NFL – Throwback Thursday: An NFC South Shootout

19 Nov

It’s time for another Throwback Thursday feature, and on this week’s NFL schedule, a pair of NFC South rivals, the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, go head to head. We’ll go back a relatively short period of time, only 6 years, to a matchup of these clubs that was a high-scoring affair. It happened on September 7, 2014, on opening day, at the Georgia Dome. The opposing quarterbacks were the same pair of signal callers who lead their teams today – Drew Brees of the Saints and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan.

The Saints jumped out early, with Shayne Graham booting a pair of field goals and Khiry Robinson scoring on a short run. Ryan found Roddy White on a 2 yard scoring pass, but Brees matched that when he hooked up with Brandin Cooks for a 3 yard score, giving New Orleans a 20-7 lead. Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant cut the lead to 20-10 with a three-pointer just before halftime. The third quarter belonged to Ryan and the Falcons. The Falcon field general threw a pair of touchdown passes, a short 1 yarder to Levine Toilolo and a 54 yarder to Antone Smith, and suddenly Atlanta was in control with a 24-20 lead. The final quarter was a real roller coaster. First Brees engineered a drive that ended with power back Mark Ingram scoring from 3 yards out to regain the lead for the Saints. The Falcons answered that with a drive of their own, and Jacquizz Rodgers finished it off with a 17 yard rushing touchdown to put Atlanta back up, 31-27.

The roller coaster ride continued as Brees marched the Saints downfield again, and Ingram again scored from 3 yards out to put New Orleans up 34-31 with only slightly over a minute left to play. Ryan answered back, driving his troops down the field to set up a game-tying 51 yard field goal by Bryant as time expired in regulation. The Saints won the toss and received the OT kickoff, and that’s when disaster struck and the roller coaster derailed on the club from The Big Easy. Marques Colston, Saints’ wide receiver and Brees’ favorite target who had racked up 110 yards receiving on 5 catches for the day, caught a pass but promptly put the ball on the ground, fumbling to set up a 52 yard game-winning attempt for Bryant. The veteran kicker split the uprights and Atlanta escaped with a 37-34 win. The Falcons had a little easier time knocking off New Orleans in their second meeting that year, winning 30-14. However, 2014 wasn’t a very successful season for either club. The Saints finished 7-9 and the Falcons were even worse, with a 6-10 mark.



Marques Colston fumbles to set up winning Atlanta field goal


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