NFL Game Recap - New Orleans at Atlanta
Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:20 PM EST

CHI
24
DET
20
F
BUF
26
DAL
15
F
NO
26
ATL
18
F
CLE
13
PIT
20
F
GB
31
NYG
13
F
PHI
31
MIA
37
F
TB
28
JAX
11
F
SF
17
BAL
20
F
TEN
31
IND
17
F
NYJ
6
CIN
22
F
WAS
29
CAR
21
F
LAR
34
ARI
7
F
LAC
20
DEN
23
F
OAK
9
KC
40
F
NE
22
HOU
28
F
MIN
30
SEA
37
F

Nov 28, 2019, 8:20 PM EST

Final

1

2

3

4

T

New Orleans (10-2)

7

10

3

6

26

Atlanta (3-9)

0

9

0

9

18

Saints beat Falcons to clinch 3rd straight NFC South title
Fri Nov 29, 2019 1:35 AM

ATLANTA (AP) Taysom Hill’s rare moment in the spotlight came in an important game for the New Orleans Saints.

Hill blocked a punt to set up his 3-yard touchdown catch before scoring again on a 30-yard run, and the New Orleans Saints clinched their third straight NFC South title by beating the Atlanta Falcons 26-18 on Thursday night.

Hill stole the show on a roster filled with more established stars.

“When you have guys like Mike Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, the list goes on, it kind of creates opportunities for little old me because it creates so much attention that's put on those guys,” Hill said.

“Coach (Sean Payton) is one of the best at being creative and putting guys in positions to be successful. I got lucky because I was that guy tonight.”

The Saints (10-2) atoned for their 26-9 home loss to the Falcons on Nov. 10, their only defeat in the last 10 games.

With Julio Jones inactive due to a shoulder injury, the Falcons had too little offense to keep pace with Drew Brees and the Saints. Atlanta recovered two onside kicks in the closing minutes, including one with 1:54 remaining, to make things interesting.

Matt Ryan was sacked by Cameron Jordan on a fourth-down play from the New Orleans 44 with 38 seconds remaining. Ryan was sacked nine times, including four by Jordan.

“We had to drop back and pass at the end of the game,” Ryan said. “When you do that and there’s really no threat of run, it’s tough sledding, particularly when you’re going against a good defense, a very good defensive line and one of the better pass rushers in the game in Cam Jordan.”

The versatile Hill blocked Ryan Allen’s punt to end Atlanta’s first possession. The Saints took over at the Falcons 30, and four plays later Hill scored his first touchdown on a short pass from Brees.

Hill took a direct snap and ran 30 yards for his first rushing touchdown of the season to give New Orleans a 17-6 lead late in the first half.

“If I can step on the field eight to 10 to 15 times, whatever that number is, my goal is to add a spark whenever I can,” Hill said. “I love to be able to go in and add some energy.”

The disappointing Falcons (3-9) solidified their hold on last place in the division with their second straight home loss.

Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman returned after missing two games with a foot sprain. Freeman ran for 51 yards on 17 carries.

Ryan committed three second-half turnovers - two interceptions and a lost fumble. Saints nose tackle Shy Tuttle and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson had interceptions.

Ryan fumbled in the fourth quarter when hit by Marcus Davenport. Vonn Bell’s recovery set up Will Lutz’s fourth field goal, from 45 yards.

Eli Apple’s 22-yard pass-interference penalty helped extend an Atlanta drive that ended with a fourth-down incompletion from the Saints 2.

Apple drew another pass interference call, this one a 35-yarder, and on the next play Ryan found tight end Jaeden Graham for an 18-yard touchdown pass that cut the Saints’ lead to 7-6, following Younghoe Koo’s missed extra point.

Koo also missed a 42-yard field goal before making a 45-yarder with 3 seconds remaining in the first half. Koo was good from 43 yards late in the game.

INJURIES

Saints: Kiko Alonso left the game with a thigh injury. ... The offensive line remained short-handed as left tackle Terron Armstead was inactive after leaving last week’s win over Carolina with an ankle injury. Left guard Andrus Peat missed his third straight game since breaking his arm against Atlanta on Nov. 10.

Falcons: Left guard James Carpenter left the game with a concussion in the first half. Jamon Brown, who lost his starting job at right guard to Wes Schweitzer, returned to the game following Carpenter’s injury. ... Backup offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo injured his hamstring.

BIGGER GOALS

Hill and many teammates wore T-shirts after the game that read “The South Is Not Enough.” Clearly, the Saints’ goals extend beyond the division crown. “We've got bigger fish to fry, so to speak,” Brees said. “We've got a list of goals and objectives and want to knock them down, one by one.”

NEXT UP

With Jones missing a game for the first time since 2016, and Atlanta tight ends Austin Hooper and Luke Stocker held out with injuries, Ryan had to look for new targets. He threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Russell Gage with less than four minutes remaining. Christian Blake had six catches for 57 yards.

UP NEXT

The Saints return home to play San Francisco on Dec. 8.

The Falcons play their fifth straight game against an NFC South rival when they face Carolina on Dec. 8. The Falcons beat the Panthers 29-3 on Nov. 17.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Passing

NO Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat Sk
T. Hill 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 39.6 0
D. Brees 30 18 60.0 1 184 40 0 88.8 0
ATL Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat Sk
M. Ryan 50 35 70.0 2 312 23 2 83.1 9

Rushing

NO Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
A. Kamara 11 61 5.5 24 0
T. Hill 2 33 16.5 30 1
ATL Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
D. Freeman 17 51 3.0 6 0
M. Ryan 3 21 7.0 9 0

Receiving

NO Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
J. Cook 3 85 28.3 40 0
M. Thomas 6 48 8.0 14 0
ATL Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
C. Ridley 8 91 11.4 18 0
C. Blake 6 57 9.5 13 0

Team Stats Comparison

NO ATL
Points For 26 18
Total Yards 279 348
Rushing Yards 95 89
Passing Yards 184 259
Passing Completions / Attempts 18/31 35/50
Turnovers 0 3
Interceptions Thrown 0 2
Fumbles - Lost 0/0 2/1
First Downs 14 27
Rushing Touchdowns 1 0
Passing Touchdowns 1 2
Penalties - Yards 9/121 4/18
Time Of Possession 24:23 35:37
Third Down Conversions/Attempts 2/10 6/16
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts 0/0 2/4
Red Zone Conversions/Attempts 1/2 2/3
Sacks Against 0 9
Punts - Average Yards 4/48 3/29
Punt Returns - Average Yards/Punt Return 1/0 2/0
Kickoff Returns - Average Yards/Kickoff Return 3/13 2/38

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter NO ATL
NO 3:53 TD Taysom Hill 3 yd pass from Drew Brees (Wil Lutz kick) 7 0
2nd Quarter NO ATL
ATL 2:25 TD Jaeden Graham 18 yd pass from Matt Ryan (missed kick) 7 6
NO 5:55 FG Wil Lutz 22 yd FG 10 6
NO 13:07 TD Taysom Hill 30 yd run (Wil Lutz kick) 17 6
ATL 14:57 FG Younghoe Koo 45 yd FG 17 9
3rd Quarter NO ATL
NO 9:06 FG Wil Lutz 47 yd FG 20 9
4th Quarter NO ATL
NO 4:46 FG Wil Lutz 42 yd FG 23 9
NO 8:33 FG Wil Lutz 45 yd FG 26 9
ATL 11:34 TD Russell Gage 13 yd pass from Matt Ryan (failed 2pt Pass from Matt Ryan) 26 15
ATL 13:04 FG Younghoe Koo 43 yd FG 26 18

Game Information

Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 71,993
Game Time: 3:12
Weather: