Week 11 Recap: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

Week 11 Recap: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints

by November 23, 2020 1 comment

The Taysom Hill experiment started off slow but turned around in the second half. The 30-year-old, in his first start under center, added two rushing touchdowns as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 24-9.

First Half

The two teams each exchanged one field goal apiece in the first quarter. Younghoe Koo continued to be reliable in the kicking game as the second quarter dragged on, as he struck the ball through the uprights twice more from 51 and 52 yards out.

Atlanta had a six-point lead in the waning minutes of the final quarter but fell behind by one point as Alvin Kamara rushed in from three yards out. The Falcons had one more chance to strike before halftime, reaching field-goal range with less than one minute to play. However, Matt Ryan took a sack on third down, pushing the Falcons back to New Orleans’ 47-yard line. Instead of attempting a 65-yard field goal, the Falcons took one more shot as time expired on fourth down. Safety Marcus Williams picked off Ryan’s pass near the goal line and returned the ball to the 20-yard line, where running back Brian Hill dragged him down via horse-collar tackle. The penalty was declined, so New Orleans took a one-point lead to the locker room at halftime.

Second Half

The Saints opened the second half with the ball and struck quickly as Taysom Hill ran the ball in from two yards out. The Falcons punted on their next two drives and New Orleans capitalized as Hill sprinted to the left and scored from 10 yards out to take a two-score lead. The Falcons’ next two drives ended in a punt and an interception. They took possession again with 59 seconds left and failed to score, falling 24-9 on the road.

The Saints battled two notable injuries during the game. Star left tackle Andrus Peat was ruled out with a concussion in the second quarter. His status for Week 12 is unclear. He will undergo further testing this week and should have an official designation by Friday. Wide receiver Deonte Harris also exited with a stinger. The team deemed him as questionable to return in the third quarter. Harris had one rush and one reception, adding 25 total yards.

Atlanta avoided the injury bug for the most part, though star wide receiver Julio Jones was in and out of the game with a hamstring injury. He was absent for most of the second half, though he did make an appearance in the fourth quarter when the game was still in reach.

Statistics

The Falcons’ biggest struggles came in the offensive backfield, where Ryan was sacked eight times. Seven of those sacks came on third down. Atlanta finished with a two-for-14 (14 percent) success rate on third down.

Taysom Hill was the Saints’ leading rusher with 10 carries for 51 yards. He was followed by Latavius Murray (12 carries, 49 yards) and Alvin Kamara (13 carries, 45 yards, touchdown). Kamara’s small workload was the biggest concern out of Sunday’s game. Sean Payton‘s decision to start Hill may need to be revisited if he cannot incorporate Kamara into the offense. Kamara had zero receptions on one target.

Michael Thomas broke out in the receiving game with nine catches for 104 yards.

Star defensive end Cameron Jordan tallied three sacks in the loss, while David Onyemata added two and Demario Davis picked up one. Trey Hendrickson also sacked Ryan twice, moving into a tie (with Myles Garrett) for first-place on the sack leaderboard (9.5 sacks). Janoris Jenkins also stood out defensively with five tackles, five passes defended, and one interception.

Atlanta’s offense struggled in the loss. With 26 yards, Todd Gurley accounted for half of the Falcons’ rushing total. Matt Ryan was just 19-for-37 with 232 yards and two interceptions. Calvin Ridley caught five passes for 90 yards while Russell Gage impressed with 58 yards on seven catches (12 targets).

Defensively, the Falcons finished with three sacks and one turnover. Taysom Hill was stripped by A.J. Terrell in the fourth quarter and Foyesade Oloukon secured the ball.

Highlights

What’s Next?

The Saints, who hold sole possession of first place in the NFC at 8-2, travel to Denver for a Week 12 bout with the Broncos, who are fresh off a home upset of the Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, Atlanta returns home to take on a Las Vegas Raiders team that gave the Kansas City Chiefs another run for their money on Sunday Night Football.


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Andersen is a teenage sports writer and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Sports Illustrated Kids, Prime Time Sports Talk, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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