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3 Falcons up, 3 Falcons down in Week 3 loss to Saints

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Blast!

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons came up short Sunday, falling 43-37 in overtime to the New Orleans Saints.

Who’s up and who’s down in the loss?

Up

Matt Ryan

Ryan was masterful against the Saints. He threw for 374 yards, a career-high five touchdowns, and no interceptions on 26 of 35 passing. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough. His 148.1 passer rating was the highest rating a quarterback has posted in a loss. Would you expect differently from the Falcons?

Calvin Ridley

The rookie didn’t have a catch in Week 1’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles and suddenly he’s catching three touchdowns in a single game. Ridley screwed Saints cornerback P.J. Williams into the ground on his first score from 18-yards out. Then, he ran past Williams for a 75-yard touchdown. He completed the hat trick with a nine-yard score early in the third quarter. Welcome to the NFL, Ridley.

Steve Sarkisian

The Falcons are perfect (8/8) in the red zone over the past two games. Give credit to Sarkisian for that efficiency after the Week 1 blunder. Perhaps he should’ve called fewer tosses against the Saints, but at least he and Ryan appear to have some sort of connection.

Down

Take

It was clear the Falcons defense would offer virtually no resistance from the first possession of the game. Drew Brees marched the Saints right down the field on an effortless six-play, 75-yard drive. The lack of resistance came to a culmination when Brian Poole and Robert Alford had Brees dead to rights but the Saints quarterback spun away and scored on a seven-yard touchdown run that would force overtime. Yikes.

Your

The football gods hate the Falcons and there’s no doubt about it. Injuries have dismantled the defense, with Ricardo Allen the latest defender set to miss the rest of the season. Adam Caplan, who proudly declared the Falcons as the healthiest team in the league in a now-deleted tweet, certainly deserves some of the blame for the jinx. He’s probably already blocked you, though.

Pick

The offense was weirdly conservative on its final drive before half time. With 1:36 left and a couple of timeouts, the Falcons had an opportunity to put more points on the board before the half. Instead, two rushes and an incomplete pass later, the Saints got the ball back with :40 left and promptly drove down the field for a field goal and a 16-14 lead. It didn’t make much sense when you consider the Falcons were moving the ball at will up until that point.

What’s your take?