Found December 29, 2011 on Fox Sports South:
Since taking over as head coach in January 2008, coach Mike Smith has taken the franchise to new heights in the regular season. The Falcons have posted winning seasons in each of his four seasons. They are set to make their third playoff appearance in the last four years. But they must rebound from a difficult-to-swallow 45-16 loss to archrival New Orleans with just one regular-season game to play. The 29-point margin of the defeat was the largest during Smith's tenure. The Falcons were drubbed by 27 points by the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs last season and by 27 points by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. "We obviously didn't play our best football," Smith said of the loss to the Saints. "We gave up way too many plays. Our third-down efficiency was not what it needs to be. We had some opportunities to score when we were down in the red zone and didn't get it done." Smith would not jump into the issue of whether the Saints ran up the score l...

Saints' Thomas fined for TD celebration

Saints running back Pierre Thomas has been fined $12,500 for a uniform violation and a touchdown celebration in which he placed a bow on a football and gave it to a fan. The fine for the celebration is $7,500. Thomas also violated NFL policies by wearing Christmas-themed green and red tape on his black and gold Saints uniform, and his fine for that is $5,000. Notice of the fines...

Saints, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

On Sunday at midnight, many of us will ring in the New Year singing “Auld Lang Syne.” But on Sunday at noon in the Superdome, I can assure you old acquaintances most certainly won’t be forgotten. The Saints will face a Carolina team that they’ve not only come to know very well, but loathe very much. And with the Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton performing like...

Payton says Saints starters will go “full steam ahead”

Saints coach Sean Payton knows exactly how tricky this week’s game against the Panthers could be. He was in almost the exact same scenario last year in Week 17 and it turned into a disaster. New Orleans entered the final week of the 2010 season with a chance to win the NFC South and a bye.…

The Fifth Down: Fouts Held Record Before Marino and Brees

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old N.F.L. record for passing yards in a season. Marino had surpassed the mark set only three years before, by Dan Fouts.

Jon Gruden is conspicuously quiet about his plans for 2012

During Monday night’s game between the Falcons and Saints, as we were watching and waiting for Drew Brees to surpass Dan Marino’s all-time single-season passing yardage record, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune dropped a bomb. Acee reported that Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden has decided to return to coaching in 2012, and…

Panthers can play spoiler role

The New Orleans Saints have already clinched a playoff spot and at least one postseason home game and they're on pace to set the all-time total offense record Sunday if they can gain 219 yards, breaking the record set by the 2000 St. Louis Rams.

Please, Let The Saints And Packers Play Again

Power rankings. You hate them. They’re so arbitrary and pointless, especially when they include all 32 NFL teams. All you want to know after a good week of NFL action is who the bestest team in the NFL right now, and which one is the absolute barrel-scraping worst. That’s why we have TOP AND BOTTOM OF THE NFL, where we go to great lengths to tell you who’s the top dog in...
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