NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - New Orleans Saints fans were hoping to relive an emotional September 25, 2006 23-3 win over Atlanta, highlighted by the blocked punt by Steve Gleason that led to a touchdown. It was the first game back in the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina.
Instead, the Falcons overcame a 7-0 deficit, led 28-17 at the half, and took advantage of a depleted defense to hand New Orleans a third straight defeat.
Atlanta (2-1) quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 240 yards and two touchdowns and Devonta Freeman rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards to help lead the Falcons into sole possession of first place in the NFC South Division.
Tevin Coleman added three rushing touchdowns and former LSU linebacker Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards to help seal the deal for Atlanta.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees passed for 376 yards and three touchdowns, but a tipped pass in the fourth quarter that ended up into the hands of Jones was the back breaker for New Orleans. The Pick Six gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead.
Monday night with New Orleans leading 7-0, the Falcons were forced to punt to the Saints. Punt returner Tommylee Lewis was back to catch the ball, when Saints teammate De'Vante Harris ran into Lewis. The ball hit Lewis and was recovered by Atlanta on the New Orleans 11. The turnover led to Coleman's first touchdown.
The New Orleans wounded defense was unable to stop the Falcons ground attack. Atlanta rushed for 217 yards.
On Sunday the 0-3 Saints travel to San Diego. The kickoff is set for 3:25 p.m. The Charges are 1 and 2 on the season.