The Atlanta Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first half and their defense forced five turnovers in defeating the New Orleans Saints 23-13 on Thursday night. Atlanta used their running game to take an early lead as Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers would combine for five carries for 71 yards on the Falcons’ six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession of the game. The Saints would respond, moving down to the Falcons’ 37-yard line before Drew Brees was intercepted in the end zone by safety Thomas DeCoud. The Falcons would increase their lead early in the second quarter when Matt Ryan hit future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for a 17-yard touchdown. For Gonzalez, it was his seventh touchdown of the 2012 season and No. 102 of his 16-year career. Atlanta would add a 45-yard field goal midway through the second quarter after Brees threw a pass slightly behind running back Chris Ivory who knocked the ball into the air and the awaiting arms of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. New Orleans would respond, driving 80 yards in 11 plays before Mark Ingram would punch the ball into the end zone for one-yard out. The Saints had an opportunity to put even more points on the scoreboard before halftime, but an offensive pass interference penalty on tight end Jimmy Graham negated a seven-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Darren Sproles. Questionable time management in a sequence where Brees dumped a pair of passes off over the middle to Sproles resulted in the final 45 seconds running off the clock without the Saints putting any points on the scoreboard.
Most recent posts