Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/8/13
“Last season, while suspended in connection with the NFL's bounty probe, Payton watched helplessly from afar as the Saints fielded one of the worst defenses ever, yielding a single-season record 7,042 yards,” according to the game summary by ESPN.com. “One of his first moves upon reinstatement was to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator.”It seemed to have worked.The Saints went out on defense first and set the tone against division rival Atlanta, which resulted in a 21-17 win over the Falcons in the Superdome.The win not only helped Payton ease his way back to his position of leader, the Saints proved they were complete with their captain roaming the sidelines.When two teams with high octane offenses like these two play (twice a year in the NFC South), you hate seeing a team fall. But, someone has to win and someone has to lose.And here is what we learned from this first game of the year.Vintage BreesHe just went out and did what he does best.Drew Brees threw for 357 yards and two scores. He was in control of the offense once he stepped out on the carpet.Brees was good last season, but seemed a bit unattached because of the loss of Payton for the year. He even spoke out openly of how important Payton’s presence was important to the complete drive of the team.The return of Brees from 2011 is a great thing for the Falcons and a scary thing for the rest of the NFL.Matt Ryan wasn’t bad eitherIf Ryan is going to take the next step in his ascension as an elite passer, he needs to not make mental errors or throw key interceptions. Ryan threw for 304 yards and two scores but was picked off once. I think this is the kind of game in that the scoring went back and forth and there was more defense than expected. Ryan will get another shot at New Orleans later in the year in Atlanta to redeem himself.A defensive standThe Saints applied pressure on Ryan all game. The new scheme worked. He was sacked three times by Junior Galette, Akiem Hicks and Parys Haralson -- and threw balls away several times, including on an early third down that forced Atlanta to settle for a field goal.The notes on ESPN show that “the group also produced a momentum-changing turnover when Malcolm Jenkins stripped Jones and Harper recovered, setting up Colston's TD, which tied the game at 10 in the second quarter.”Somewhat of a running gameI love the analogy the sportscasters on ESPN gave this morning concerning Atlanta and a running game to get to the Super Bowl. Only after the Denver Broncos drafted Terrell Davis did they win back-to-nback Super Bowls.If the Falcons are going to get to the Super Bowl now, it will be because of a running game. Steven Jackson ran for 77 yards on 11 carries.Close but no cigarOn the last opportunity to win the game, rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro tipped a pass intended for tight end Tony Gonzalez to seal the win.On third and goal on the previous play, On third-and-goal, Ramon Humber broke up a pass for Steven Jackson at the goal line. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rougned Odor’s extension with Rangers includes two horses

LaVar Ball would rather Celtics not draft Lonzo

Scot McCloughan: ‘I haven’t touched a drink in a while’

Kristaps Porzingis vs. Nikola Jokic: A comparison

DeMarcus Cousins isn’t giving the Kings any bulletin board material in pregame interview

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

New Astro Josh Reddick looking for ‘hot spots’ like Dave & Buster’s, Arby’s

Scottie Pippen: Phil Jackson the main problem with Knicks

Jerry Jones hints Cowboys looking to trade out of first round

Goldberg clarifies comments about being 'miserable' in WWE return

Elway disagrees with notion Kaepernick is being blackballed

Jeanie Buss: Luke Walton can be Lakers coach for 10-15 years

The 'It appears as if the Padres aren't even pretending to try in 2017' quiz

MLB promotions we're dying to see teams incorporate

NFL Roundup: Jay Cutler wasted a perfectly good sendoff photo

Box Score 3/30: The calm before the final days of March Madness

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

Box Score 3/29: Free hats (Caps fans only)

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'It appears as if the Padres aren't even pretending to try in 2017' quiz

MLB promotions we're dying to see teams incorporate

NFL Roundup: Jay Cutler wasted a perfectly good sendoff photo

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker