Falcons fall short against Saints


The Falcons opened their 2013 season on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints and the Falcons knew they had to score a ton of points to come away with the win.

That did not happen as the Saints edge the Falcons 23-17 to get a leg up on the NFC South race.

The Falcons had no problems with the New Orleans crowd to start the game as they jumped to a 10- 0 lead.  Midway through the first quarter, Matt Ryan threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez to get on the board first.

After a fourth down stop by the Falcons defense on the ensuing drive, the Falcons offense drove the ball 40-yards on eight plays to have Matt Bryant kick a 23-yard field goal.

The Saints would make their comeback at the start of the second quarter. Garrett Hartley would kick a 48-yard field goal early in the second to cut the Falcons lead to seven. The Saints would tie the game over a minute later when Drew Brees threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston. That drive was possible because the Falcons turned the ball over when Julio Jones caught a Ryan pass and fumbled as he was going down.

The Saints added three more points later in the second when Hartley kicked a 31-yard field goal.

The Falcons, however, were able to swing the momentum their way at the start of the third quarter. After forcing the Saints to go three-and-out on offense, the Falcons drove 59 yards on five plays which ended with a Ryan 4-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones to give the Falcons the lead.

Saints scored on the ensuing drive when Brees threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. They added three more to the lead late in the fourth quarter when Hartley kicked a 22-yard field goal.

The Falcons had a chance to win the game as they had the ball with 3:12 left in the game and drove it the Saints three yard line. On the second to last play, Ryan threw a pass to Steven Jackson, but it was dropped in the endzone. On the last play, Ryan threw a pass intended for Gonzalez, but the pass was tipped and picked off by Roman Harper.

One of the reasons the Falcons could not get anything going on offense was the offense line did not play consistent football. Ryan was sacked three times and was constantly under pressure. They also did not run the ball as much as they would have liked. Steven Jackson finished the day with 77 yards on 11 carries including a 50-yard run to set up the Falcons second touchdown.  Ryan ended the day with solid numbers, completing 25 of 38 passes for 304 yards, two scores and one interceptions.

The defense, which was under a lot of scrutiny because of the youth in the secondary, made plays when they need to. Rookie cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford each had key pass breakup as did Robert McClain who also tallied 10 tackles. Alford even had a pick on Brees late in third quarter.

The defensive line was able to generate pressure on Brees. Peria Jerry and Corey Peters each had a sack, and Kroy Biermann and Osi Umenyiora were able to get pressure on the edge. However, they allowed Brees to throw for 357 yards and two scores. The Saints also converted six of 13 third downs while the Falcons only converted three of 11.

The Falcons will look to bounce back next Sunday when they face the St. Louis Rams at the Georgia Dome. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply