If I had told you the Falcons would get into a shootout with the Saints, you would have expected them to win the game. They did not.
As Bill Barnwell noted on Twitter a few minutes before I wrote this, the Falcons performed about as well as they have all season. They came within a couple of narrowly missed passes and a poor Michael Turner run from winning the game. It was a good game all the way around, and the Saints simply outplayed the Falcons.
Unfortunately, the Saints blew the lid off the way the Falcons have survived all season long: By winning close games. It's not sustainable forever for the Falcons to pull off games within six points, especially against a quality team (yes, that pains me to say) like the Saints. If you can't take advantage of the worst defense in the league and come up with enough stops to hold Drew Brees and his team under 30, you're going to lose football games. The Falcons couldn't get it done.
Everything from the offensive line to the secondary needs work this week as the Falcons prepare for the Cardinals. I'm hoping that this loss will be an eye opener for the Falcons, and that ending up at 8-1 will be all the motivation the Falcons need to get back to winning.
Talk about the aftermath of the game here, and use this as your late game thread.