The Atlanta Falcons headed to the Marcedes-Benz Superdome with the hopes of knocking off the New Orleans Saints and keeping their hopes of winning the NFC South alive. What the Falcons got however, was a 45-16 beat down by the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for 307 yards and four touchdown passes, breaking Dan Marino's single-season passing record.
The matchup between the Saints and the Falcons was much different than their meeting earlier in the year, which the Falcons lost in overtime. The game was billed as a potential playoff matchup, and if that's the case, the Falcons can only hope their next game goes nothing like Monday's. Early on it looked like it was going to be a shootout, but the Saints' defense eventually buckled down, limiting the Falcons' offense to just two field goals in the final three quarters after giving up 10 points in the first quarter.
Quarterback Matt Ryan ended the night with nearly 400 passing yards and a touchdown, but the Falcons' inability to run the ball led to stalled drives and field goal tries. Running back Michael Turner had just 11 carries, and he was limited to only 39 yards while the Falcons played catchup. Turner's longest run of the night went for just seven yards.
The Falcons' defense was shredded by New Orleans. Brees seemingly did what ever he wanted all game long, despite his two interceptions. One came trying to hit tight end Jimmy Graham in the end zone, and the other came on a deep pass to wide receiver Devery Henderson, and both interceptions came when the ball was tipped in the air. The Saints did work on the ground, as well, picking up 155 rushing yards between Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles, and Pierre Thomas, none of which carried the ball more than nine times and all averaging at least 4.4 yards per carry.
With the victory, the Saints clinched the NFC South division for the third time in the past six seasons.