Rise up? Falcons bow down — even with Samuel L. in the house
NOV 21, 2013 11:31p ET
Did you know Saints-Falcons is the oldest rivalry in the NFC South? Well, after New Orleans' Drew-Brees-throws-2-TDs-New-Orleans-Saints-beat-Atlanta-Falcons-112113" target="_blank">17-13 victory on Thursday night, the Saints have cut the Falcons' overall lead in the series to 47-43. Who dat!
The now Saints came into this game favored by seven points and expected by most to run away with this one. And while New Orleans is indeed 9-2, staying within range of Seattle for the NFC's best record, it needed to sweat it out a little bit more than it should have on Thursday night.
The good — and, uh, not-so-good, of Sean Payton
The Saints head coach / offensive guru and his coaching staff deserve credit for calling timeout just before Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant nailed a 52-yard field goal that would have cut the Saints' lead to one point with a little more than two minutes remaining in the game.
Guess what happened when Bryant lined up and tried again? Yup, wide left.
Should the Falcons (2-9 and losers of five straight) have gone for the touchdown instead? That's debatable. But thanks to a bizarre series of calls by Payton, they DID get to for seven — and the win.
After the missed kick, the Saints got the ball back at their own 42 with 2:19 to play, holding on to that 4-point lead. They worked the ball to the Falcons' 18-yard line before a holding call made it first-and-20 at the Atlanta 28 with 1:42 to play. The next four plays:
• 1st down: Mark Ingram 4-yard run
• 2nd down: Drew Brees kneel-down
• 3rd down: Brees kneel-down
• 4th down: Brees scrambles around the backfield before sliding down for an 11-yard loss.
The questionable play-calling gave the Falcons the ball at their own 38 with 5 seconds to play — and a shot at the win! We did not get the stunning comeback, but we did get this fun:
With the win, the Saints are now just a game back of the 10-1 Seahawks. This was a crucial win as the Saints, and the rest of the conference for that matter, want to avoid a playoff game in front of Seattle's raucous home crowd at all costs. (And luckily for us, New Orleans is at Seattle in Week 13.)
Here's another tidbit: Drew Brees passed Warren Moon for fifth place in the NFL's all-time passing yards list. Congrats!
OK, what were the other highlights from this night?
Jimmy Graham's night in GIF form
We covered Jimmy in an earlier post, but it bears repeating. First, he caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees:
Then he bent the goalpost with his post-touchdown slam dunk:
At least he apologized for it afterward.
If that wasn't enough, check out this 35-yard catch and run:
For those counting at home, Graham now has 60 receptions, 846 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns and one busted goal post in 2013. Yeah, he's good.
Matt Ryan is lucky he's still in one piece
Check Ryan's helmet and make sure his head is still attached, please.
Darius Johnson fumbles away a golden opportunity
The Falcons were driving at the start of the fourth quarter, looking to either take the lead with a touchdown or pull within a point with a field goal. Then rookie receiver Darius Johnson did this on second-and-8 from the Saints' 22-yard line:
That's a killer. Those lost points would have come in handy, don't you think?
Samuel L. Jackson is about to get medieval
The legendary actor was in the Georgia Dome to see his Falcons. Let's just say it was a frustrating experience:
We hope he was saying "flag." And by the way, I know "get medieval" wasn't Samuel's line from Pulp Fiction. So don't send emails.
Jeremy Trueblood can't stand Akiem Hicks
How do I know? Check out this sweet left hook that the Falcons offensive lineman lands:
Pow! We'll have to see how the judges score that punch. I say Trueblood wins the round 10-9.
Look what you did, Falcons!
Are you proud of yourselves? You made this little guy sad. Oh well, there's always next season.