The Falcons opened the game forcing the Saints to go three and out, marking New Orleans’ 20th three-and-out of the season, which is the third fewest in the NFL this year.
Atlanta’s offense opened the scoring with a 10-play, 76-yard drive, ending with RB Steven Jackson’s first rushing touchdown as a Falcon. Atlanta has scored 19 times on 26 drives lasting 10-plays or longer this season. The Falcons 89 points on 10-play drives are the third most in the League.
Since 2008, the Falcons have been one of the League’s most efficient teams in terms of capitalizing on long drives. Atlanta has scored on 81.4 percent of their 10-play drives (134 of 167), which ranks second in the NFL.
Jackson has totaled 57 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks sixth among active players. Jackson’s 66 total touchdowns are the fifth most among active running backs. Additionally, he tied Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams for the most rushing touchdowns against New Orleans by any active player with seven.
Jackson finished the game with 63 yards on a season-high 16 carries with one touchdown. He also added three receptions for 16 yards. In eight career games against New Orleans, Jackson has totaled 933 scrimmage yards with seven touchdowns.
QB Matt Ryan completed 30 of 39 passes, including a stretch of 11 straight in the second half, tying his season-high with a 76.9 completion percentage. He threw for 292 yards and recorded a 97.4 passer rating while completing at least one pass to nine different receivers.
WR Darius Johnson had a career game, catching six passes for 67 yards. Johnson’s six catches were tied for the fourth most in a single game by a Falcons undrafted rookie behind Harmon Wages (9), Tyrone Brown (8), and Alfred Jenkins (7).
K Matt Bryant became the third player in franchise history to record 500 points with a 39-yard field goal in the second quarter. Bryant joins Morten Andersen (806) and Mick Luckhurst (558) as the only players in club history to accomplish that feat.
Rookie CB Desmond Trufant played well in coverage, making five tackles (four solo) with three passes defensed, including two pass breakups on crucial third-down plays. This season, Trufant has recorded 13 passes defensed, which ranks second in the NFL among rookie cornerbacks behind Kansas City’s Marcus Cooper (14).
DT Peria Jerry sacked QB Drew Brees for a seven-yard loss giving a career-high 3.5 sacks this season. Jerry is one of four players on the Falcons with three-or-more sacks in 2013.
TE Tony Gonzalez finished the game with four catches for 43 yards. He extended his streak of games with a reception to 206, which is the second-longest streak in NFL history.