When the New Orleans Saints voyaged to the Eastern time zone a month ago to stare down the Atlanta Falcons, the home team proved to be the master of the ceremonies. Today, the Falcons were over in the Saints’ playground aiming to capture another victory. Broadcast on Fox, the first quarter started with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throwing an interception. Saints cornerback Jason David plucked the ball right out of the air as it was traveling towards Falcons wide receiver Roddy White. Saints running back Reggie Bush made a touchdown a couple plays later. New Orleans 7 and Atlanta 0.
The second quarter started with Saints quarterback Drew Brees throwing to wide receiver Marques Colston. The ball ended up in the hands of Falcons cornerback Chevis Jackson, but it hit the ground. Thus, incomplete pass. The Saints shot up a field goal at the end of that possessio. New Orleans 10 and Falcons 0. The first play of Atlanta’s next possession was a fifty-nine yard pass to Roddy White. Spectacularly projected and cradled. The end of that drive led to a touchdown, courtesy of running back Michael Turner. The Saints flung up another field goal (of forty-six yards) not long after the Falcons got on the board. New Orleans 13 and Atlanta 7. Towards the bottom of the second quarter, Matt Ryan connected superbly with wide receivers Harry Douglas, Michael Jenkins, Roddy White, and finally Brian Finneran for a TD. Atlanta 14 and New Orleans 13. Going into halftime, though, the Saints reclaimed the lead with a field goal. New Orleans 16 and Atlanta 14.
The third quarter pulsed halfway through and Matt Ryan launched two awesome passes while under much pressure (once to Brian Finneran, who was flanked by two Saints, and a second time to Michael Jenkins). Edging towards the bottom of the third quarter, as that possession ended, Jason Elam’s field goal placed the Falcons back in the lead. Atlanta 17 and New Orleans 16.
The fourth quarter commenced with a Saints touchdown by running back Pierre Thomas. They would attempt a two-point conversion but it was not successful. New Orleans 21 and Atlanta 17. On the Falcons’ next possession, Matt Ryan ran twelve yards into the end zone himself for a touchdown. A two-point conversion was tried and it worked (Michael Jenkins caught the ball). Atlanta 25 and New Orleans 22. The Saints responded with a zippy kickoff-return and a drive that culminated in a Pierre Thomas TD. Saints 29 and Atlanta 25. Final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Two of the pre-game segments were a vignette on the Falcons and a getting-to-know Roddy White sequence. White was also featured on 11alive’s (my local NBC station) Falcons Face to Face last night. It’s taped at the ESPN Zone in Buckhead and is hosted by Fred Kalil, one of 11alive’s sports reporters. Roddy White was born in November of 1981. I’m older than him by nearly a year. He’s adorable. His off-field, onscreen persona is remarkably different from his on-field, onscreen persona.
3. Jason David made that interception in the first quarter, was then brought to the ground by Roddy White, and then proceeded to do the Carlton Dance upon standing up.
4. Before cutting to commercial after the second quarter ended, one of the Fox cameras got a shot of a Saints fan dressed up as the Joker a la Heath Ledger. Only, his jacket was chartreuse. In fact, the fan bore a strong resemblance to actor Crispin Glover.
5. Falcons defensive end John Abraham has Chinese character tattoos in his left bicep. I can’t make out what they are, though, from the camera angle that revealed them (in the top of the fourth quarter after Falcons cornerback Dominique Foxworth got a penalty for illegal contact).
6. Falcons owner Arthur Blank got a medium close-up after Atlanta lost the forward progress challenge in the fourth quarter. His face could be read as blank–ha! pun–or stoic.
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.