The ATL line gave Ryan plenty of time to find the future Hall of Famer matched up with Roman Harper.9:11 - Saints have to use their last timeout on defense with 27 seconds left.
9:09 - Ryan is an excellent young quarterback. Emphasis on young. He is spooked now, throwing 2 very high passes for incompletions.
9:06 - Touchdown, Saints! This defense scores touchdowns! Greer jumps a route in zone coverage and rumbles 48 yards for the score. Not rumbles - flying! He can flat-out run.
9:05 - Tracy Porter is back and makes a tackle on a swing pass to Vernon Haynes for 6 yards.
9:03 - Ken Trahan just pointed out that the average starting field position for the Saints so far is their own 19 yard line. Of course, they have countered that with three 80-yard scoring marches.
9:01 - Touchdown, Saints! Bush takes a mis-direction pitch for an easy stroll into the endzone. New Orleans goes 6-plays for 80 yards in 1:41 (1:05 left). Carney has to kick a 35-yard extra point after Dinkins is called for holding again. and he is supposed to be a blocking tight end.
9:00 - Bell runs down to the one, and Atlanat declines calling timeout. Odd. They have all 3 left but give away precious time.
8:58 - Awesome grab on the fade to Henderson on the sidelines at the Falcons 4. They will review it here, but Devery's thigh was down. One thigh equals two feet. First-and-goal with 1:49 left. Will New Orleans score too soon?
8:55 - Excellent pass protection by the o-line give Brees tons of time. Robert Meachem makes his first grab for 30 yards to the ATL 28 at the 2 minute warning (1:56). Moore goes down, and Meachem steps up. Too bad that kind of depth isn't there at the linebacker spot.
8:54 - Oh, Reggie! The good news is he proves willing to run over a DB on a swing pass catch to gain 7. Bad news is he stays in bounds, prompting the Saints to call timeout with 2:02 left in the half. There's a time to be tough, and a time to be smart.
8:51 - Jonathan Casillas joins the back-up linebacker mistake parade. A holding penalty on the rookie during the punt costs the Saints 19 yards in field position.
8:50 - Why did Buffalo give Jabari Greer up? He almost picks off Ryan on 3rd down. Saints force a 3-and-out.
8:48 - Lance Moore is heading to the locker room after getting digned on a catch during the last drive.
8:46 - It's the 6th turnover by Brees in 2 games. Brees underthorws an open Henderson on the ensuing play. Again, that's on Drew. Brent Grimes reeled it in with a nice leaping grab at his 18. Mistakes: the Henderson penalty followed by a bad Brees throw.
ATL is now plus-2 in the turnover category tonight, scoring 7 points off the first one. That's how underdogs stay in games.
8:45 - Devery Henderson is called for a push-off on an out route. Good call.
8:42 - Tons of action on one play. Pierre Thomas rumbles around the left end for 30, Nicks loses his helmet and falcons MLB Curtis Lofton loses a shoe.
8:39 - And it costs the Falcons dearly! Jason elam hits the left upright from 34-yard out. Wow. Could be a turning point if the Saints put a scoring drive together. But the banged up Saints D is looking vulnerable.
8:37 - Simple gameplan: Take advantage of injury replacements. But the Saints luck out with Michael Jenkins dropping an easy first down grab.
8:36 - Huge run by slow Turner. Charles Grant crashed too far inside, and Dunbar lost containment. Paging Derrick Brooks.
8:32 - Friendly fire has likely given Tracy Porter a concussion. The second-year corner was beaten to the inside by White for a grab and a first down. Darren Sharper nailed him while coming over for help. It didn't take long for Porter to get up, but Randall Gay is not nearly the cover man.
8:31 - Nice job by Usama Young on kick coverage to bust up the ATL wedge and tackle the returner at the 22.
8:28 - Touchdown, Saints! Protect the passer, and abuse small corners with Colston. Brees lobs it up near the goalline to give his big target the chance to reel it in from 18 yards out.
8:27 - Mike Bell brings to the Saints what Turner brings to the Falcons. Power running on 3rd-and-short gets the job done.
8:25 - Saints bring Streif in to help on the left side for a play-action fake. Dadiv Thomas gains 16. That's a smart way to neutralize the left side pass rush. Give a run look and have the extra blocker to protect Brees.
8:22 - Jonathan Babineaux whips Nick again; this time, it's a 7 yard sack. A shaken QB leads to a slow huddle break and a timeout by the Saints.
Sean Payton is reaming the left side of his o-line right now. You'd expect Bushrod to struggle with a great edge rusher like John Abraham. But Nicks is looking slow tonight.
8:22 - Zone blitz leaves a defensive end on Shockey. Result: 31 yard gain.
8:21 - Nicks misses a block to cause Brees' 1st incompletion of the night. He was 6 for 6 to six different receivers.
8:18 - End of the first quarter. Looks like a division rivalry against a team in need of a win so far. Mistakes have hurt the Saints, but the running game is working for New Orleans.
8:17 - Nope. With a solid blitz pickup, Brees finds Colston over the middle for a first down. ATL corner Chris Houston was called for illegal contact but still couldn't stop the completion.
8:16 - Well, tight end Darnell Dinkins is finally healthy and active. And his holding penalty may have killed a drive.
8:14 - Atlanta has accomplished their most important mission tonight. Making plays and taking advantage of miscues have the Falcons in the lead early. And the crowd is quiet.
8:12 - But you can see how mistakes build upon themselves. The Thomas penalty, Mitchell, penalty and Moore fair catch led to bad field position.
8:11 -Touchdown, Falcons. A delayed blitz by FS DeCoud leads to a sack and Brees fumble. Kroy Biermann runs it in from 4 yards out. Not blaming Lance Moore there - the rush was right up the gut, and Brees needs to protect the football. Ouch.
8:08 - Lance Moore has fair caught a punt inside his 10 for the 2nd straight game. It's a basic job of a return man to let any ball past the 10 go, but the Saints have the ball inside their 9. It's no lock that the punt would have went into the endzone, but that's a risk you take. Last week, the bad choice by Moore led to a Brees interception and 7 Dolphins points.
8:07 - Saints end the threat. Ryan is sacked on 1st down by Will Smith, made a bad throw versus the blitz on 2nd down and ran into the pocket too soon only to be tackled for a one-yard gain on 3rd down.
8:04 - Saints must bench Marvin Mitchell. Sent on a blitz, he jumps offsides to give away a first down on 3rd-and-4. Payton is blasting him on the sidelines; let's hope he stays there.
8:01 - Thomas' penalty hurts. Morstead pooch kicks it, and Brian Finneran (yes, he's still there) returned it to the ATL 45. Yes, it's Monday Night Football, but Pierre Thomas should not have to break character to be 'primetime' - the run was great enough to make the statement. Let's see how the Saints D responds.
7:59 - Saints went 80-yards in 10 plays capped by the 22-yard scoring run. More rushing yards (48) than pass yards (32) highlight the drive. Both offenses have won battles in the trenches early in this one.
7:57 - Touchdown, Saints! How about that call; looks like Brees audibled to a run on 3rd and 4. amazing run by Pierre Thomas breaking two tackles and running to daylight. Thomas was flagged 15 yards for taunting after the play for showing the ball to opposing Falcons.
7:54 - Brees to Shockey on 3rd down - it's one of those sideline, back-shoulder plays that seem to work to perfection for that duo. Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud never saw the ball.
7:51 - David Thomas will play h-back tonight. Nice block to spring Bell for 5 on 1st down.
7:48 - I see 3 guys (Mitchell, Dunbar and Troy Evans) trying to replace one (Fujita). If you're a title contender, why not sign Derrick Brooks? That's why New England has signed Junior Seau again. Experience is key. Talent, too.
7:46 - Touchdown, Falcons. This is why depth is huge in the NFL. No Ellis in the middle combined with a backup linebacker playing poorly equals easy point for a good offense. Michael Turner went around right end for 13 yards to cap the 8-play, 77-yard march.
7:45 - Marvin Mitchell cannot play. He gives a ton of coushion and falls down after a Tony Gonzalez catch. Give him 27.
7:44 - Roddy White makes a clutch 3rd down catch on a slant route. Not a great throw by Matt Ryan; Jabari Greer had him covered well, but credit White with a super snag at the Saints 40.
7:41 - Jo-Lonn Dunbar gets a surprising start and make a tackle in the hole on the first play. Interesting that he's in there in place of Troy Evans. Michael Turner then ran up a huge hole int he middle of the line for 21 yards. The Ellis effect?
7:34 - Falcons win the toss and will receive. No brainer for them; they want to make a statement and take an early lead.
7:28 - FYI, the Hornets are playing the Knicks in New York tonight. Nice job by the NBA with that scheduling, huh? It's a close one late in the second quarter.
6:52 - ESPN reports that Saints DT Sedrick Ellis will miss 4-6 weeks due to the MCL sprain he suffered last week at Miami. Anthony Hargrove starts in place of Ellis and may be the best pass rusher on the interior of the line that this team has anyway. Time will tell.
Linebacker Scott Fujita (calf) will also be inactive tonight. Troy Evans will once again start in Fujita’s place on the strong side.
Other inactives for the Saints are kicker Garrett Hartley, cornerback Leigh Torrence, running back Lynell Hamilton, safety Chris Reis and center Nick Leckey. Chase Daniel will be the third quarterback.
For Atlanta, running backs Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling are out tonight. That may mean playing time for former Saints back Aaron Stecker who was signed by the Falcons earlier in the week.
The rest of the inactives are safety Antoine Harris, linebacker Spencer Adkins, tackle Garrett Reynolds and guard Quinn Ojinnaka. Former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson is the emergency QB tonight.
6:49 p.m. - This game pits two traditional rivals on the big stage - Monday Night Football. The Saints are in their all-black uniforms tonight. We'll see if messing with the mojo of the white tops/gold pants in the Dome this season has any affect. Not that I believe in superstitions...
Re: Saints vs. Falcons - Play by Play
That was an excellent recap, much better that last nights play by play.
Re: Saints vs. Falcons - Play by Play
Awesome Recap, enjoyed every second.
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