With an NFC South title and pride on the line, the Falcons have traveled into Saints territory and gotten off to a good start in this big-time Monday Night matchup, one that we could see again in the playoffs.
On the first drive of the game, Matt Ryan and the offense were their usual efficient, methodical selves. The Falcons displayed a good mix of run and pass, but it was a quick-reaction shovel pass to Jason Snelling- good for a 16 yard gain- that would get the Falcons going in Saints territory.
A great play action pass to Roddy White for 20 more yards would put the Falcons into field goal range, where the drive would stall. Matt Bryant would hit his field goal and put Atlanta up 3-0.
On defense, the Falcons looked pretty shell-shocked on their first out on the field, and were surprisingly ineffective against the Saints ground game. Though Drew Brees hit Lance Moore on a big-time 38-yard passing play, it was Pierre Thomas who would punch it in for the touchdown, giving New Orleans a 7-3 edge. All in all, the Saints rushed for 50 yards on the opening drive.
But Ryan and the offense would bounce right back. The passing game would really pick it up, and Ryan would find rookie Julio Jones twice for 46 yards on the drive, including a 21-yard TD strike that now has Atlanta back in front 10-7. Brees and the Saints would respond right back with a touchdown of their own, finding Marques Colston in the end zone after driving down the field in hasty fashion.
If the Falcons can manage to win tonight, they'll still have a shot at the NFC South crown or at worst the No. 5 seed in the playoffs.
For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For the Saints, head over to Canal Street Chronicles.