Falcons Finale Spoiled by Saints
Falcons Finale Spoiled by Saints
ATLANTA -- With nothing to personally gain with a victory Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons were aiming to play spoiler against the New Orleans Saints in Week 18.Instead, the Saints practically handed the Falcons the NFL equivalent of a rotten egg, winning 30-20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.With the 10-point win, the Saints kept their playoff hopes alive with the San Francisco 49ers-Los Angeles Rams matchup still pending.The lo s means the Falcons finished the 2021 season 7-10. The good news is the defeat enhanced Atlanta's draft position, which helps with plenty of position groups for general manager Terry Fontenot to improve this offseason.But even without a playoff spot on Carl Soderberg Jersey
the line, it was another tough home lo s for the Falcons, who ended the 2021 season 1-6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.The Falcons weren't as close to the Saints as the final score indicates. New Orleans jumped out with a touchdown on its opening po se sion and never looked back. Even with Trevor Siemian entering the game for injured Taysom Hill at quarterback, the Saints offense didn't slow down.In the first half alone, New Orleans outgained Atlanta 242-69. Hill and Siemian each had a touchdown pa s in the half. Furthermore, the Saints posted 15 first downs while the Falcons had only four.The Saints finished the game averaging 5.2 yards per play, including 7.0 yards per pa s with the two backup quarterbacks. Yet, Saints did even better on the ground with running back Alvin Kamara rushing for 146 yards behind a career-high 30 carries.New Orleans posted 195 yards on the Ben Smith Jersey
ground. Atlanta gave up at least 190 rushing yards in both of its final two games.While the run defense was suspect, the Falcons offense wasn't sharp either. The first half ended withrunning back Mike Davis fumbling deep in Falcons territory. The Saints took over at the Atlanta 11-yard line and scored another touchdown to go ahead by 18 with two seconds left in the second quarter.Atlanta's offense finally showed signs of life late Semyon Varlamov Jersey
in the third quarter. Matt Ryan completed a 33-yard pa s to tight end Hayden Hurst and then two plays later, Qadree Ollison rushed for a 19-yard touchdown.Scroll to ContinueBut Davis also fumbled in the second half. Davis' two fumbles led to 10 points for New Orleans.Atlanta put together its best drive of the day -- 85 yards on 13 plays -- in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Ryan found Ru sell Gage for a 1-yard touchdown.But for the fourth straight game, the Falcons gained under 300 yards on offense. Atlanta finished the 2021 season having been outgained by their opponent in its last 12 games.Despite the late touchdowns, the Falcons still suffered theireighth double-digit lo s of the Joe Sakic Jersey
season.If the Saints make the postseason, the Falcons will end the season with a victory against a playoff team --a Week 9 win against the Saints. But outside of that win, the Falcons went 0-7 against 2021 playoff teams.Ryan was 20 of 33 for 216 yards on Sunday. It took until under the 4-minute mark of the third quarter for Ryan to surpa s Hill's 107 pa sing yards mark, and Hill only had nine pa s attempts before suffering a foot injury in the second quarter.The Falcons also rushed for just 62 yards. It was the seventh time this season Atlanta was held to under 70 rushing yards.Wide receiver Ru sell Gage led Atlanta with nine catches and 126 receiving yards. Tight end Kyle Pitts, who needed 59 yards to break Francois Beauchemin Jersey
Mike Ditka's tight end rookie receiving record, had two receptions for eight yards.Siemian replaced Hill behind center for New Orleans and only averaged 4.7 yards per pa s, going 9 for 15. But Siemian had two touchdowns with zero interceptions.With the lo s, the Falcons finish in third place of the NFC South behind Tampa Bay (13-4) and New Orleans (9-8). Atlanta has ended the last two seasons in either third or last place and are 3-13 in the last 16 games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.