Brees, Vilma help Saints remain perfect at 13-0

By Jeff Shepard – bio | email

ATLANTA (AP) - The New Orleans Saints keep cutting it close.

Drew Brees threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, Jonathan Vilma came up with two huge defensive plays and the Saints remained perfect with another tight win, 26-23 over the pesky Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Garrett Hartley won it on a 38-yard field goal with a 4:42 remaining after the Falcons rallied from 14 points down. The offensive-minded Saints (13-0) then turned to defense to preserve another victory - Vilma came up with an interception, then doled out a big fourth-down hit on Jason Snelling to finish off the Falcons' final drive.

The Falcons (6-7) lost for the sixth time in eight games and their playoff hopes appear to be over. Atlanta played without two of its biggest stars, quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)