The New Orleans Saints four game winning streak against the Atlanta Falcons is over, as is Drew Brees‘ record-setting streak of 54 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Both records were snuffed out in a 23-13 Falcons win at the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons did what was necessary on both sides of the ball, running it just enough to keep the Saints defense honest, with Michael Turner running with some renewed energy for the first half of the game, going for 83 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and Jacquizz Rodgers adding 43 yards.
The defense, left short-handed in the secondary when DB Asante Samuel went out early in the game after re-injuring his shoulder, bent but did not break under the weight of Drew Brees and his cast of speedy receivers. Any time your defense can force Brees into a career high five interceptions, you did something very right.
The turning point of the game might have been at the end of the first half, when the Saints, who were out of time outs and down 17-7, made the decision to continue trying to score a touchdown as time ticked down rather than line up for a field goal that would have brought them within one score. As Brees attempted to clock the ball inside the 5-yard line, time expired leaving the Saints without anything to show for what had been an impressive drive.
As is the case with most games between the two bitter rivals, there was pushing, shoving, jawing and finger-pointing…and of course, questionable calls by the officials. It will be interesting to see if the league office takes any issue with some of the calls (and non-calls) that took place during this game.
Detractors of the 11-1 Falcons may now have to dine on some humble pie. Atlanta beat a rival who had gotten the best of them for a few years now. They won a game against a quality team by double-digits. They held a prolific offense under 14 points.
What else does this team need to do to gain respect?
Yeah, yeah..we know. Win in January.
Game Balls to: Safety William Moore – 11 tackles, 2 interceptions; Kicker Matt Bryant – 3/3 FGs, including a 55 yard coffin nail.