The New Orleans Saints' 2013 offseason is one that didn't come close to being as stressful as the one from 2012. Coach Sean Payton was back, the Bounty Gate scandal was behind them, and the Atlanta Falcons were coming into town for a divisional season opener on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. What could be better? Well, how about a win over the Saints' biggest rival?
That is exactly what happened as the Saints' defense held on and Roman Harper intercepted a Matt Ryan pass in the end zone that sealed the win for New Orleans.
Things didn't start off well for the Saints though as the Falcons came right out and dominated on offense and defense. The Saints could get nothing going on offense, but the Falcons knew how to do it right.
Matt Ryan started things off with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez to go up 7-0. After the Saints faltered on offense again, the Falcons drove and got a 23-yard field goal to go up 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was different though, and the Saints finally got going on offense. Garrett Hartley hit a 48-yard field goal to put the Saints on the board. Mere minutes later, Roman Harper recovered a fumble let free by Julio Jones, and the Saints were in business again.
Before anyone knew it, Marques Colston caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees, and then Hartley added another field goal later for the Saints to go up 13-10. That was how the half would end.
Coming out in the second half, the Saints had a quick three-and-out before giving Atlanta back the ball. The Falcons would run five quick plays and then Matt Ryan found Jones for a four-yard touchdown to put Atlanta back up 17-13.
New Orleans came right back and had a great 80-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Jimmy Graham. The third quarter would come to an end with with the Saints leading 20-17 and driving again.
The fourth quarter saw both teams go back and forth, but the Saints were able to put together a good drive midway through that ended up stalling in the Falcons' 10-yard line. Garrett Hartley came back out and hit a 22-yard field goal to put New Orleans up 23-17 with less than four minutes to go.
The Falcons got the ball back, and Matt Ryan went to work starting five-for-five on the drive before his first incomplete pass. Atlanta got inside New Orleans 10-yard line and it came down to one last play. Ryan tried to hit Gonzalez in the end zone, but the ball was tipped and then intercepted by Roman Harper.
Please be sure to check out SaintsReport.com for more.