Falcons vs. Saints recap: Atlanta wins slugfest 23-13, Brees throws five picks

In what has become a running theme all season long, the Atlanta Falcons won ugly tonight, but its defense most certainly came to play.

Drew Brees, though he completed 28 passes for 341 yards, also threw five interceptions and was kept out of the end zone for the first time since 2009.

William Moore claimed two of those picks as his own, and despite some spotty coverage, his 11 tackles and two pass deflections make for a very impressive night.

The same goes for the rest of the secondary, who all stepped up in Asante Samuel's absence and forced Brees to accomplish the only five interception game of his entire career. Credit Mike Nolan with some brilliant scheming.

The defensive line, specifically John Abraham and Kroy Biermann, did an admirable job as well. Though Brees only took one sack, he was feeling the pressure all night from Atlanta's two ends.

And though Matt Ryan was very pedestrian, completing 18 of his 33 passes for just 165 yards and a touchdown, he did just enough to keep the Falcons ahead and allow the defense to shine. Matt Bryant, three for three on field goal attempts after a rough game against Tampa last week, also came through in the clutch.

The Falcons won, but still frustrated. This is because the Falcons had the chance to capitalize early and pull far ahead of the Saints. The running game appeared to be working (124 yards rushing still beat the season average by a margin of 36) and the defense was phenomenal.

But Atlanta fans will just have to be content with 11-1, imperfect but eleven wins all the same.

Of course, any win over the Saints - eggs or not - is made so much sweeter by nature of this wonderful rivalry.

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