If the game didn't look that ugly in person, then the sight of that final box score sure made up for it. All night long, the Falcons defense simply did not have any sort of answer for the Saints for most of the night, and when the Falcons often were beating themselves with penalties.
At one point the Falcons, only down 31-16 with the ball in their hands at the start of the fourth, looked at least poised to narrow the point deficit. But on first down Julio Jones was stripped of the football, and corner Malcolm Jenkins took it back 31 yards for the score, effectively closing the door on Atlanta.
While Brees certainly got his yards and touchdowns (and two interceptions) throughout the course of the game, it was perhaps a surprisingly effective Saints running game that became the difference. On offense, some of the same inconsistencies at the beginning of the season (penalties, dropped passes, lapses in pass protection) also reared their ugly heads again.
And Michael Turner? He was nowhere to be found, managing only 39 yards on 11 carries all game. Matt Ryan was impressive, completing 34-of-52 for 373 yards and a touchdown, but too many other issues (read: defense) and drives stalling in the red zone (read: no running game) kept the point total down.
Any way you look at it, the Saints were the better team tonight, and have now wrapped up the NFC South crown and are guaranteed at least the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The Falcons will now need a win and a Lions loss next week to grab the more favorable No. 5 seed in the postseason as they drop to 9-6 on the year.
Oh yeah, Drew Brees broke some sort of record tonight. Maybe you heard that mentioned once or twice.