Marcus Colston hauls in a 25 yarder from Drew Brees for the Saints 1st touchdown.
Sean Payton returned to the sidelines to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 23-17 victory over conference rival Atlanta Falcons in the Big Easy.
Matt Ryan and Drew Brees battled as usual with each quarterback torching the opposing defense with a 2 touchdown, 300+ yard performance.Atlanta drew first blood with a 7 yard strike from Ryan to Tony Gonzalez that capped a 6-play, 82 yard drive. Ryan’s pass to Harry Douglas across the middle just beyond midfield that turned into a 50 yard play, set up the score.
Matt Bryan added a 23 yard field goal to give the Falcons a 10-0 lead.
The Saints weren’t able to respond until the second quarter. New Orleans followed up a 48 yard field goal from Garrett Hartley with a Marcus Colston touchdown. With the Falcons driving, Ryan’s pass to Julio Jones was knocked loose and recovered by safety Roman Harper who returned it 19 yards to the 31. Brees made quick work of the short field finding Colston up the seam behind the defense for six.
Trailing 13-10 to start the third, newly minted Falcons running back Steven Jackson demonstrated why he was so highly sought after. On second and 6, Jackson burst through the right side for a 50 yard gain like a back considerably younger. Julio Jones redeemed his earlier miscue snagging Ryan’s pass for the go ahead score.
New Orleans responded immediately with a 10 play, 80 yard drive. Brees picked the Falcons secondary apart hitting six different receivers including a second pass to Jimmy Graham for the 7 yard game winning score.
Hartley added a field goal in the fourth and the defense thwarted a last ditch pass intended for Gonzalez at the 3.
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