Drive Chart
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ATL

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Jones makes game-saving INT, Falcons beats Saints 20-17

ATLANTA (AP) With the season potentially hanging in the balance, Deion Jones leaped high in the air, about as high as he could go.

He reached even higher, snatching the ball away before it could reach the intended target.

Holding on for dear life with both arms, the Atlanta Falcons linebacker landed flat on his back in the end zone, the ball secured tightly against his chest.

No way he was letting go.

Jones made a leaping interception in the end zone with 1:25 remaining and the Falcons held on for a crucial 20-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night, setting up a three-way race for the NFC South title.

''It was all about the ball,'' Jones said. ''I just opened up my eyes, and all my brothers were right there, standing over me. It was great.''

Matt Ryan shook off three interceptions to guide the Falcons to Matt Bryant's 52-yard field goal with 3:49 to go. The Saints (9-4) were in position to pull out the victory, driving to the Atlanta 11 after Drew Brees converted on fourth-and-1 with a quarterback sneak, as coach Sean Payton passed on attempting a tying field goal.

On second down, Brees attempted to hit tight end Josh Hill in the back of the end zone.

Jones had other ideas.

''When it takes a while to land, you know you're up there,'' Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. ''He definitely went up and reached for it.''

The Falcons (8-5) climbed within one game of the division-leading Saints with three weeks to go, as New Orleans squandered a chance to build a three-game lead on the defending division champs. Atlanta is back in the race and gets another crack at New Orleans when the teams meet again in the next-to-last week of the regular season at the Superdome.

The Carolina Panthers (8-4) also are right in the thick of things.

Ryan had three interceptions in a stretch of nine plays at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. But he tied the game with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu with 9:55 remaining , finishing 15 of 27 for 221 yards.

Brees was 26 of 35 for 271 yards and two TDs. Yet he was kicking himself for trying to force one at the end.

On the opening possession, New Orleans lost half of its dynamic 1-2 punch in the backfield when rookie Alvin Kamara took a shot to the helmet and staggered off with a concussion.

Mark Ingram was left to carry the load as the ''Boom and Zoom'' duo became simply ''Boom.'' He was held to 49 yards on 12 carries as the Saints largely abandoned one of the league's top rushing attacks. Michael Thomas had 10 catches for 117 yards and a TD .

With Atlanta trying to drive into position for a tiebreaking field goal in the waning seconds of the opening half, Ryan threw a terrible pass that was picked off by rookie Marshon Lattimore, who was back in the lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury.

Lattimore returned it 33 yards to the Atlanta 29 with 4 seconds remaining, setting up Wil Lutz to boot a 47-yard field goal as time expired. But the Falcons caught a break when the Saints failed to have seven blocked on the line of scrimmage, and the penalty resulted in a mandatory 10-second runoff that ended the half with the score tied at 10.

MATTY PICK

After getting picked off on Atlanta's last play of the first half, Ryan went to the air again on the first play of the second half.

Same result, though it wasn't Ryan's fault.

The ball went through the arms of tight end Austin Hooper, rolled up on his back and was intercepted by Chris Banjo, setting up the 1-yard scoring pass to Thomas.

On Atlanta's next possession, Ryan guided the Falcons to the New Orleans 9. On third down, he attempted to force a pass into the end zone for Julio Jones only to be picked off again by Marcus Williams.

It was the second time this season and ninth time in his career that Ryan has thrown three interceptions in a game.

INJURY REPORT

It was a brutal night for the Saints, which is sure to raise more questions after the health risks of playing on Thursday nights.

In addition to Kamara's injury, New Orleans lost another offensive guard and three starters on defense.

Guard Senio Kelemete, filling in for injured starter Andrus Peat (groin), left with a concussion. That forced the Saints to go with Josh LeRibeus, the backup center.

On defense, the Saints lost linebacker A.J. Klein in the first half with a groin injury. Starting defensive end Trey Hendrickson left with an ankle injury and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro was sidelined with a groin injury.

''A lot of different guys go down,'' coach Sean Payton said. ''That became challenging.''

UP NEXT

Saints: Host the New York Jets (5-7) on Dec. 17 in the first of two straight home games.

Falcons: After a short turnaround for the Thursday night game, Atlanta has an 11-day break before returning to action with a Monday night contest at Tampa Bay (4-8) on Dec. 18.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

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For more AP NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright 2017 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
D. Brees 9 QB
271 PaYds, 2 PaTDs, INT, 2 RuYds
20
FPTS
M. Sanu 12 WR
83 ReYds, ReTD, 6 RECs
14
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 3:49
M.Bryant 52 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
8
plays
38
yds
3:57
pos
17
20
Point After TD 9:55
M.Bryant extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
plays
yds
pos
17
17
Touchdown 9:55
M.Ryan pass short middle to M.Sanu for 8 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
11
plays
69
yds
7:06
pos
17
16
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 13:10
W.Lutz extra point is GOOD, Center-Z.Wood, Holder-T.Morstead.
plays
yds
pos
17
10
Touchdown 13:10
D.Brees pass short right to M.Thomas for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.
4
plays
29
yds
1:36
pos
16
10
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:53
W.Lutz extra point is GOOD, Center-Z.Wood, Holder-T.Morstead.
plays
yds
pos
10
10
Touchdown 1:53
D.Brees pass deep left to T.Lewis for 26 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
5
plays
66
yds
2:36
pos
9
10
Point After TD 4:29
M.Bryant extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
plays
yds
pos
3
10
Touchdown 4:29
T.Sambrailo reported in as eligible. D.Freeman left end for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.
15
plays
90
yds
8:27
pos
3
9
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 5:33
M.Bryant 28 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
8
plays
65
yds
4:17
pos
3
3
Field Goal 9:50
W.Lutz 34 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-Z.Wood, Holder-T.Morstead.
10
plays
54
yds
5:10
pos
3
0
Team Stats
Time of Pos 25:19 34:41
1st Downs 18 26
Rushing 2 6
Passing 16 11
Penalty 0 9
3rd Down Conv 3-10 7-12
4th Down Conv 1-1 0-0
Total Net Yards 306 343
Total Plays 52 65
Avg Gain 5.9 5.3
Net Yards Rushing 50 132
Rush Attempts 15 37
Avg Rush Yards 3.3 3.6
Net Yards Passing 256 211
Comp. - Att. 26-35 15-27
Yards Per Pass 7.3 7.8
Sacked - Yards Lost 2-15 1-10
Penalties - Yards 11-87 4-35
Touchdowns 2 2
Rushing TDs 0 1
Passing TDs 2 1
Other 0 0
Turnovers 1 3
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 1-0
Int. Thrown 1 3
Punts - Avg 5-41.6 2-41.5
Return Yards 166 65
Punts - Returns 0-0 2-4
Kickoffs - Returns 5-121 2-61
Int. - Returns 3-45 1-0
Kicking 3/3 4/4
Extra Points 2/2 2/2
Field Goals 1/1 2/2
Red Zone Eff. 1-3 -33% 2-4 -50%
Goal to Go Eff. 1-1 -100% 1-1 -100%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Saints 9-4 377017
Falcons 8-5 3701020
256 PASS YDS 211
50 RUSH YDS 132
306 TOTAL YDS 343
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
D. Brees 9 QB
20
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
74.3% 271 2 1 103.4
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
71.7% 3569 19 6 104.2
D. Brees 26/35 271 2 1 20
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Ingram 22 RB
8
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
12 49 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
192 971 9
M. Ingram 12 49 0 14 8
A. Kamara 41 RB
2
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
87 608 7
A. Kamara 1 2 0 2 2
D. Brees 9 QB
20
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
27 15 2
D. Brees 1 2 0 2 20
T. Ginn 19 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
7 23 0
T. Ginn 1 -3 0 -3 1
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Thomas 13 WR
17
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
14 10 117 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 85 992 4
M. Thomas 14 10 117 1 35 17
M. Ingram 22 RB
8
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 4 43 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 46 298 0
M. Ingram 5 4 43 0 21 8
B. Coleman 16 WR
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 32 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 20 348 3
B. Coleman 3 2 32 0 23 3
T. Lewis 11 WR
9
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 30 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 10 116 1
T. Lewis 2 2 30 1 26 9
A. Kamara 41 RB
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 3 25 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 62 639 4
A. Kamara 3 3 25 0 23 2
J. Hill 89 TE
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 14 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 12 84 1
J. Hill 3 2 14 0 12 1
T. Ginn 19 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 10 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 46 678 3
T. Ginn 2 2 10 0 11 1
W. Snead 83 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 6 63 0
W. Snead 2 1 0 0 0 0
M. Hoomanawanui 84 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 6 52 1
M. Hoomanawanui 1 0 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
M. Te'o 51 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
29-17 0 0.0
M. Te'o 8-2 0.0 0 0
C. Robertson 52 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
39-20 0 2.0
C. Robertson 6-2 0.0 0 0
M. Williams 43 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
42-11 2 0.0
M. Williams 5-1 0.0 1 0
K. Crawley 20 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
35-4 1 0.0
K. Crawley 5-1 0.0 0 0
K. Vaccaro 32 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
40-10 3 1.0
K. Vaccaro 3-0 0.0 0 0
C. Jordan 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
40-14 1 10.0
C. Jordan 2-0 0.0 0 0
P. Williams 26 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
29-13 2 0.0
P. Williams 2-0 0.0 0 0
D. Onyemata 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-18 0 1.0
D. Onyemata 2-0 0.0 0 0
S. Rankins 98 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-8 1 1.0
S. Rankins 2-2 0.0 0 0
M. Lattimore 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
33-6 3 0.0
M. Lattimore 2-1 0.0 1 0
H. Kikaha 44 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 4.0
H. Kikaha 1-0 1.0 0 0
J. Hughes 92 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-4 0 0.0
J. Hughes 1-2 0.0 0 0
V. Bell 48 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
49-18 0 3.0
V. Bell 1-1 0.0 0 0
M. Mauti 56 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
M. Mauti 1-1 0.0 0 1
T. Hendrickson 91 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-6 0 2.0
T. Hendrickson 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Banjo 31 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-2 1 0.0
C. Banjo 0-1 0.0 1 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
W. Lutz 3 K
5
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 2/2
SEASON FG XP
26/31 38/41
W. Lutz 1/1 34 2/2 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
T. Morstead 6 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 41.6 2
SEASON NO AVG IN20
46 47.4 21
T. Morstead 5 41.6 2 49
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Lewis 11 WR
9
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
5 24.2 36 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
12 23.6 39 0
T. Lewis 5 24.2 36 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
M. Ryan 2 QB
8
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.6% 221 1 3 55.2
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
65.9% 3278 17 11 92.4
M. Ryan 15/27 221 1 3 8
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
D. Freeman 24 RB
15
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
24 91 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
152 680 6
D. Freeman 24 91 1 19 15
T. Coleman 26 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 32 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
139 593 5
T. Coleman 9 32 0 9 3
T. Gabriel 18 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 9 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
6 34 0
T. Gabriel 1 9 0 9 1
M. Ryan 2 QB
8
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 0 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
24 93 0
M. Ryan 3 0 0 2 8
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
J. Jones 11 WR
9
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
11 5 98 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 73 1161 3
J. Jones 11 5 98 0 38 9
M. Sanu 12 WR
14
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
8 6 83 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 54 578 5
M. Sanu 8 6 83 1 22 14
A. Hooper 81 TE
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 2 23 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 41 461 3
A. Hooper 4 2 23 0 12 2
T. Gabriel 18 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 10 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 30 342 1
T. Gabriel 1 1 10 0 10 1
L. Toilolo 80 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 7 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 12 122 1
L. Toilolo 1 1 7 0 7 0
T. Coleman 26 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 21 245 2
T. Coleman 1 0 0 0 0 3
T. Sambrailo 74 T
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 0 0 0
T. Sambrailo 1 0 0 0 0 0
M. Hall 17 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 60 1
M. Hall 1 0 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
D. Jones 45 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-6 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
71-38 2 1.0
D. Jones 7-6 0.0 1 0
D. Campbell 59 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
51-28 0 2.0
D. Campbell 4-2 0.0 0 0
R. Alford 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
48-8 0 0.0
R. Alford 3-1 0.0 0 0
R. Allen 37 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
37-13 0 0.0
R. Allen 3-1 0.0 0 0
D. Poe 92 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-3 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
20-13 0 2.0
D. Poe 2-3 1.0 0 0
B. Reed 50 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
18-14 0 4.0
B. Reed 2-1 0.0 0 0
K. Neal 22 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
67-29 0 0.0
K. Neal 2-2 0.0 0 0
B. Poole 34 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
38-12 0 1.0
B. Poole 2-0 0.0 0 0
C. Upshaw 91 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-3 0 0.0
C. Upshaw 1-0 0.0 0 0
V. Beasley 44 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
20-5 0 4.0
V. Beasley 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Trufant 21 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
26-4 2 1.0
D. Trufant 1-0 0.0 0 0
K. Ishmael 36 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-12 0 1.0
K. Ishmael 1-1 0.0 0 0
D. Shelby 90 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
13-14 0 1.0
D. Shelby 1-0 0.0 0 0
G. Jarrett 97 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
28-18 0 2.0
G. Jarrett 1-1 0.0 0 0
A. Clayborn 99 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
17-2 0 9.0
A. Clayborn 1-0 1.0 0 0
A. Rubin 79 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-6 0 0.0
A. Rubin 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
M. Bryant 3 K
8
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
26/30 30/30
M. Bryant 2/2 52 2/2 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Bosher 5 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 41.5 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
39 44.9 14
M. Bosher 2 41.5 0 49
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Roberts 19 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 30.5 36 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
32 22.1 61 0
A. Roberts 2 30.5 36 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Roberts 19 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 2.0 4 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
18 7.6 27 0
A. Roberts 2 2.0 4 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 NO 30 5:10 10 54 FG
5:33 NO 7 3:21 6 40 Punt
1:10 NO 26 3:14 6 29 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
4:29 NO 34 2:36 5 66 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:46 ATL 29 1:36 4 29 TD
10:26 NO 5 2:24 5 16 Punt
4:22 NO 24 2:21 3 -4 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:55 NO 22 2:09 4 7 Punt
3:49 NO 20 2:24 10 69 INT
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:50 ATL 25 4:17 8 65 FG
2:12 ATL 19 1:02 3 6 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:56 ATL 10 8:27 15 90 TD
1:53 ATL 32 1:49 6 26 INT
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 ATL 24 0:14 1 0 INT
13:10 ATL 25 2:44 7 66 INT
8:02 ATL 26 3:40 4 16 Punt
2:01 ATL 31 7:06 11 69 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
7:46 ATL 28 3:57 8 38 FG
1:25 ATL 20 1:25 4 17 Game