Defense steps up in Saints' 23-17 victory over Falcons - - The News for South Mississippi

Defense steps up in Saints' 23-17 victory over Falcons

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Drew Brees passed for 357 yards and two scores and the New Orleans Saints held on for a 23-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons to give Saints coach Sean Payton a triumphant return from his bounty ban.

Roman Harper intercepted a tipped fourth-down pass in the end zone with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter.

Brees connected with Marques Colston for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Colston also set a franchise mark for career catches with 533.

Brees also hit tight end Jimmy Graham for a 7-yard score in the third quarter.

Matt Ryan passed for 304 yards and two touchdown passes -- one to Tony Gonzalez and another to Julio Jones. Ryan also drove Atlanta to the Saints 3-yard line in the final minute before falling just short.

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