VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Falcons hold off sloppy Saints, 23-13

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Falcons raced to a 17-0 lead and the defense made it stand up, picking off five of Drew Brees' passes and ending his NFL-record touchdown streak with a 23-13 victory Thursday night.

Advertisement
The Falcons moved to the brink of clinching the NFC South and dealt a big blow to the Saints (5-7) and their fading playoff hopes. William Moore had two of the five interceptions, which were the most of Brees' career and came four days after he had two passes picked off and returned for touchdowns in a loss to San Francisco.

Brees had thrown a touchdown pass in 54 consecutive games. He had an apparent scoring pass to Darren Sproles late in the first half, but it was nullified by a penalty.

Michael Turner scored on Atlanta's opening possession, Tony Gonzalez hauled in a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan, and Matt Bryant booted three field goals, including a 55-yarder.

The Falcons defense did the rest.

Thomas DeCoud, Sean Weatherspoon and Jonathan Babineaux also had interceptions for Atlanta, which will clinch the NFC South with a month to go in the regular season if Tampa Bay loses to Denver on Sunday.

Brees had a couple of games with four picks, but nothing like this. He finished 28 of 50 for 341 yards.

The defending NFC South champion Saints lost their second in a row and will likely have to win out to have even a faint hope of making the postseason during a tumultuous year that was marred by a bounty scandal and a season-long suspension for coach Sean Payton.

After winning so many close games, the Falcons started this one as if they were intent on a rout.

Ryan completed a pass on the first play from scrimmage, then turned it over to a running game that has struggled most of the season. Turner burst around right end for a 35-yard gain. Jacquizz Rodgers broke off two straight 14-yard gains. Finally, it was Turner going in standing from 3 yards out, giving Atlanta a quick 7-0 lead.

That was Turner's 58th touchdown in five seasons with the Falcons, breaking the team record he had shared with Terance Mathis.

Atlanta struck again in the opening minute of the second period. Julio Jones hauled in an 18-yard throw from Ryan, setting up a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez in the back of the end zone. He beat former teammate Curtis Lofton, then just flipped the ball over the goalposts instead of his customary basketball dunk.

Brees' second interception, this one a sloppy pass behind running Chris Ivory that deflected into the arms of Sean Weatherspoon, set up Bryant's 45-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.

Then, suddenly, the game completely changed.

For the rest of the second quarter and most of the third, the Saints totally dominated. Mark Ingram scored on a 1-yard run, capping an 11-play, 80-yard drive, and New Orleans should have tacked on more points at the end of the half. But Brees made a rookie-like mistake with 12 seconds remaining, dumping a pass over the middle to Sproles with no timeouts. He was wrapped up at the Atlanta 3 and the clock ran out before the Saints could spike the ball.

But New Orleans got the ball to start the second half, and Brees went back to work. This time, he made a couple of nifty moves to avoid sacks, completing six passes on an 83-yard drive consuming 15 plays and more than 6 1-2 minutes. But the Falcons defense held again, forcing Garrett Hartley to boot a 21-yard field goal that cut it to 17-10.

Hartley connected again from much farther out on the Saints' next possession, a 52-yarder that brought New Orleans even closer.

The Falcons, meanwhile, couldn't do anything offensively. They failed to pick up a first down on five straight possessions, a stretch in which the Saints had a 289-30 lead in total yards and a staggering 18 first downs.

Finally, it was the Atlanta defense that turned things around late in the third.

Brees rolled to his right and threw over the middle, but Moore picked off the pass and returned it to the New Orleans 16. Ryan connected on first-down throws to Gonzalez and Roddy White to set up Bryant's field goal.

---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: MNF - Patriots at Dolphins
Roberts: Books win small in Week 14
Sportsbetting.ag: Monday's Best Bet
Bookmaker: Week 15 Opening Odds
News: SuperContest Picks - Week 14
Dobish: Betting Recap - Week 14
News: Win Total Betting Update
Steelers wrap up AFC North, nip Ravens
Bortles outduels Wilson in Jaguars' win
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
16-2 G-Plays, 6-1 Totals, 13-7 Picks
5-1 Run, 8-0 L8 Guarantees
6-2 L8 Picks, +2,280 Overall TY
9-3 L12 Picks, +1,685 This Season
4-1 Week 14, 9-2 L11 Picks
9-1 L2 Sundays, 18-9 G-Plays TY
6-2 Sunday, +1,449 Net Profits TY
5-0 Last 5 Guaranteed Run
7-2 G-Plays, 16-7 L10 Sun, 65% TY
11-2 L2 Sundays, 49-24 L12 Sun.
3-0 NFL Record Sunday
3-1 L4 G-Plays, 5-2 L7 Selections
19-7 Last 26 Guaranteed Plays
5-2 L7 Totals, 8-4 L12 Picks
3-0 Picks Last Sunday
5-1 Last 6 Monday Picks
2-0 Week 14, 3-0 L3 G-Plays
8-4 Record L2 Sundays
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks - New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
2017 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 2280
Pat Hawkins + 1685
Vince Akins + 1449
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 592
Hank Goldberg + 482
Andy Iskoe + 385
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Zack Cimini 65 %
Pat Hawkins 59 %
Gary Bart 59 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 1403
Paul Bovi + 812
Scott Rickenbach + 692
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 580
Michael Black + 374
Stephen Nover + 285
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 676
Gary Bart + 555
Bill Marzano + 539
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership