2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons fall just short vs. Saints, 23-17

By GUERRY SMITH - Associated Press
    2013-09-08 18:14

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Just like last season, Matt Ryan had the Atlanta Falcons achingly close to a late go-ahead touchdown against New Orleans at the Superdome. Once again, they could not finish the deal.

Rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro deflected Ryan's fourth-down throw for tight end Tony Gonzalez into the hands of safety Roman Harper for the clinching interception in the end zone with 43 seconds left. The Saints held on, winning 23-17.

The painful ending was eerily similar to a year ago. Saints cornerback Jabari Greer knocked down Ryan's fourth-down pass for Roddy White from the 2 to preserve a 31-27 New Orleans victory. Only that time, the Falcons were 8-0 and headed for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. This time, they fell a game behind the Saints in a division that has not had a repeat champion since its formation in 2002.

``Any time you lose it stinks, and certainly today it stinks that we didn't get the outcome that we wanted,'' Ryan said. ``We gave ourselves a chance, and we just fell short. The biggest part of being a professional is being able to move on. There's 15 more to go and lots of ball to be played.''

Ryan, who drove the Falcons 77 yards to the New Orleans 3 on their final possession, started to celebrate when his third-and-goal pass reached running back Steven Jackson at the goal line. But the ball bounced off Jackson's hands even before Saints linebacker Ramon Humber hit him.

``When my number is called, I expect to make the play,'' Jackson said. ``I dropped the ball. It wasn't the easiest catch, but I'm not a person to make excuses.''

The fourth-down pass was not as close, leaving the Falcons with a familiar empty feeling. They have lost seven of their last eight in New Orleans.

Across the field was a relieved Sean Payton, enjoying his latest win against his NFC South rivals in what was his regular season return to the sideline from his bounty ban.

``It was just important to get the first win,'' Payton said. ``You try to compartmentalize each week, each game, and we played a good team. ... We fought hard, especially late in the game.''

Atlanta is 3-12 overall against New Orleans in the Payton era, though the coach was not present for the Falcons' loss in the Superdome a year ago.

``It was hard for us last year, and it's no easier to swallow this year,'' Atlanta center Peter Konz said. ``But in a game like this, you know you can win. We know what we have to build on, and it can be a positive experience going forward.''

Atlanta's offensive line allowed three sacks, with second-year player Lamar Holmes making his first career start at right tackle in place of Mike Johnson, who had a season-ending knee injury in training camp. Still, Ryan had plenty of time on the final possession as he completed five in a row to give Atlanta a first-and-goal at the New Orleans 7.

He was 1 of 4 from there, connecting only on a dumpoff to White for a 4-yard gain on second down. On fourth down, Gonzalez said he was the second option behind wide receiver Julio Jones.

``Give them credit, they made the play,'' Gonzalez said. ``The ball was up in the air and I liked my chances, but we were just a fingertip away.''

Ryan passed for 304 yards and touchdown passes to Gonzalez and Jones. Jackson rushed 11 times for 77 yards in his Atlanta debut, including a 50-yard run.

New Orleans' defense gave up a pair of 50-yard plays, the other on a pass to Harry Douglas, but also produced pressure regularly.

The group also produced a momentum-changing turnover when Malcolm Jenkins stripped Jones and Harper recovered, setting up Marques Colston's 25-yard TD catch, which tied the game at 10 in the second quarter.

Drew Brees, who passed for 357 yards and two TDs, gave the Saints the lead for good in the second quarter with a 7-yard pass to tight end Jimmy Graham.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Dane FletcherMay 27 02:33a

Free-agent LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) has returned to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

Devonta FreemanMay 26 09:53p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman worked with the first-team offense during organized team activities Tuesday, May 26.

Charles SimsMay 26 05:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims has a solid chance of beating out RB Doug Martin for Tampa Bay's starting running back gig, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com.

A.J. JenkinsMay 26 01:02p

Free-agent WR A.J. Jenkins (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, May 26, according to a source. Jenkins was the 30th overall pick by the San [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 26 08:43a

Updating an ongoing story, the Dallas Cowboys have moved on from the idea of trading for Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, despite persistent rumors, according to The Dallas Morning [ More ]

A.J. McCarronMay 25 10:37p

Cincinnati Bengals QB AJ McCarron (shoulder) is healthy and hoping to push QB Andy Dalton in 2015. 'We wanted him in our building so bad and it happened and [ More ]

Ray McDonaldMay 25 04:42p

Updating previous reports, Chicago Bears DE Ray McDonald has been released Monday, May 25, just hours after being arrested for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment.

Adrian PetersonMay 25 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson still wants to be traded, according to a source. Peterson intends to skip all organized team activities, which would cause him to lose $250,000 in workout bonuses.

Adrian PetersonMay 24 09:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has informed head coach Mike Zimmer that he will not attend the optional practices that begin Tuesday, May 26, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Tom BradyMay 22 04:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will have the appeal of his four-game suspension heard by commissioner Roger Goodell after the NFL rejected a motion by the NFL Players [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 22 03:32p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension has not been scheduled at this time.

Ray RiceMay 22 11:42a

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) could be a consideration for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency, speculates The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota. He cites Cowboys owner and general [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMay 22 09:52a

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains in pursuit of being traded or receiving a new contract and remains away from the organization during voluntary workouts. [ More ]

William BeattyMay 21 12:02p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty (chest) underwent successful surgery Thursday, May 21, to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Beatty will need approximately five to six months of recovery time.

Derek CarrMay 20 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) will not need surgery on his injured finger and may be able to throw again before the end of offseason workouts, according to his agent.

Joseph RandleMay 20 09:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is the most likely option to lead the team's running back by committee approach in 2015. Randle has the most experience in the system, [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:53p

Updating previous reports, New York Giants OT William Beatty's (pectoral) torn pectoral will require surgery and Beatty's recovery time is expected to be around five months. Beatty suffered the [ More ]

William BeattyMay 20 03:33p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) tore his pectoral while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source, and will undergo surgery. One [ More ]

Josh HillMay 20 03:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is slated as the starting tight end this season with TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. TE Benjamin Watson could give Hill a run for his money, however.

William BeattyMay 20 03:13p

New York Giants OT William Beatty (shoulder) suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury while lifting weights Wednesday, May 20, according to a source. Surgery is a possibility.

Geno SmithMay 20 03:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith is the starting quarterback and will not see competition in training camp, according to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Tom BradyMay 20 03:03p

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal will not be affected by the team's decision to accept their sanctions. Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to [ More ]

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group