Atlanta Falcons: Key moments that led to Saints loss


NFL coaches often talk about a few plays changing the outcome of a game. Unfortunately for the Atlanta Falcons, all of those plays were plays made by the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.

Blocked punt

The Falcons were already down 7-0 when Michael Mauti came storming through the middle barely touched by Eric Weems to easily block Matt Bosher’s punt. He was then able to locate the ball and run it into the end zone to put the Saints ahead 14-0.

Former Saint Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS, was in the building and he clearly enjoyed the moment. Gleason of course blocked a punt against the Falcons in 2006 which is a memorable moment for Saints fans because it was their first game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina damage to the city.

Saints stop Falcons on fourth down

The Falcons went for it on fourth down in Saints territory in the first quarter as they tried to get the offense going but once again the Saints found a way to end the drive. Matt Ryan and fullback Patrick DiMarco ran into each other causing Ryan to drop the ball. Devonta Freeman never got the opportunity to run get the one yard needed for a first down to keep the drive going.

Tevin Coleman fumble

The Falcons had some costly turnovers and perhaps Tevin Coleman’s fumble in the second quarter was the biggest. Atlanta was driving to tie the game when Coleman fumbled in the red zone. The Saints recovered and ended the scoring opportunity.

James Stone fumble

One again the Falcons were driving at the end of the second quarter to try to tie the game up, however James Stone’s snap never got back to quarterback Matt Ryan. It appeared Stone may have thought Ryan was under center because he didn’t immediately realize he had made a costly mistake.

Ben Watson

Saints tight end Ben Watson destroyed the middle of the Falcons defense. To Falcons fans it seemed as if Jimmy Graham had never left. These articles are usually reserved for game changing plays, so I will just roll all 10 of Watson’s catches into one. He was the engine for the Saints offense and the Falcons had no answer.

The Saints made the plays that determined the outcome of the game Thursday night. Dan Quinn preaches the team needs to win the turnover battle, they did not do that and therefore they came out on the wrong end of a 31-21 defeat to the Saints.

Next: Falcons report card after Saints loss

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