Saints Comeback Bid Falls Short, Lose 27-25 to Falcons
The New Orleans Saints attempted a furious fourth-quarter comeback against the Atlanta Falcons but lost 27-25 on a game-winning field goal.
With the loss, the Saints fell to 5-3 this season. They are 1-2 in NFC South play.
The Falcons 34-yard completion on their opening drive was an outlier, and the Saints defense held Atlanta to a punt to start the game.
New Orleans started their first possession at their own nine, and running back Mark Ingram got going early with 29 yards on three carries. However, two drops ruined the drive and the Saints had to punt.
Atlanta scored first with a 32-yard field goal after a 39-yard completion and a third down conversion got them into great scoring position.
The Saints continued flexing their rushing attack, gaining 38 yards on the ground in their first five plays of the next drive. On third-and-four in Falcons territory, starting quarterback Trevor Siemian completed a nine-yard pass to wide receiver Deonte Harris for a first down. However, back-to-back holding and false start penalties put New Orleans at first-and-25 and ruined the possession. The Saints punted again.
This time, the New Orleans defense forced a three-and-out to give their offense another chance. On fourth-and-three at the Falcons 36, tight end Adam Trautman dropped what would have been a first down completion and the Saints turned the ball over on downs.
The Falcons decided to go for it on fourth-and-inches at their own 44, but linebacker Pete Werner stuffed Atlanta running back Mike Davis for a loss and a turnover on downs.
However, for the third time in the first half, the Saints offense punted.
Atlanta converted three third downs on an extended 15-play, 92-yard touchdown drive to extend the lead to 10-0 with six seconds left in the first half.
The Falcons only had 32 rushing yards on 15 attempts in the first half, but quarterback Matt Ryan completed 15 of his 20 passing attempts for 178 yards and a touchdown. The Saints rushing attack was effective, averaging 5.9 yards per carry, but five drops by the receivers were a huge issue.
The Falcons were 5/9 on third downs in the first half while New Orleans was only 1/5.
After only going 5/11 for 34 yards in the first half, Siemian completed four of his seven attempts for 51 yards during the opening drive of the third quarter. However, a pass to the end zone fell incomplete. The Saints broke their scoreless streak with a 35-yard field goal by kicker Brian Johnson.
Ryan gained 77 yards for Atlanta over three completions on the Falcons opening drive of the second half, and a one-yard rushing touchdown by the quarterback made it 17-3 midway through the third.
A 42-yard run by Alvin Kamara was wiped out by a holding penalty. On fourth-and-one, Taysom Hill lined up as quarterback and got the Falcons defensive line to jump offsides.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, an incompletion on fourth-and-eight ended a drive in a 52-yard field goal by Johnson. It cut the lead to 17-6.
The Saints defense forced a quick punt to give the offense another chance to cut further into the lead. Hill came in for Siemian and threw two completions for 33 yards. However, a sack caused Siemian to fumble, and the Falcons returned it to the Saints six yard-line. All momentum that was gained was immediately lost in one play.
On the next play, Ryan threw another touchdown and the lead stretched to 24-6.
Siemian came back and led the offense down the field for their first touchdown drive of the day midway through the fourth quarter. This time, he connected with wide receiver Marquez Callaway for a five-yard touchdown.
The Saints defense forced a three-and-out immediately after the touchdown, and with under six minutes remaining, the Saints offense was given another chance.
Atlanta was penalized for a personal foul on the kickoff, and a pass interference on the first play of the next drive set the Saints up at Atlanta's 27 yard-line. On third-and-10, a roughing-the-passer penalty put New Orleans in the red zone.
Kamara ran in for a two-yard touchdown to cap off the Saints second consecutive touchdown drive. The two-point conversion was no good, so New Orleans trailed 24-19 with under five minutes remaining.
Saints defensive end Cam Jordan wrecked Atlanta's next possession with a huge sack on second down. The Falcons were faced with a third-and-22, and Ryan was sacked again by Marcus Davenport. The Falcons punted with three minutes left in the game.
A 26-yard punt return by Harris get the Saints into Falcons territory, and, on the first play, Siemian hit Kenny Stills for a 22-yard completion. Siemian then hit Stills for an 11-yard touchdown.
It was their third touchdown in seven minutes of game time. The Saints scored 22 unanswered to take their first lead of the game with one minute left, but the failed two-point conversions left the door open for a game-winning field goal drive.
A 64-yard completion on the first play got the Falcons into the red zone. As time expired, they hit a game-winning 27-yard field goal and won 27-25.
Up next, the Saints travel to play the Tennessee Titans on November 14 at 12:00 p.m.