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Falcons stun Saints to remain undefeated at home


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Falcons stun Saints to remain undefeated at home

By D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, November 09, 2008

John Abraham did not stutter.

He didn’t dodge the question or give that “one game at a time” response.

For anybody who wanted to take note, the Falcons defensive end said it’s OK to go ahead and pencil the Falcons in the playoffs.

“Definitely, I felt that from the first game and I’m going to keep saying it until we make it,” Abraham said. “We play good as a team. That’s the best thing that you could say right now.”

Such playoff talk was unheard at the beginning of the season, with so much change coming off a 4-12 record last season.

But after the Falcons received a stellar performance from the secondary and beat New Orleans 34-20 on Sunday at the Georgia Dome to climb to 6-3, maybe the playoffs are not such a pipe dream.

“At this point we are 6-3, and have seven more to go,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “A lot will be determined through those seven weeks. Right now we’re just focused on trying to beat the Broncos.”

The victory was the Falcons first win against a NFC South foe to move to 1-2 in the division, with road losses to Tampa Bay and Carolina.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith will not hear of any playoff talk in Week 10 of the season.

“We look at our next game, Denver,” Smith said. “We’ll focus on them.”

As expectations have been exceeded and goals have to be reset, the playoffs are something that’s realistically with the Falcons’ grasp.

The Falcons are undefeated at home and have four more home games. If they simply keep defending the Dome, they’ll reach the 10-win mark. They also have road games at San Diego, New Orleans and Minnesota.

“As we continue to work the process, and work it well, we will have opportunities to have the outcomes that we desire,” Smith said, coming about as close as he wants to in addressing the team’s playoff chances.

The Saints, with the top-rated passing attack in the NFL, let it been known on the first play of the game what they thought of the Falcons secondary.

Brees stood tall in the pocket and launched a deep pass into double coverage to speedster Devery Henderson. Falcons cornerback Chris Houston dropped back into his zone and had Henderson covered underneath and safety Erik Coleman came over the top to intercept the pass.

“We were able to steal a possession there,” Smith said. “I think that was big. That’s a team that I don’t think you want to give them a whole lot of offensive opportunities because they are very, very potent.”

From that point, the secondary, which focused on re-routing the Saints’ receivers, stayed in coverage.

“I thought most all passes were contested,” Smith said. “There were very few open receivers. I thought they had a good understanding going into the game of how they were going to attack us.”

Led by cornerback Domonique Foxworth, the Falcons knocked down 15 passes and had three interceptions, including Chevis Jackson’s fourth-quarter pick that he returned 95 yards for a touchdown to make it 34-13.

The Saints scored meaningless touchdown as time expired.

“It was a great challenge for our [secondary] today with Drew Brees and their passing game,” linebacker Keith Brooking said. “The key thing was disrupting the receivers at the line of scrimmage. That threw off the timing of their passing game.”

The Saints did pass for 422 yards, but a lot of that came in the fourth quarter while trying to scramble back after Jerious Norwood shot up the right sideline for a 67-yard touchdown to make it 27-6 with 9:54 left.

Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan was hot early and helped the Falcons build a 17-6 halftime lead.

“I just try to pull my weight out there,” Ryan said.

Ryan tossed two touchdown passes and spread the ball around to six different receivers.

“Our quarterback is maturing each week,” Smith said. “As long as he can continue to develop we can continue to add to what we can do offensive.”

But in the end, it was the defense that controlled the Saints passing attack and got in Brees’ face. Abraham had one sack, which gives him 11.

“We just wanted to come and play together,” Abraham said. “Sure, he’s a good quarterback, but we wanted to get him out of his rhythm. We put a lot of pressure in his face and kept him moving around.”

sorry if already posted. :(

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That win sure looked and felt good! It was nice to watch that down here in Buccaneer land! The Saints suck now and forever! The Buc fans down here are so arrogant and blindly faithful that they think that the Falcons don't have a chance on Dec. 14 at home in Atlanta! Well I am letting them know that the bucs suck! I do not respect them or their team! Go Falcons!

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That win sure looked and felt good! It was nice to watch that down here in Buccaneer land! The Saints suck now and forever! The Buc fans down here are so arrogant and blindly faithful that they think that the Falcons don't have a chance on Dec. 14 at home in Atlanta! Well I am letting them know that the bucs suck! I do not respect them or their team! Go Falcons!

Heh, the Buc fans I know down here in Tallahasse are worried as **** about Dec. 14th....with good reason. There's ALOT of difference between the team that they played at home on the 2nd game of the season and this behemoth of an offense that they will face in Dec.

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