Saints storm back for 27-26 win over Falcons

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons
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When the Falcons went up 26-10 early in the fourth quarter while quarterback Jameis Winston was in the sideline medical tent, it looked like Week One was going to end in unhappy fashion for the Saints.

The next 12 minutes turned any frowns upside down, however. Winston hit Michael Thomas for a pair of touchdowns and the Saints defense came up with a pair of stops that set up Wil Lutz for a 51-yard field goal attempt with 19 seconds left to play. Lutz hit the kick and the Falcons rallied for a 63-yard try to swing things back their way, but Younghoe Koo‘s try was blocked and the Saints got a 27-26 win.

Winston’s late heroics came after a pretty brutal three quarters for the Saints offense. Taysom Hill produced a touchdown with back-to-back runs that covered 68 yards, but their other five drives of the first half netted 27 yards. Mark Ingram lost a fumble in the third quarter to keep them in the doldrums, but Winston hit four straight passes that culminated in Thomas’ first score to start turning the tide.

The next drive saw them go 81 yards with Thomas, Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry all coming up with big catches before Thomas’ second score. Winston then set up the winning field goal with a 40-yard strike to Landry and a 17-yard hookup with Juwan Johnson sandwiched around an intentional grounding penalty for spiking the ball with the clock stopped.

Cornerback Marshon Lattimore had a mental error before Koo’s final field goal try as well. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness to move the Falcons close enough for the last-ditch try for the win.

The Saints overcame those and all their other blunders. Winston finished 23-of-34 for 269 yards and two touchdowns while Landry had seven catches for 114 yards in his Saints debut. They’ll try to put together a fuller effort at home against the Bucs next weekend.

Marcus Mariota was 20-of-33 for 215 yards through the air and he ran for 72 yards and a touchdown in his Falcons debut. Cordarrelle Patterson ran 22 times for 120 yards and a score, but all the positives of the first 45-plus minutes for the Falcons went up in smoke at the end. They’ll be in Los Angeles to face the Rams next Sunday.

14 responses to “Saints storm back for 27-26 win over Falcons

  1. Wow. I think I’m going to focus on baseball for the next month. Yeah, I don’t think Arthur Smith is the guy. At this point, I almost turn an eye toward Rich McKay and Arthur Blank for continuing to hire these “play not to lose” coaches. As soon as the Saints started playing like they were behind, it’s almost as if the defense adapted to help them. Sickening.

  2. Saints looked like an entirely different team on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter. Lots to improve on quick with the next two games being division games as well. What a nail-biter!

  3. @shoepik That’s generally the case when the Falcons choke like this. Patriots, Cowboys, Bears, Bucs, Saints (almost last year and now today). The list is endless. I will say most Falcons Saints games come down to the wire though.

  4. A win is a win is a win. The Saints showed the grit characteristic of the Payton-era teams. But they have a LOT to fix in order to consistently compete with the upper echelon of the NFC. And the Falcons will win some games against better teams if they continue to show the imagination and heart they showed for three quarters today.

  5. CGM is back.

    The no huddle quick tempo changes that game. I just wish we could get into that early

  6. I know how you all feel.
    Even with the bad refereeing in our favor we still couldn’t pull it out and beat them saints!

  7. Winston looked so much more comfortable in the shotgun but the problem is that gunslingers and he’s proved this, usually throw as many ints as TDs.

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