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              === Saints knock off previously unbeaten Falcons ===
 
 New  Orleans, LA  (Sports Network)  - New  Orleans hasn't  done much  right on
 defense  this season,  but they stopped Atlanta twice in the final few minutes
 of Sunday's game to shock the previously unbeaten Falcons, 31-27.
 
 Trailing  by four, 31-27, Matt Ryan led the Falcons down to the New Orleans 1-
 yard line with two minutes to play. The Saints, however, did not break as they
 held strong over the next four plays to keep Atlanta out of the end zone.
 
 The  Saints  were unable to run  the rest of  the clock out. Thus, the Falcons
 took  over at their own 31 with 37 seconds to go. Atlanta picked up nine yards
 on  first down.  Once again, New Orleans  stepped it up on defense to preserve
 the victory.
 
 "Big  win  for our football  team -- we  played a heck  of a team in Atlanta,"
 Saints  interim  coach Joe Vitt said.  "I can't say enough about our assistant
 coaches and the gameplan they put in this week."
 
 Drew  Brees  completed 21-of-32 passes for  298 yards, three touchdowns and an
 interception for the Saints (4-5), who have won two in a row.
 
 Chris  Ivory  carried the  ball seven  times for  72 yards  and a score, Jimmy
 Graham  caught seven  passes  for 146  yards and  two  touchdowns and  Marques
 Colston  hauled in  three passes for 26  yards and a score. Colston now has 55
 career  touchdowns  --  tying  him  with Deuce  McAllister  for  the  most  in
 Saints history.
 
 Ryan  connected on  24-of-52 passes  for 411  yards, three  touchdowns and  an
 interception  for the  Falcons (8-1), who fell to 29-1 when the Boston College
 product hits the century mark in passer rating.
 
 Tony Gonzalez caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two scores. The veteran tight
 end now has 101 career TD catches.
 
 "I  felt like  this was  a  very hard-fought  football  game in  terms of  the
 effort,"  Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "We made way too many mistakes in all
 three phases."
 
 The  Falcons got the ball to start the game and put together a 7-play, 80-yard
 scoring  drive.  After making an  11-yard reception on 3rd-and-10, Roddy White
 hauled in a 49-yard pass along the right sideline. Ryan then threw a 1-yard TD
 pass to offensive lineman Mike Johnson.
 
 New Orleans' first offensive series did not go according to plan. On the first
 play,  Asante Samuel  made a diving interception. Atlanta started at the 27 of
 the  Saints following  Samuel's unsportsmanlike  conduct penalty.  Matt Bryant
 made a 37-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 9:19 remaining.
 
 The  scoring continued  on  the  ensuing possession.  Ivory  juked and  weaved
 through Atlanta's defense en route to a 56-yard touchdown.
 
 The  Saints started  at  their own  10-yard  line following  a  punt from  the
 Falcons.  New Orleans used a mix of run and pass plays to move the ball to the
 Atlanta  29-yard line.  From  there, Brees  hooked up  with  Graham to  extend
 his  NFL  record of consecutive  games with a touchdown  pass to 52. The score
 gave the home team a 14-10 lead with 13:33 left until half.
 
 But  the Falcons responded with an impressive 14-play, 80-yard drive. Gonzalez
 made four catches during the march, including a 2-yard TD catch.
 
 The  back-and-forth battle  continued as the Saints took the lead back with 34
 seconds  to go. Graham  caught passes of 18 and 15 yards before catching a 14-
 yard TD pass, making it a 21-17 contest.
 
 New  Orleans carried the momentum into the second half. Corey White picked off
 Ryan  at the 19  of the Saints. Lance Moore made a one-handed catch for a gain
 of  29 yards, which helped set up a Colston touchdown. Colston caught the ball
 at  the 2-yard  line, fought off a  defender and stretched the ball across the
 goal line.
 
 Atlanta  bridged the  third and fourth periods with an 11-play, 91-yard drive.
 Harry  Douglas  and  Jacquizz  Rodgers  caught passes  of  23  and  15  yards,
 respectively  to  move the ball  to the New Orleans  six. Ryan followed with a
 perfect pass to Gonzalez in the middle of the end zone.
 
 Following  a punt from the Saints, Julio Jones caught a 52-yard pass along the
 right  sideline. The Falcons  got to the 2-yard line before settling for a 20-
 yard Bryant field goal, which cut the gap to 28-27 with 9:08 to go.
 
 Garrett  Hartley responded  with a 31-yard field goal to make it 31-27. Graham
 caught a 46-yard pass down the left sideline to help set up the field goal.
 
 Atlanta  started its ensuing  drive from its own 20 with less than six minutes
 to  go. Rodgers  caught a 14-yard pass  on 3rd-and-3 for a fresh set of downs.
 Gonzalez  added a 17-yard catch later in the drive to move the ball to the New
 Orleans  28. Rodgers'  18-yard run and Douglas' 9-yard catch moved the ball to
 the one with two minutes to play.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 The  Falcons  lead the  all-time series  between the two  clubs 45-41, but the
 Saints  have  taken 11 of  the past  13 ... Brees  is 11-2 against the Falcons
 since  joining the Saints in 2006 ... New Orleans has won 13 straight games in
 the month of November ... White caught seven passes for 114 yards ... Ryan had
 a passer rating of 100.7.
 
 11/11 19:12:47 ET

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