Friday, November 30, 2012

Week 13: Who Dat?! New Orleans Saints at the Atlanta Falcons

Saints fans call themselves "Who Dat Nation". After last night's rematch against the Atlanta Falcons they might want to change their name to "What Happened Nation". You may remember that just a few short weeks ago, the embattled New Orleans Saints handed the Falcons their first loss of the season. A win made much sweeter by the fact that these 2 NFC South rivals HATE each other. The Falcons are in a comfortable position to make it to the playoffs being tied for the best record in the NFL with the Houston Texans. But Drew Brees and the Saints needed this win to even stay part of the Post Season conversation. To say that Brees blew it would be an understatement as well as a clever play on words and the Falcons walked away with a BIG 13-23 win. Here are the highlights...or lo-lights whichever you prefer.
I can't help but love New Orleans and all their weird ways
- The Saints should have known that things were not going to go well for them on Thursday night when they landed at the Atlanta airport and their team bus was egged. Seriously, Atlanta...what are you 12 years old?

- The first drive started off with the Falcons scoring a quick took them just about 4 minutes to put 7 points on the board after an impressive drive led by running back, Michael Turner, who had 83 yards rushing and the opening touchdown. Drew Brees had his chance on the next drive and it looked like he was going to turn nothing into something when he threw a 38 yard bomb for a big 3rd down conversion. But on the very next play, he threw his first of 5 interceptions of the night. I feel like I need to say that again. DREW BREES THREW 5 INTERCEPTIONS LAST NIGHT! Not only was that a career high for him (i would hope so) but last night's game also ended Drew Brees' streak of 54 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, an NFL record that he set earlier this season.

- Despite the interceptions, the Saints had multiple chances to win this game. I mean, they only lost by 10 despite giving the ball back to the Falcons like it was a bomb or something. At the end of the second quarter the Saints drove to the red zone but were unable to put ANY points on the board when Brees had an incomplete pass to Sproles with 12 seconds remaining and did not have enough time to get the last play off before time ran out. The usually reliable, wide receiver, Lance Moore, also dropped a ball in the endzone during the 3rd quarter.

- The 3rd quarter actually looked like it belonged to the Saints. The Falcons had yet to convert a third down the entire game and with less than 4 minutes left in the game, they had gone 5 consecutive possessions without a 1st down. At this point in the game the Saints had run 58 offensive plays, wearing out the Falcons' defense. "Impress Him" Fact: The average number of plays run by an offense in a football game is around 63, which is why the Falcons defense was understandably worn out. But at the end of the 3rd quarter Brees threw his 3rd interception of the night and the Saints never quite reclaimed the momentum.

- There was one glimmer of hope towards the end of the 4th quarter. Michael Turner fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Saints and even run down for a touchdown. But the touchdown was called back because the refs said there was contact made with the runner, but it was still Saints ball. "Impress Him" Fact: In the NFL a runner has to be "down by contact" to be considered down. Which means that unlike in college football, if a player gets possession of the ball and falls down but is not touched by an opposing player, the play is still alive and he is allowed to get up and continue forward progress. After recovering the fumble, the Saints still had a chance, that is before Drew Brees threw his 5th interception. Oh wait! the Falcons were offsides, the interception doesn't count, it's still Saints ball, they have another chance! Or Drew Brees can now throw his 5th official interception of the night.

- You'll notice that I have not even mentioned Matt Ryan yet. That's because the Falcons owe this win to their defense. For as well as they played on defense they did little on offense after the first quarter. Matt Ryan completed just 18 of 33 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown pass. But as Matty Ice (yes, that is seriously his nickname) has said all season, it doesn't have to be a pretty win, just a win, and the Falcons go on to an 11-1 record.
Matty Ice with some Natty Ice...get it. 
What a game to kick off Week 13! The next 3 weeks will be filled with teams trying to claw their way into the playoffs and then it starts all over again. Let me know what you think on Twitter @gridiron4girls or on my Facebook Page. Happy Friday!!

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