Atlanta Falcons versus New Orleans: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

By Ken Grace
Derick Hingle–US Presswire

After nine games the Atlanta Falcons finally lost one as they went down 31-27 to the New Orleans Saints. With the loss, Atlanta is now 8-1, while New Orleans climbs to 4-5. It was a highly contested affair that came down to the bitter end for the Falcon faithful. That being said, here is the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good:

Matt Ryan

The Falcons QB had a great game statistically, completing 34 of 52 passes for 411 yards and threw for three touchdowns as well. Ryan did throw for one interception and there was that botched pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez at the end of the game. Besides that, Ryan played a great game. He looked like an elite quarterback, unfortunately Atlanta did not get the win.

Tony Gonzalez

The future hall of famer also had a great game, reeling in two touchdowns to become the first tight end to record 100 touchdowns. Gonzalez made fantasy owners very happy as he caught 11 passes for 122 yards. Gonzalez may have been extra motivated this game going up against the Saints tight end, Jimmy Graham who is often compared to him. Graham caught seven passes for 146 yards and had two of his own.

The Bad:

Atlanta’s Defense

It is probably harsh to say the Falcons D was bad; average is probably a more appropriate word. They looked like last season’s defense, you know, the one that had the suspect secondary. They allowed 298 passing yards and three touchdowns to Saints QB, Drew Brees and they couldn’t stop Graham or Lance Moore all day long. They also gave up 148 yards on the ground as well. Atlanta’s defense looked like the same one that took a beating against the New York Giants in last year’s playoffs (it seems like I mention the Giants a lot). In short, Atlanta’s defense made us all forget that New Orleans is still an under .500 team dealing with a scandal.

The Ugly:

Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers

Atlanta fans had to come into this game thinking  Turner and Rodgers had found their mojo against the Dallas Cowboys last week as they both had great games against a solid Cowboy defense. However, against arguably the worst defense in the NFL, they were horrible. Turner turned in 15 measly yards on 13 carries, while Rodgers ran for 29 yards on three carries; 18 of those yards came on one carry. Not to mention when it mattered most in the fourth quarter and the Falcons were in the red zone, Atlanta was unable to punch the ball into the end zone for the potential game-winning touchdown. Roddy White may have missed a wide open catch in the end, but the rushing attack or lack thereof, is the real reason Atlanta lost.

The Red Zone. 

Atlanta was 3 for 6 in the red zone. This 50% mark is only an ugly stat because it cost them the game. If Atlanta turns one of those failed attempts into a touchdown they win the game. The other reason this stat is important is because New Orleans was 2 for 3 in the same category. All Atlanta had to do was match the percentage and they win.

Ultimately, Atlanta is still the best team in the league. They did not play their best game but still had a chance to win, unlike when the Houston Texans were blown out by the Green Bay Packers. A loss probably takes some of the pressure of going undefeated off of Atlanta as well. Now instead of playing not to lose, they can simply play to win and continue to work towards locking up home field advantage in the NFC.

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