News

Saints shackle Falcons to maintain edge over Panthers

Saints shackle Falcons to maintain edge over Panthers

SAINTS SHACKLE FALCONS: New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Atlanta Falcons punter Matt Bosher (5) and place kicker Matt Bryant (3) react after a missed field goal late in the game during the second half. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – The New Orleans Saints ground out a vital 17-13 win over the struggling Atlanta Falcons on Thursday to maintain their division lead over a surging Carolina Panthers.

The Saints were far from their best in the road game but improved to 9-2 on the season with their third straight win while the Falcons slumped to 2-9 following a fifth consecutive loss.

After leading by a single point at halftime, a Garrett Hartley field goal supplied the only score of a grinding second half for the visitors.

Falcons wide receiver Darius Johnson fumbled early in the fourth quarter while in a scoring position, coughing up a key turnover in the home side’s quest for an upset victory.

New Orleans remains top of the NFC South division with the Panthers (7-3) in the midst of a six-game winning run and a game in hand against Miami on Sunday.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 23-of-33 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns while tight-end James Graham had a 100-yard receiving game from just five receptions.

“We knew what type of game it was going to be. I guess nine of our last 12 games with these guys have gone down to the last possession and it did again today,” Brees told reporters.

“They are a great football team despite what their record might say and we knew that.

“Obviously, any time you go on the road in your division it is hard to get a win so we battled on both sides of the ball, played very well, gritted it out and got the win.”

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed 30-of-39 passes for 297 yards but failed to throw for a score.

The home side showed plenty of intent from the outset, marching down the field in the opening drive with Steven Jackson capping it off with a one-yard touchdown run and an early 7-0 Falcons lead.

However, the Saints matched them by scoring on their opening drive, Benjamin Watson the beneficiary of a one-yard pass from Brees to tie it up at the end of the first quarter.

Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant gave his side a 10-7 lead with a 39-yard field goal before Brees found James Graham with a long bomb, and he took it to the end zone for a 44-yard score.

Another Bryant field goal as the half came to a close gave the visiting Saints a slender 14-13 halftime lead.

Hartley extended the advantage to 17-13 with a field goal early in the second half and the four-point margin held firm.

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos

WATCH: The ‘perfect’ body

22-overlay6

A blogger and personal trainer takes on the cyber bullies who criticize her appearance, altering herself in response to their comments. But does she like what she sees?

in Music

How PlayStation helped Marilyn Manson fight piracy

marilynmanson

The rocker shunned regular CDs in favor of the discs originally used for first generation video game console in 1994.

in Viral Videos

Nonsense karaoke with Chris Pratt and Jimmy Fallon

18-overlay5

The "Guardians of the Galaxy" star takes on the "Tonight Show" host in a battle of who can best butcher a song.

in Music, Weird

Judge rules Pink is appropriate for kids

pink

A judge rejected a complaint from a father who says his ex-wife abused her parental discretion by taking their daughter to a Pink concert.

in Weird

Cannibuster is the ‘breathalyzer’ for pot

pot

Two Ohio grad students have developed a device they say will detect pot use.