Week 13 Recap: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falconsby Celeste Sabin December 7, 2020 1 comment
The New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons met each other for the second time in as many weeks in this NFC-South divisional matchup. New Orleans took the victory in the Week 11 meeting, 24-9, and they were the favored win this week too. The Saints won five of the last six games against the Falcons and were looking to add to their all-time series wins, which coming into this game Atlanta led, 52-50. The game came down to the wire and the Falcons made a valiant effort to come back in the second half but fell short with a five-point loss to the Saints, 21-16
The first quarter got off to a slow start with both teams going three and out in the first three drives. The Saints put the first points up in the fourth drive when Taysom Hill hit Tre’Quan Smith with a 15-yard pass in the endzone. This was Hill’s first career passing touchdown.
Atlanta answered in the next drive and put points up as well when Younghoe Koo kicked a field goal from 53 yards out. The scoreboard read 7-3 with 3:55 to go in the first quarter. The score would remain true heading into the second quarter as the Saints kept possession of the ball for the rest of the first quarter and into the second quarter.
The Saints held on to the ball for the first three minutes of the second quarter and were forced to make a field goal attempt to close out a long drive. Will Lutz kicked the ball from the 40-yard line, but it went wide right and he missed the kick.
Both teams exchanged downs in their next series, then Atlanta added another three points to their score when Koo put the ball through the posts from 30 yards out. The Falcons only trailed the Saints by one point, 7-6 with under three minutes left in the half.
New Orleans answered in the following possession with a touchdown after Hill connected with Jared Cook for an 11-yard touchdown. The Saints extended their lead, 14-6 with less than two minutes to go, but Yoo closed out the first half with another field goal, this time right through the middle from the 28-yard line. New Orleans went into halftime with a five-point lead, 14-9.
The Saints had the first chance to put points up first in the third quarter, and they did just that. After running nearly six minutes off the clock and an opening play that was 12 plays, Alvin Kamara rushed the ball 12 yards for the touchdown. New Orleans extended the lead 21-9.
Atlanta was unable to produce any points in the third quarter and their offensive line spent approximately four minutes on the field total. The Saints’ second drive ran another five minutes off of the clock, and the Falcons finished the third quarter with a three and out, giving the Saints possession of the ball to start the fourth quarter.
The Saints went three and out in the opening drive of the fourth quarter, but received the ball back in the second play of Atlanta’s opening drive. Carl Granderson sacked Matt Ryan causing him to fumble the ball and Granderson recovered the fumbled ball causing an Atlanta turnover.
In the next drive, Steven Means sacked Hill, also causing a fumble in which he recovered for the Falcons, causing a New Orleans turnover. The Falcons capitalized on the turnover in the next possession when Ryan passed the ball to Russell Gage for a 10-yard touchdown, the first of the game. For the second time in this game, the Saints had a five-point lead, 21-16 with 7:43 to go.
The teams exchanged downs for the remainder of the game and the Falcons had possession of the ball in the final drive; they nearly scored a touchdown as the time expired, but the pass into the endzone was broken up by the Saints defense. New Orleans won their ninth game in a row and a 10-2 record on the season which makes them the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
New Orleans will travel to Philadelphia next Sunday to face the Eagles while Atlanta heads to the West Coast to face the Los Angeles Chargers.
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