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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 15

Drew Brees' TD run in OT lifts Saints past Falcons 43-37

Sun Sep 23 5:09pm ET
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer

Players: Drew Brees, Matt Bryant, Matt Ryan, Ted Ginn Jr., Mohamed Sanu, Michael Thomas, Tevin Coleman, Wil Lutz, Alvin Kamara, Calvin Ridley

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates his touchdown with New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) leaps over the goal line for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. The New Orleans Saints won 43-37. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith (81) celebrates his touchdown with New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


New Orleans Saints linebacker Craig Robertson (52) picks up a loose ball after a Atlanta Falcons blocked punt during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


New Orleans Saints defensive back Justin Hardee (34) and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver (20) vie for a loose ball after a blocked punt during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith (81) heads to the end zone against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


New Orleans Saints defensive end Alex Okafor (57) watches a blocked punt as Atlanta Falcons punter Matt Bosher (5) hits the turf during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley (44) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a touchdown pass to Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton speaks with a coach during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


ATLANTA (AP) Drew Brees' 1-yard run capped an 80-yard touchdown drive to open overtime that lifted the New Orleans Saints to a 43-37 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Brees' score came after his apparent 3-yard TD pass to Alvin Kamara was overturned on a review that determined Kamara's knee was down before the goal line. Brees scored on a keeper on the following play, giving the Saints (2-1) the win on the day the 39-year-old quarterback set the NFL record for career completions.

Brees passed for 396 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two scores. Kamara had 15 catches for 124 yards and ran for 66 yards.

Brees' biggest play before the winner might have been his improbable 7-yard scoring run with 1:15 remaining that forced overtime. He ran to his left and then spun to avoid tackle attempts by Brian Poole and Robert Alford.

Atlanta's Matt Ryan had his first career game with five scoring passes, including three to rookie Calvin Ridley. That wasn't enough for the Falcons (1-2) against Brees and the high-scoring Saints, who gained 534 yards.

Ryan passed for 374 yards, including 146 to Ridley, who became the first Falcons rookie with three scoring catches. Ridley, who had seven receptions, including a 75-yard TD, had his first game with more than one touchdown reception in his first game with at least 100 yards receiving.

Ridley's third scoring catch against the Saints was a 9-yarder early in the third quarter that held up following a review.

Ryan's five touchdown passes tied the team record set by Wade Wilson on Dec. 13, 1992, at Tampa Bay.

The fifth went to Mohamed Sanu - followed by Ryan's 2-point conversion pass to Sanu - gave the Falcons a 37-30 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

The scoring pass came after Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata was called for unnecessary roughness when Atlanta's Matt Bryant kicked a 29-yard field goal that would have given the Falcons a 32-30 lead. With the penalty, the Falcons' offense came back on the field.

Ridley beat P.J. Williams on his first two scoring catches, an 18-yarder in the first quarter and the 75-yarder in the second quarter.

The Saints made a defensive switch, moving Ken Crawley into coverage on Ridley. Crawley was called for pass interference on a deep incompletion to Ridley early in the third quarter that gave Atlanta a first down at the New Orleans 5. On second down from the 9, Ridley's third scoring catch gave the Falcons a 21-16 lead.

Williams' troubles continued when he was called for pass interference when trying to cover Sanu, and that flag set up another first down at the 5. Ryan's fourth scoring pass, to Tevin Coleman, made it 29-23.

With his 14th completed pass, Brees broke the record of 6,300 career completions set by Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Brees closed in on the mark early, completing his first four passes, including a 19-yard scoring pass to Ted Ginn Jr., on the Saints' opening drive.

The Falcons pulled even on Ryan's 18-yard touchdown pass to Ridley later in the opening quarter.

Brees set the career completions record with a 17-yard completion to Michael Thomas in the second quarter, giving him 6,301.

With a little more help from Ginn, Brees might have had a bigger first half. Ginn dropped a sideline pass on a drive that ended with a 49-yard field goal by Will Lutz bouncing off the left upright and over the cross bar. Later in the second quarter, Ginn juggled a pass for an incompletion as he ran out of bounds on the Atlanta sideline.

Ryan's 75-yard scoring pass to Ridley was his 34th career TD pass against the Saints, the most by any quarterback. He surpassed Joe Montana's 33 TD passes against New Orleans.

INJURY REPORT

Saints reserve cornerback Patrick Robinson was carted from the field early in the third quarter with a left ankle injury. He did not return.

Falcons safety Ricardo Allen left early in overtime with a left calf injury. He was helped to the sideline and then driven on a cart to the locker room. ... Reserve cornerback Justin Bethel suffered a knee injury in the third quarter. ... Atlanta rookie linebacker Foyesade Oluokun left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.

UP NEXT

Saints: at New York Giants next Sunday.

Falcons: Play their third straight home game against the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday.

Player Notes
Baker Mayfield Dec 12 9:20am ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is coming off a fantastic real-life game which saw him complete 18 of his 22 pass attempts against the Carolina Panthers. That being said, his production in the fantasy realm was lacking as he threw just one touchdown in the game. Since the team fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, the Browns have been playing slow on offense, which has limited Mayfield's ceiling somewhat. This week, the Browns travel to Denver to take on the Broncos on Saturday night. The Broncos have been great against the pass this season, ranking No. 2 in pass defense DVOA. That being said, the Broncos have suffered several injuries in their secondary over the past few weeks which keeps Mayfield in the conversation as a deep-league streamer. Treat Mayfield as a mid-QB2 for Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Tannehill Dec 12 8:23am ET

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) could be limited in practice Wednesday, Dec. 12, as the team will closely monitor his ankle injury heading into Week 15.

Fantasy Spin: Tannehill has binged with a couple of three-score games, but history has shown you can't count on that this week against the Minnesota Vikings. He's a QB2 in two-QB leagues.

Mychal Kendricks Dec 12 3:03am ET

Seattle Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks (knee) injured his knee during the team's Week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings, and his availability for the team's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 16, is in question, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Cole Wick Dec 12 2:03am ET

The Tennessee Titans signed TE Cole Wick off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Tennessee also signed free-agent OL Austin Pasztor (Falcons).

Pierre Garcon Dec 12 12:13am ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Pierre Garcon (knee) was officially placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Michael Thomas Dec 12 12:10am ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas will head into Week 15 with 102 receptions for 1,218 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Thomas will face a Panthers secondary that is allowing the eighth most fantasy points to receivers, including four 100-yard receiving games since Week 11. Carolina has surrendered 10 touchdowns to receivers over their last six games and now must try and shut down one of the game's elite receivers. Thomas should be able to exploit this matchup in Week 15 and will be a WR1 option across all fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Dec 11 11:40pm ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will go up against a Titans defense in Week 15 that is allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. But at this point in the season, tough matchups no longer scare fantasy owners of the fantastic rookie. Barkley has least 100-plus yards from scrimmage in 12 of the 13 games played this season to go along with 13 total touchdowns. Barkley is about as bankable a fantasy option as any player in the league right now and heads into Week 15 with 1,753 all-purpose yards. Start Barkley with confidence.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Dec 11 11:40pm ET

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram's fantasy arrow has been pointing up over the last two games, posting 143 yards over that span. But he could struggle to out-score his fantasy projections against a Titans defense that is allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The Titans defense has not allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown against them this season and only two tight ends have scored more than six fantasy points in a single game. Engram will be a dicey TE2 play in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Chad Williams Dec 11 10:23pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Chad Williams (ankle, hamstring) was listed with the first-team offense on the team's depth chart Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: This is somewhat notable since Williams has missed the last five games and doesn't exactly have the kind of resume that one usually has to keep a job when he is sidelined that long. Larry Fitzgerald remains the only playable Cardinal receiver, but DFS players who may have been hoping to strike gold with J.J. Nelson and Trent Sherfield versus the Atlanta Falcons may have to look elsewhere.

Kelvin Benjamin Dec 11 10:13pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Kelvin Benjamin is reportedly picking up the offense quickly, but it remains unlikely he will play an extended amount of time in Week 15 versus the Los Angeles Chargers.

Fantasy Spin: It's understandable considering he hasn't been with the team two weeks yet. Still, Tyreek Hill will almost certainly be limited in some way, shape or form and the Chiefs may be down to Damien Williams as their starting running back. Despite the presence of Patrick Mahomes, owners should be able to do better than Benjamin in their starting lineups during the fantasy playoffs.

Kelvin Benjamin Dec 11 8:50pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who had his first practice with the team last Friday, is unlikely to play extended snaps if he makes his team debut on Thursday against the Chargers. However, they may need Benjamin active with Sammy Watkins (foot) not expected to be available until the playoffs and Tyreek Hill (heel, wrist) being dinged up in Week 14. Its just concepts and really learning the language of a new playbook, Benjamin told The Star on Tuesday. Its coming real good to me. I feel like Im grasping it real well. Benjamin was terrible in his time with Buffalo and lacked hustle and motivation, so hopefully he'll be more motivated to make an impact with his first team, who currently have the top seed in the AFC. Even if Benjamin plays this Thursday and in the final two games of the season, he's unlikely to make much of a fantasy impact unless either Hill or Chris Conley get hurt.

From RotoBaller

Keke Coutee Dec 11 8:00pm ET

Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring) was limited in practice on Tuesday. Coutee has missed the last two games but is trending toward being active in Week 15 on Saturday against the Jets. Hamstring issues have limited the rookie to just six games in 2018, and he can't be trusted in starting lineups behind DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas if he returns. Quarterback Deshaun Watson hasn't been throwing the ball all that much either, making Coutee unlikely to see heavy targets if he's back this Saturday.

From RotoBaller

DeSean Jackson Dec 11 7:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR DeSean Jackson (thumb) had his injured thumb immobilized Tuesday, Dec. 11. He cannot squeeze a football with his injured hand yet but hopes to play again this season.

Fantasy Spin: In the meantime, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries will continue to see increased targets. They have a tough matchup this week, though, against the Baltimore Ravens, so lower your expectations.

Andre Roberts Dec 11 7:33pm ET

New York Jets LB Jerry Attaochu (concussion), RB Trenton Cannon (toe) and LB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder, ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) was limited. OT Kelvin Beachum (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder, neck), TE Jordan Leggett (knee), C Spencer Long (knee, finger), WR Andre Roberts (foot) and CB Buster Skrine (shoulder) participated fully.

Robby Anderson Dec 11 7:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Robby Anderson (ankle) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Last week Anderson found the end zone for the first time in six games and saw seven targets for the third time in four games, but he's an inconsistent player who can't be trusted in postseason lineups.

Quincy Enunwa Dec 11 7:23pm ET

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) was not at practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Enunwa has done next to nothing since the beginning of the season. Now is not the time to take a chance on starting him and hoping he rebounds.

Sam Darnold Dec 11 7:23pm ET

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot) participated fully in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: If you made your league's playoffs, you probably didn't get there by starting Darnold. Don't start now.

J.J. Watt Dec 11 7:13pm ET

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Carter (concussion), WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), C Zach Fulton (hand), S Andre Hal (ankle), CB Kareem Jackson (knee), OG Senio Kelemete (elbow) and DE J.J. Watt (knee) were limited in practice Tuesday, Dec. 11. LB Dylan Cole (wrist, knee), CB Aaron Colvin (ankle), C Greg Mancz (knee), LB Brian Peters (ankle), S Justin Reid (shoulder, wrist) and CB Shareece Wright (neck) participated fully.

DeAndre Hopkins Dec 11 7:03pm ET

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (foot) practiced on a limited basis Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins has been limited in practice practically the entire season. He has produced consistently despite the nagging issue, so there's no reason to remove him from starting lineups, especially in the fantasy playoffs.

Deshaun Watson Dec 11 7:03pm ET

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) was a full practice participant Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Fantasy Spin: Watson has been bruised and battered for the entirety of his sophomore campaign but he'll be good to go in a favorable matchup with the New York Jets. He's a QB1 for those still in the fantasy postseason.