New Orleans at Atlanta

Brees' big passing day trumps Vick's rushing output for Saints

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints did just fine without their top receiver.

The Atlanta Falcons are still looking for someone who can catch the ball.

Brees went deep on the third play of game to Marques Colston's backup, delivered another long touchdown on a desperation throw at the end of the first half and put up another 300-yard performance in Sunday's 31-13 victory.

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Coming in with three losses in four games, the Saints (7-4) stunned the Falcons right away with a 76-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson, who started in place of the injured Colston.

"It was a great way to start the game," said Brees, who completed 21-of-30 for 349 yards -- his fifth straight game eclipsing 300 yards.

The Saints finished off the first half with another big play. Brees threw it up toward the end zone, and Terrance Copper managed to haul in a 48-yard TD with three defenders around him.

"I just jumped up and tried to catch it," Copper said. "It was a good throw by Drew. It just fell in my hands."

As for the Falcons, they hardly caught anything in their fourth straight setback, which knocked them below .500 for the first time in Jim Mora's three seasons as coach.

Not even a 166-yard rushing performance by Michael Vick could bail out the Falcons (5-6), who dropped at least five passes. As he walked off the field, getting booed by the few fans who remained, Vick made an obscene gesture.

"We've just got to keep fighting," he said. "There's a lot of guys in that locker room who've never been in this situation."

The Falcons' signature play came early in the fourth quarter, when Roddy White let the ball slip from his hands at the New Orleans 10 with no one around him after Atlanta had closed to 21-13.

Coach Jim Mora fell to his knees in disbelief. Tight end Alge Crumpler held up his arms and looked toward the roof of the Georgia Dome.

"I just turned up and tried to run with the ball I caught it," White said. "I took my eyes off it."

The Saints had no such trouble.

Leading 14-6, New Orleans had the ball at the Atlanta 48 with seven seconds remaining. Brees dropped back and let go a towering pass toward the end zone, the sort of desperation throw that is usually knocked down.

But Copper slipped between Derrick Johnson and Lawyer Milloy, making the catch as he fell across the goal line. DeAngelo Hall also leaped at the ball, but got there too late.

"There's a guy (Hall) who's the designated tipper," Milloy said. "The other guy (Johnson) is supposed to be blocking him out. I'm the back tipper. For whatever reason, the guy caught the ball."

The Falcons trotted off the field to a round of boos after the extra point.

"Out of all the things that happened in this game, that may have been the thing that took the life out of this football team," Vick said.

It only got worse in the second half, with Atlanta's receivers playing like they rubbed down their hands with Vaseline.

"We've got to start making some plays," Vick said, shaking his head.

Brees managed to avoid the interceptions that plagued him in losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

"That will be the emphasis from here on out," said Brees, who was picked off three times in each of those two games. "When we don't commit turnovers, it gives us a great chance to win."

After White's drop, the Saints finished off the Falcons with John Carney's 25-yard field goal and Deuce McAllister's second touchdown run, a 9-yarder with 2:23 remaining.

Vick challenged his NFL record for yards rushing by a quarterback, coming up 7 short of his 173-yard performance in an overtime victory at Minnesota in 2002. But the Falcons' passing game is a mess, with Vick finishing 9-of-24 for 84 yards.

The Saints swept the season series by a combined score of 54-16, having also won easily in Week 3 -- their first game back in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans had emotion on their side in that one. This time, all the Saints needed was the Falcons on the other side.

Notes

  • The Falcons rushed for 281 yards -- the second-best showing of the season -- largely because of Vick.
  • Atlanta DE John Abraham wasn't very effective in his return from abdominal surgery, failing to show up on the defensive stats.
  • Johnson broke his right arm while covering a punt in the second half and didn't return.
  • New Orleans CB DeJuan Groce sustained a neck injury while blocking a punt return early in the fourth quarter. X-rays were negative.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Drew Brees has his team-record fifth straight 300-yard game and his seventh of the season.
 
Drew Brees has his team-record fifth straight 300-yard game and his seventh of the season. (Getty Images)
 

 

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Sun. Nov. 26Final
14701031
Atlanta
(5-6)
337013
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDDevery Henderson, 76 Yd pass from Drew Brees (John Carney kick is good), 13:25. Drive: 3 plays, 79 yards in 1:35.
TDDeuce McAllister, 1 Yd run (John Carney kick is good), 4:44. Drive: 7 plays, 67 yards in 3:11.
FGMorten Andersen 22 Yd, 1:14. Drive: 8 plays, 71 yards in 3:30.
2ND QUARTER
FGMorten Andersen 30 Yd, 1:11. Drive: 14 plays, 55 yards in 7:04.
TDTerrance Copper, 48 Yd pass from Drew Brees (John Carney kick is good), 0:00. Drive: 6 plays, 82 yards in 1:11.
3RD QUARTER
TDWarrick Dunn, 1 Yd run (Morten Andersen kick is good), 8:04. Drive: 6 plays, 47 yards in 2:01.
4TH QUARTER
FGJohn Carney 25 Yd, 5:48. Drive: 14 plays, 80 yards in 8:01.
TDDeuce McAllister, 9 Yd run (John Carney kick is good), 2:23. Drive: 6 plays, 74 yards in 1:53.
Players of the Game

W. Dunn
Rush 19
Yds 52
Avg 2.7
TD 1
New Orleans

D. Brees
Att 30
Comp 21
Yds 349
TD 2
 
New Orleans
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
D. Brees21/3034920
RushingATTYDSTDLG
D. McAllister2071230
R. Bush524012
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
D. Henderson4158176
J. Horn361023
T. Copper148148
B. Miller324017
R. Bush321013
M. Karney219011
M. Campbell313010
D. McAllister2507
Atlanta
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Vick9/248400
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Vick12166051
J. Norwood1354015
W. Dunn195218
J. Griffith1909
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
A. Crumpler143043
R. White114014
J. Griffith2704
F. McCrary1707
J. Norwood27010
M. Jenkins2604
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
GB 24 Final
SEA 34
OAK 14 Final
SD 21
CAR 13 Final
WAS 17
NYG 21 Final
TEN 24
SF 17 Final
STL 20
HOU 11 Final
NYJ 26
CHI 13 Final
NE 17
ARI 26 Final
MIN 31
PHI 21 Final
IND 45
CIN 30 Final
CLE 0
JAC 24 Final
BUF 27
PIT 0 Final
BAL 27
DEN 10 Final
KC 19
TB 10 Final
DAL 38
MIA 27 Final
DET 10