Falcons vs. Saints: Quick Hits
A week after booting the game-winner in New Orleans' win at San Francisco, Garrett Hartley shanked a 29-yard field goal in overtime. Bryant then had his 41-yard attempt at a win -- however, Sean Payton's timeout to ice Bryant nullified it. He hit his second try.
The Falcons established themselves as a Super Bowl contender. We couldn't have been sure. They looked wobbly in a loss to the Steelers, terrific in a win over Arizona.
In Week 3, in the Saints' den, the Falcons gave the defending champs all they could handle and -- after regulation -- more.
• This was some unusual stuff. The Saints not dominating the turnover column, Drew Brees making mistakes, Drew Brees getting sacked in opponent's territory.
• The Saints devoted coverage to wide receiver Roddy White, but what about future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez? He carved up the Saints most of the afternoon. How come there was no nickel back devoted to him?
• Jeremy Shockey, the tight end for the Saints, had a good day, too, matching up with linebackers. Atlanta played too deep on Shockey with the safety, and he broke off routes at three yards and made the grabs.
• Falcons coach Mike Smith was risky here Sunday. He kept going for it on fourth down, the last time late in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-6 with Atlanta clinging to a three-point lead, when Ryan's pass was batted in the air and fell incomplete
• Sean Payton made some great pass calls with runners in motion. Over and over he kept getting receiver Lance Moore matched up with a linebacker. The Falcons were caught with four defensive backs on the field and had trouble matching up.
• The Saints are much better on defense this season with Alex Brown at defensive end. The Falcons could not get much push on New Orleans at the line of scrimmage. The Falcons tried to use a pulling guard to get more blockers, but the Saints would fire a defender through the hole and help make plays.
• Roddy White, the Falcons wide receiver, had trouble for three quarters getting away from the jam at the line of scrimmage of Jabari Greer, the Saints' top corner. Greer matched up with White and held him down for three quarters, then White broke out.
• On the touchdown pass he caught that put Atlanta ahead 24-21, Greer did not get a jam on White at the line and White ran past Greer. The safety, Malcolm Jenkins, did not have time to come over from the middle of the field. Touchdown.
• Jenkins had been jawing at White after a serious hit to White's chin while White was not looking. The touchdown with Jenkins chasing helplessly was just desserts.
• It was a tough turnaround for the Saints from Monday's game at San Francisco. They lost Reggie Bush to injury and had to come back from the west coast at 4 in the morning. It was a short week.
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