Found September 08, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
New Orleans Saints
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Sean Payton enjoyed a triumphant return from his bounty ban, with help from Drew Brees and a defense overhauled by the coordinator he hired shortly after his reinstatement.
Brees passed for 357 yards and two scores and the New Orleans Saints held on for a 23-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Roman Harper intercepted a tipped fourth down pass in the end zone with under a minute left, allowing the Saints to run out the clock.
Brees connected with Marques Colston for a 25-yard touchdown pass during which the receiver also set a franchise mark for catches with 533. Brees also hit tight end Jimmy Graham for a 7-yard score in the third quarter.
Matt Ryan passed for 304 yards and touchdown passes to Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones. In the final three minutes, Ryan quickly drove Atlanta to the Saints 3 before the Saints defense stiffened.
Steven Jackson rushed 11 times for 77 yards in his Atlanta debut, including a 50-yard run.
New Orleans' defense under new coordinator Rob Ryan gave up a pair of 50-yard plays, the other on a pass to Harry Douglas, but also put a lot of pressure on Ryan.
Ryan was sacked three times and threw balls away on several other occasions, including an early third down play deep in Saints territory, forcing Atlanta to settle for a field goal.
The group also produced a momentum-changing turnover when Malcolm Jenkins stripped Jones and Harper recovered to start the drive that ended with Colston's TD, which tied the game at 10 in the second quarter.
Colston finished with five catches for 68 yards. Darren Sproles caught six passes for 88 yards.
Douglas caught four passes for 93 yards, including a 20-yarder to the New Orleans 7 on Atlanta's final drive.
But that turned out to be Ryan's last significant completion on a drive which started with completions of 17, 16, 7 and 13 yards as the Falcons appeared to be driving for a potential winning score.
But on third-and-goal, Ramon Humber broke up a pass for Jackson at the goal line, then rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro tipped Ryan's fourth down pass for Gonzalez in the end zone.
Payton, who has had a low-key approach to his return from his suspension, finally put himself in the spotlight when he agreed to help former special teams standout Steve Gleason who has Lou Gehrig's disease, initiate the Superdome crowd's tradition pregame "Who dat!" chant after the coin toss.
Fans stood and cheered passionately as Payton held up Gleason's arm with his left hand and held up his own right arm, then lowered both to initiate the chant by the crowd packing the Superdome for an eagerly awaited matchup between regional rivals and the past two teams to win NFC South.
It didn't translate to a good start for the home club, though.
The Falcons struck for the first big play of the game on Douglas' 50-yard catch and run to the New Orleans 10, setting up Ryan's 7-yard TD pass to Gonzalez.
Atlanta later stuffed Saints running back Mark Ingram on fourth-and-short near midfield, and quickly drove for a short field goal and a 10-0 lead. Garret Hartley's 48-yard field goal in the second quarter made it 10-3.
New Orleans then went up 13-10 on a short field goal set up by rookie Kenny Stills' 67-yard catch, and that score stood until halftime.
BEST OF MAXIM
The New Orleans Saints opened their season the way they wanted with a 23-17 win over the hated Atlanta Falcons moving their one sided record against the Falcons in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era to 12-3. The combined 40 points between the teams was a little lower than many people expected from two explosive offenses. However, surprisingly, this game was dominated by defense; and...
The Saints winning a game with an honest-to-God goal-line stand is enough reason for a parade through New Orleans in itself. But it turns out new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan gave one lucky group of fans even more reason to celebrate their win over the Falcons on Sunday night. According to the NOLA Defender blog, Ryan showed up at the Uptown bar Ms. Mae’s, where he was showered...
From his bright orange shorts to the smile with which he greeted reporters, Sean Payton looked about as cheerful as a man in a high-pressure job can be on a Monday.
It helps when you win on Sunday, which is exactly what the Saints did in what also marked their head coach's first meaningful game since his one-season bounty ban ended last winter.
Payton downplays his role in...
No doubt the The Who Dat Nation was all in, desperate, in fact, to welcome coach Sean Payton back to the sidelines after his season-long Bounty Suspension.
Sunday's season opener featuring the Saints versus the Atlanta Falcons on Fox scored ratings that rival Super Bowl numbers.
The Nielsen Company says Sunday's game averaged a 75 share of the television audience in the...
Saints defensive back Keenan Lewis left Sunday's game with a leg injury.Fantasy Spin:He went down in the second quarter and wasn't on the field for the first series of the second half. Facing the Falcons receivers, New Orleans can't afford to be short-handed.
Drew Brees passed for 357 yards and two scores and the New Orleans held on for a 23-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons to give Saints coach Sean Payton a triumphant return from his bounty ban.
Roman Harper intercepted a tipped fourth down pass in the end zone with under a minute left.
Brees connected with Marques Colston for a 25-yard touchdown pass during which the receiver also...
Saints nose tackle Broderick Bunkley has left New Orleans' regular-season opener against the Falcons with a lower right leg injury.
The Saints have announced that his return is questionable.
Bunkley appeared to be tangled up on a short running play in which Steven Jackson gained 3 yards deep in Saints territory.
John Jenkins, a rookie out of Georgia drafted in the third round...
The Falcons have scratched starting cornerback Asante Samuel for Sunday's season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
Samuel had been listed as questionable with a right thigh injury. He's been replaced in the starting lineup by Robert McClain.
Meanwhile, the Saints deactivate newly re-acquired receiver Robert Meachem and outside linebacker Martez Wilson. Wilson did not...
When you give up 17 points to an extremely potent offense, including a game winning goal line stop at the end of the game to seal the victory, it's safe to say this was an overwhelming success. Rob Ryan's first game was a huge hit. The defense gave up some plays, sure, but the overall result was more than we could have asked for. They deserve all the credit for this win,...
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The STACK Exercise of the Week helps you improve your overall sports performance—including strength, speed, conditioning and flexibility.
BOSU Bulgarian Lunge Hop
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Drew Brees, All-Pro QB
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It's a bit of a tradition by now that twice a year I connect with Grits Blitz, an Atlanta Falcon blog, to talk about the game and get some pot shots in in the process. Always a good time and they are good enough sports to indulge me despite rooting for such filthy trash. Of course it's always in good fun, if you suspend my deep seated hatred for the Falcons. But seriously...