ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 13: Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints gets set to leap over Thomas DeCoud #28 of the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on November 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
That's no way to lose a football game.
The Falcons shot themselves in the foot all day. You can point to the lame refs, good performances by the Saints and the position of the stars, but ultimately, the Falcons did a lot of it to themselves. They were undisciplined and played poorly, with Harry Douglas and Roddy White dropping passes, the defense leaving guys wide open on multiple occasions and some baffling decision-making by Eric Weems.
It isn't going to get the job done against a team as good as the Saints, especially if you're getting nailed with ticky tack penalties all day long. They did exceptional things to get to halftime, which should be noted. But in the end, a lack of execution and poor play calling did them in again.
The Falcons are now 5-4 and a full game behind the Saints in the race for the NFC South, and will have to beat them at home now to really stand a chance of catching up. It's not insurmountable, but it's another blow to the Falcons in a wildly inconsistent season.
Discuss the game and the slate of late games here. Plenty of anguished recaps tomorrow, I assure you.