Three Notable Opening Weekend Games for the Atlanta Falcons

To celebrate the opening weekend of the NFL, we look back at three of the most memorable opening weekend games in Atlanta Falcons history.
New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons / Al Messerschmidt/GettyImages
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September 7, 2014- Ryan and company light up the Saints for 568 yards

Fast forward six years to the day, and the next game that we will flash back to is one of the best offensive productions in Falcons history.

Since Drew Brees joined New Orleans in 2006, those wins were few and far between. Between 2006 and 2013, the Falcons were 3-13 when playing the Saints. It was a tough time for Atlanta.

Mike Smith and the Falcons were coming off a putrid 4-12 season and needed a spark to keep their head coach off the chopping block. On the other side, New Orleans was coming off of an 11-5 season where they were top-ten in both points scored and allowed.

On this September day, Ryan and Brees got into a legendary passing duel that ended with over 780+ combined passing yards between the two quarterbacks. In 2013, New Orleans' defense was sixth in EPA against the pass and second in drop-back success rate. Matt Ryan was second in EPA and fourth in success rate that game. Ryan went 31/43 for 448 yards and three touchdowns. Those 448 yards are still the most that the New Orleans Saints have ever given up through the air in one game.

Ryan was in peak form, getting everyone in the offense involved and making the defense cover everyone on the field. Four receivers ended up with 60+ yards, including Julio Jones' 116 yards on seven receptions. Ryan had nine different receivers catch a pass from him, with four of them pulling in five or more receptions.

The Falcons ended up winning this game 37-34 in overtime after safety William Moore caused a Marques Colston fumble on the first possession of overtime. A few plays later, "Money Matt" Bryant put the dagger in the chest of the Saints.