Saints fall to Falcons on Monday night

Ryan Micklin

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Last night marked the 10th anniversary of the Saints 23-3 win over the Falcons and their triumphant return to the Dome after the city of New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. However, “triumphant” doesn’t describe the game the Saints played Sept. 26, with a 45-32 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Saints head coach Sean Peyton described the loss as a disappointment during the press conference after the game. He credited Atlanta for doing everything necessary to win.

Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense got off to a strong start as they drove the ball down the field on the first possession and capped it off with a two yard touchdown pass to TE Coby Fleener.

On the ensuing possession, the Saints’ defense held their ground and forced Atlanta to punt. It seemed as if the Saints had all the momentum in the early going until rookie De’Vante Harris collided with Tommy Lee Lewis as he was trying to field the punt.

Harris was unable to recover the fumble, and the ball was eventually recovered by Atlanta on the Saints’ 11 yard line. The Falcons scored three plays later thanks to a two yard touchdown run by running back Tevin Coleman.

“It’s a terrible play. That’s two weeks in a row now that we had a play in special teams that resulted in seven points,” Peyton said.

The Falcons were able to score touchdowns on five straight possessions and eventually grabbed a 35-17 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Brees and the Saints offense did what they could to get back into the game but Brees’s first interception of the season piled on to the collection of mistakes that eventually sealed the win for the Falcons.

In an attempt to make it a one possession game, Brees threw a short pass to rookie receiver Michael Thomas. The ball was tipped up and away from Thomas and was picked off by Deion Jones, a New Orleans native, and returned 90 yards for a touchdown. The play resulted in a 14-point swing after which many Saints fans to exit the Superdome early as the Falcons took a commanding 45-25 lead.

“We’re down inside their red zone and they get the tipped interception and it goes back to the house and it’s a 14 point swing. That’s how we lost,” Brees said at the press conference.

The Saints are now dealing with their second consecutive 0-3 start.

“The bottom line is, there is no magic formula. There is no magic offensive play or defensive scheme that’s going to win you a game. It’s about each guy doing what they are coached to do. There will be mistakes made at times, but let’s not be a team that’s going to beat themselves,” Brees said.

Brees’ 376 yards and three touchdowns wasn’t enough as the defense consistently was gashed by Atlanta’s two-headed rushing attack led by Devonta Freeman and Coleman.

Freeman let loose on the Saints defense as he amassed 207 total yards and averaged 10.8 yards per carry.

“We have to stop the run. You are not going to win many games if you can’t hold someone under 200 yards rushing,” Peyton said.

“Whatever is happening now is here for a reason. It’s here to make you stronger, to sharpen you up a bit, to toughen you up a little bit and bring the team together in a way that will serve you in a positive way down the road. We have the right type of guys to turn this thing around, and when we do, look out,” Brees said.

The (0-3) Saints run defense will be tested next week by Melvin Gordon and the (1-2) San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Oct. 2 in San Diego. Kickoff is set for 4:25 ET.

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