New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons 11/21/13 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: New Orleans Saints 17, Atlanta Falcons 13
November 21, 2013
Kicking off Week 12 in the NFL on “Thursday Night Football” were the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons in a game that looked a lot more appealing at the beginning of the season. The Saints came into Atlanta fresh off a close--and much-debated--victory over the 49ers in Week 11. The Falcons, meanwhile, were just looking for anything positive to salvage from their supreme letdown of a season. They came close to getting it, but ultimately fell short.
Let’s take a closer look at the key players and stats from the game, so that we can figure out exactly why things went the way they did. Afterward, we’ll glance forward to Week 13 so we can see what’s in store for both teams.
What Happened: Most people (us included) figured this would be a one-sided blowout in favor of the Saints, but it ended up being much closer than just about anybody anticipated. Atlanta struck first, putting together an impressive drive that ended in a Steven Jackson touchdown. New Orleans came right back near the end of the first quarter, however, with a 1-yard Drew Brees pass to Benjamin Watson. In the second, the Saints were the only team able to find the end zone, posting another Brees TD pass (this one to Jimmy Graham) book-ended by a pair of Falcons field goals. The score was 14-13 in favor of New Orleans at the break.
Both defenses clamped down after halftime. New Orleans mustered a field goal in the third, but that would be the last of the scoring. The Falcons put together a nice drive near the end of regulation, driving inside the Saints’ 30, but couldn’t finish it off. The Saints would take it 17-13.
The win brings New Orleans to 9-2 while Atlanta falls to 2-9 for a guaranteed losing season, and is officially eliminated from divisional contention.
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
The Stars: The Saints offense has won many games for them, but this time it was the defense’s turn. They tightened up after the first-quarter touchdown, allowing the Falcons to do no better than sniff the end zone for the rest of the game. They posted five sacks, 10 QB hits and a fumble recovery. Brees had a solid--if unspectacular--game, with 278 yards and two touchdowns. His main target (no surprise here) was Jimmy Graham, who tallied 100 yards and a score on five grabs.
We’ll also give some credit to Jackson on the other side. He put up 79 total yards and a score after struggling mightily for much of the season.
The Goats: We could pick on the Atlanta offense here, but that’s really not a fair assessment. They’ve been decimated by injuries this season and are a shell of what they should be. Rookie receiver Darius Johnson does deserve a mention, however, as he lost a crucial fourth-quarter fumble deep in Saints territory.
Injuries: Dynamic Saints RB Darren Sproles had to sit this one out; he’s dealing with knee and ankle issues. The lone new injury for the Saints was DL Glenn Foster, who left the game.
Atlanta avoided any new injuries, but were without DE Malliciah Goodman.
Outlook: In Week 13, the Falcons will foray into the AFC East, heading into Buffalo to take on the Bills (Sunday, December 1, 4:05 PM ET on FOX).
As for the Saints, they’ll get another primetime game. This one will be a pretty tough matchup, as they’ll have to deal with the Seahawks in Seattle (Monday, December 2, 8:40 PM ET on ESPN).
For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.