NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 9 Game Recap: Atlanta Falcons 27, New Orleans Saints 25

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass during the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ryan produced a vintage performance and the Atlanta Falcons took down the New Orleans Saints 27-25 in Week 9 thanks to a game-winning 29-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo as time expired.

New Orleans mounted an astounding comeback, scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter, including a Kenny Stills receiving touchdown with 1:01 remaining, but couldn’t make stops when it mattered most.

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New Orleans Saints


Trevor Siemian performed admirably in his first game as the Saints starting quarterback, finishing with 249 yards through the air and two touchdowns on 25-of-41 passing. The former seventh-round pick worked primarily in the shorter and intermediate areas of the field, averaging 8.5 yards of depth per target, but pushed the ball downfield when necessary, completing two big-time throws in the defeat.

Siemian’s accuracy was impressive throughout Sunday’s contest, as he registered an adjusted completion percentage of 76.3% while finishing with just one turnover-worthy play. 

Target Depth Completions/Attempts Yards Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 5/6 26 100% 0
Short (1-9) 15/18 137 88.9% 1
Medium (10-19) 4/10 61 50% 1
Long (20+) 1/4 25 50% 0
Running Backs

Alvin Kamara gained 104 total yards on 17 touches Sunday, leading New Orleans in both rushing and receiving with 50 yards on the ground and 54 through the air. The former All-Pro also accrued five first downs and forced five missed tackles, leading all ball-carriers in both categories.

Mark Ingram thrived in a complementary role, amassing 64 total yards on 14 touches. Ingram exhibited impressive receiving prowess, hauling in all five of his targets post five or more receptions for the first time since week 15 of 2017. 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends 

Wide receiver Deonte Harris drew a team-high eight targets Sunday, hauling in six for 52 yards. Yet it was Tre’quan Smith who operated as the Saints' No. 1 wide receiver, leading all New Orleans wide receivers in receiving snaps (36), receiving yards (53) total first downs (3) and contested catches (2).

Adam Trautman was the only Saints tight end to log a reception in Sunday’s defeat, reeling in all four of his seven targets for 47 yards.

Offensive Line

The New Orleans offensive line neutralized Atlanta’s defensive front from the opening snap Sunday, conceding just 12 pressures and one sack while powering a Saints rushing attack that averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Right guard Cesar Ruiz, center Erik McCoy and left tackle Terron Armstead did not allow a single pressure in the defeat. 

Defensive Line

Finally back to full strength, New Orleans' defensive line manhandled Atlanta up front, registering 12 pressures as a unit while holding Falcons rushers to an average of just 1.1 yards per carry. Interior defender David Onyemata paced the group with four pressures, while edge rushers Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport each collected a sack.

Defender Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Cameron Jordan 30 3 1
Marcus Davenport 26 2 1
David Onyemata 22 4 0
Shy Tuttle 17 0 0
Tanoh Kpassagnon 11 1 0
Josiah Bronson 10 0 0
Christian Ringo 9 1 0
Payton Turner 8 1 0

Demario Davis continued to play at an Defensive Player of the Year pace Sunday, leading New Orleans linebackers with seven tackles while allowing just one reception for 13 yards on two targets in coverage. The rest of the unit performed admirably, racking up eight tackles as a group while surrendering just five receptions for 74 yards on five combined targets.


Despite allowing 17 receptions in Sunday’s defeat, the Saints secondary was able to minimize the big play, conceding just 256 yards on 21 unit-wide targets. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore drew a group-high nine targets, allowing six catches for 70 yards and three first downs.

Defender Coverage Snaps  Receptions Allowed/Targets Yards Allowed Quarterback Rating Allowed
Marcus Williams 35 1/1 49 118.8
Marshon Lattimore 34 6/9 70 127.1
Malcom Jenkins 34 3/3 22 97.2
Paulson Adebo 27 2/3 67 149.3
P.J. Williams  19 2/2 27 118.8
Bradley Roby 14 0/0 0 0.0
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson 9 3/3 21 95.8

Atlanta Falcons


Matt Ryan flourished against an excellent Saints defense, throwing for 343 yards and two touchdowns on 23-of-30 passing. Sunday was arguably Ryan’s finest performance of the season so far, as he set new season highs in passing yards, adjusted completion percentage (85.7%) and quarterback rating (135.8) while registering four big-time throws and only one turnover-worthy play.

Ryan placed a clear emphasis on working the ball downfield, finishing with an average depth of target of 10.3 yards and seven pass plays over 15 yards, including a 64-yard bomb to Cordarrelle Patterson late in the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning field goal. 

Target Depth Completions/Attempts Yards Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 2/2 -4 100% 0
Short (1-9) 14/16 119 87.5% 1
Medium (10-19) 4/5 81 80% 1
Long (20+) 3/5 147 80% 0
Running Backs

Mike Davis captained a mediocre Atlanta rushing attack Sunday, leading the team with 13 yards on the ground on nine carries. The seven-year pro added five yards receiving on one reception.

Cordarrelle Patterson struggled as a rusher, amassing just 10 yards on nine carries. He was much more dynamic as a pass-catcher, pulling in all six of his targets for a team-best 126 yards through the air. The former All-Pro continued his dominance after the catch, leading the team with two forced missed tackles and five first downs while registering a game-high 63 yards after the catch.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Wide receiver Russell Gage led all Atlanta pass-catchers with eight targets, grabbing seven of them for 64 yards. He led all Falcons wide receivers with two contested catches while finishing second on the team with two first downs. 

Tight end Kyle Pitts continued his quest for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors with another impressive performance Sunday, as he finished with 62 receiving yards on three receptions. Pitts’ seven targets were second on the team, as last year’s No. 4 overall pick tied Patterson for the team lead in explosive plays with two. 

Offensive Line 

The Falcons offensive line struggled to contain New Orleans up front, allowing 19 pressures. Rookie left guard Jalen Mayfield was responsible for four of those pressures, finishing as the only Falcons offensive lineman to allow more than one pressure. 

Defensive Line 

Edge rushers James Vaughter and Steven Means teamed up for the most impactful defensive play from Atlanta’s victory, as Means' 32-yard fumble return off of Vaughter’s fourth quarter strip sack gave the Falcons offense the ball on the New Orleans 6-yard line. Vaughter’s sack was the unit’s lone takeaway Sunday, as the group finished with a combined five pressures and three quarterback hurries.  

Defender Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Grady Jarrett 35 1 0
Adetokunbo Ogundeji 27 0 0
Marlon Davidson 21 1 0
Brandon Copeland 16 0 0
Steven Means 15 1 0
James Vaughters 13 1 1
Mike Pennel 11 1 0

Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun racked up 10 and nine tackles, respectively, in Sunday’s victory, the top two totals between both teams. The duo was less stout in coverage, as they surrendered a combined six receptions on seven targets for 87 yards.  


Cornerback A.J. Terrell made big play after big play Sunday, conceding just two receptions for 19 yards on five targets while forcing a season-high three incompletions. He led what was an overall impressive performance from Atlanta’s secondary, as the unit allowed just 17 receptions for 196 yards on 26 combined targets.

Defender Coverage Snaps  Receptions Allowed/Targets Yards Allowed Quarterback Rating Allowed
A.J. Terrell 44 2/5 19 90.8
Fabian Moreau 44 4/7 36 110.7
Erik Harris 43 8/9 98 112.0
Duron Harmon 43 2/3 34 104.9
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