Apparently mimicking the Falcons, the Saints' second possession of the game also resulted in a three-and-out. After the defense forced a third-and-eight, a wide open Jimmy Graham again dropped an intended pass, forcing New Orleans to punt. The Atlanta defense has played well, but they'll certainly take any mistake they can get as well.
On offense, the Falcons found some more success, but again a great drive just couldn't produce a touchdown. Running the no-huddle and taking advantage of some good field position, Ryan was much more effective. He found Roddy White on a 17-yard gain, and found Julio Jones for a six-yard gain on a big third-down. Jacquizz Rodgers even got into the action, picking up 14 rushing yards on the drive.
But on third down at the Saints' 10, Jabari Greer was just able to knock the ball out of Julio's hands on what would have surely been a touchdown. Instead, the Falcons would again settle for a field goal to pull ahead 6-3. Not bad, but certainly not enough when you're playing a Saints-caliber offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Falcons continued to give Drew Brees all sorts of time, but the coverage in the secondary- especially on third down- has made up for it all game. Though Brees has been able to find the open receiver at times, there really haven't been any big plays all game long. It's boring, sure. But for the Falcons, this is exactly the sort of game they want to keep playing.
After another Falcons' possession produced nothing on offense, Jimmy Graham basically took over the entire game by himself. Starting at midfield after another good return by Sproles, Brees completed two passes- both to Graham- for 50 yards and a score. I'm not exactly sure who was supposed to cover Graham, but I do know he was wide-open by at least a mile on both plays. The coverage inexplicably went from amazing to terrible in the span of two minutes.
Later in the quarter after a few possession changes, the Falcons began their drive with just over one minute left. More importantly, they began on their own one-yard line because Eric Weems yet again allowed a punt to roll instead of calling for the fair catch.
Despite all of this, despite Ryan not playing his best game, he really came through in the clutch. After a nice run by Turner got the Falcons a little breathing room, Ryan found Harry Douglas over the middle for a 46-yard gain into Saints territory. That would bring the Falcons into Matt Bryant field goal range, but he would miss his first kick of the year from 41 yards out. Entering the half, that would preserve the Saints 10-6 lead in this ball game.
For more on Sunday's game, check out The Falcoholic, SB Nation's Atlanta Falcons blog, and Canal Street Chronicles, SB Nation's New Orleans Saints blog.