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Falcons vs. Saints update: Atlanta up 14-0 behind Michael Turner, defense

The Falcons came into tonight's game against the Saints with serious questions about their ability to run the football.

But so far, Atlanta has erased any doubts as to whether it could keep the ball on the ground against New Orleans' last-ranked rushing defense.

Averaging 88.3 rushing yards per game this season, the Falcons carried the ball five times for 71 yards on the first drive alone, and have 98 yards on eight carries in just one quarter of play.

Michael Turner got things started with a big 35-yard run to the right on the team's second offensive play of the game, and punched it across the goal line four plays later to give Atlanta an early 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Matt Ryan would make it a 14-0 advantage by hooking up with Tony Gonzalez on a 17-yard touchdown pass. Ryan was a perfect four-of-four passing for 50 yards on that scoring drive.

And though the offense has stalled at times, Atlanta's shutout of Drew Brees and the Saints offense has remained strong.

After Thomas DeCoud intercepted Brees in the end zone on New Orleans' first offensive possession, he has managed to complete just three passes for 55 yards.

Quality coverage despite missing Asante Samuel, who left early after re-injuring his shoulder, has been another huge factor in Atlanta's current 14-point advantage.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.