Saints ride early momentum to defeat Falcons on Thanksgiving
(WVUE) - The Saints were clearly motivated to erase the mistakes they made last time out against the Falcons, and despite some unnecessary late-game drama, defeat the Falcons 26-18.
It started following a three and out from the Falcons. Taysom Hill got to the punter to partially block the kick and set the Saints up with great field position at the Atlanta 30 yard line. Then a few plays later, Drew Brees completed a shovel pass to Hill for a touchdown to make it 7-0.
But Atlanta would respond in the second quarter. Matt Ryan connected with Jaeden Graham for a touchdown, but a missed extra point allowed the Saints to maintain a one-point lead, 7-6.
After they’d add a field goal to make it 10-6, the Saints would add one more score to extend their lead before halftime. Following the two-minute warning, Taysom Hill struck once again with a 30-yard touchdown run right up the middle to make it 17-6.
Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo would add a field goal just before halftime to make it 17-9.
The second half was a disappointing output for the Saints offense, but it was notably more conservative play-calling. As early as the 10:55 mark in the fourth quarter, they opted to settle for a field goal by running the ball on third and 10 instead of trying to pass for a first down.
That would make the game a lot closer than it needed to be, despite three Matt Ryan turnovers (interceptions by Shy Tuttle and CJ Gardner-Johnson and a fumble recovered by Vonn Bell).
The Saints, thanks to Wil Lutz, added 9 points to lead 26-9, but touchdowns and late field goals, not to mention two improbable onside kick recoveries brought us to a 26-18 finish.
Ultimately, it was the Saints front seven that made the difference with eight sacks. Cameron Jordan led the way with four of them, including one on the Falcons final offensive snap of the game that sealed the Saints victory.
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