FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- To paraphrase the clich, when the Falcons host New Orleans on Sunday with first place in the NFC South on the line, they know they cannot stop Saints quarterback Drew Brees, but they will have to find a way to contain him -- and hit him and harass him.
In the Falcons' first meeting with Brees last season, he completed 78.9 percent of his passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns -- and lost. That was because the Falcons picked off Brees twice and sacked him twice and won in overtime 27-24.
The second time around, Brees was only slightly less efficient, completing passes at a 71-percent clip for fewer yards (302) and fewer touchdowns (1) with the same number of interceptions, but the Falcons only sacked him once in a 17-14 loss. That proved their death knell, as Falcons head coach Mike Smith lamented the next day the large number of "clear lanes" that his pass-rushers had on the elusive Brees yet failed to bring him down.
It goes without saying that if the F...