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Falcons 21, Saints 31: Atlanta doomed by turnovers, sloppy play

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The Falcons fall to 5-1, losing their first game of the season to the hated Saints. This is an open thread.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Records never matter when the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints square off, and Thursday night's game proved that.

New Orleans improved to 19-2 in its last 21 primetime home games, capitalizing on an Atlanta team that was hell-bent on shooting itself in the foot repeatedly.

Matt Ryan was harassed constantly by a rejuvenated Cameron Jordan and the Falcons had no answer for 34-year-old tight end Benjamin Watson.

It was the first time this season Atlanta was trailing in the fourth quarter and failed to pull out the win.

Let's see how the game unfolded.

First Quarter

The Saints had possession to start the game and proceeded to march 80 yards in 12 plays to take the early lead. Mark Ingram capped the drive off with a hard-fought two-yard touchdown.

The Falcons drove to New Orleans' 34, but a botched handoff on fourth down killed the drive. The Saints took over at the 39 yard line but went three and out after picking up seven yards.

It was 2006 all over again on Atlanta's next drive. Matt Bosher's punt was blocked and recovered by Michael Mauti for a touchdown, giving the Saints a 14-0 lead. New Orleans would take that two-score lead into the second quarter.

Second Quarter

Roddy White caught his first touchdown of the season on the third play of the second quarter. The seven-yard touchdown reception finished off a nine-play, 80-yard drive that began in the first quarter.

After the defense held New Orleans' offense on the following possession, Atlanta looked to be putting together a promising drive. But Tevin Coleman fumbled deep in Saints territory, and Brandon Browner recovered at the nine yard line.

The Falcons weren't done fumbling in Saints territory.

Atlanta forced a New Orleans three and out and moved the ball at will on the following drive. On third down at the Saints' 14 yard line, James Stone's snap didn't quite get to Ryan, and Dannell Ellerbe recovered the ball at the 17.

Zach Hocker missed a field goal from 51 yards away, and miraculously, the Falcons went into halftime down just 7-14.

Third Quarter

Atlanta's offense had possession first in the second half, but do nothing.

The Saints put together a scoring drive that was capped off with a 31-yard field goal.

The Falcons went three and out, and the Saints started to pull away after a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to Ben Watson on fourth down.

New Orleans had a 24-7 lead heading into the final quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Devonta Freeman cut the lead to 10 after a 25-yard rushing touchdown, but Drew Brees led the Saints right back down the field and it became a 17-point game once again.

Freeman added another touchdown — this time, a 13-yard reception — but the game was all but over then.

The Falcons got the ball back with :24 seconds left and down 31-21, but Jordan strip-sacked Ryan and recovered to put an exclamation mark on the game.

Thoughts on the game?