The Falcons earned their first NFC South division win over the New Orleans Saints 34-20. The Saints attempted a late comeback, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Falcons. Chevis Jackson had a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown which put the game out of reach.
Matt Ryan led the team with 248 yards and 2 touchdowns, completing 16 of 23 pass attempts. Michael Turner rushed for 96 yards on 27 carries with a score. Michael Jenkins led receivers with 6 catches for 72 yards. Roddy White had 5 grabs for 68 yards and a touchdown. Jerious Norwood had Ryan’s other scoring strike, scoring on a 67-yard pass, and finishing the day with 2 catches for 88 yards and 6 carries for 17 yards rushing.
Defensively, while Saints quarterback Drew Brees passed for 420 yards, the Falcons secondary really showed up. They picked off Brees three times and were able to break up 15 passes. Erik Coleman led the team with 9 tackles, an interception, and forced 1 fumble. Coleman’s interception came on the very first play of the game, and he returned it 32 yards. Keith Brooking (8 tackles), Lawyer Milloy (8 tackles), Michael Boley (7 tackles, 2 pass breakups), Curtis Lofton (6 tackles), Domonique Foxworth (5 tackles, 3 pass breakups), Chris Houston (5 tackles, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups), John Abraham (1 tackle, 1 sack, 4 hurries), Jonathan Babineaux (2 tackles), and Chevis Jackson (1 tackle, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups) had noteworthy games.
On speical teams, Jason Elam was perfect on two short field goals of 22 and 27 yards. Michael Koenen had 4 punts for an average of 35.3 yards with 3 placed inside the 20-yard line. Jerious Norwood returned 2 kickoffs for an average of 36.5 yards, while Harry Douglas had 2 punt returns for an average of 16.5 yards.
The Falcons will host the Denver Broncos (5-4) next week, hoping to extend their home winning streak to six games. The Falcons last played the Broncos in 2004, which was a victory, but it came only after six straight losses to the Broncos dating back to 1985.