Falcons
Saints
25 - 29 Final
  for this game

Thomas helps Saints outlast Falcons

Dec 8, 2008 - 12:59 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- The New Orleans Saints found their running game - at least for one day.

Pierre Thomas scored two touchdowns and recorded 197 all-purpose yards as the New Orleans Saints edged the Atlanta Falcons, 29-25, on Sunday.

Thomas carried 16 times for 102 yards and set up his own go-ahead touchdown run with an 88-yard kickoff return, helping the Saints (7-6) improve to 5-1 at home. He also caught a touchdown.

"This win was very big for us," Thomas said. "From here on out we're thinking every game is like a playoff game for us.

"We really wanted to come out here and take it to these guys because last time we played them they came out and they took it to us. Our main focus was trying to run the ball. We wanted to make that a point that we can run the ball on these guys."

Drew Brees completed 18-of-32 passes for 230 yards with a pair of scores as New Orleans (7-6) kept its faint playoff hopes alive.

New Orleans has been pass happy for most of the season, and entered with the fourth-worst rushing attack in the league at 88.3 yards per game. An undrafted second-year pro, Thomas helped them run all over the Falcons.

"He comes up big for us when need be," Saints fullback Mike Karney said. "He had to earn his way and get a feel for what's going on. He's done that and the coaches are going to him."

"Obviously we wanted to come into this game and be balanced," Brees said. "Certainly the run game setting up the play-action helped our ability to throw the ball effectively then, which in turn set the run up again. I just felt like we played a very complementary game of football on offense today."

Brees and the Saints overcame another solid performance from Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, who completed 24-of-33 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown and an interception.

Ryan capped an 11-play, 73-yard drive by scoring from 12 yards out on a roll-out to the right side, then hit Michael Jenkins for the two-point conversion and a 25-22 lead with 8:00 to play.

However, Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff to the 16-yard line and later scored from 5 yards out to make it 29-25 with 5:54 left.

The Falcons (8-5) went three-and-out on their next possession and New Orleans was able to run out the clock.

"It was definitely a tough loss to a very good division opponent," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "We weren't hitting on all cylinders. We weren't able to do the things we wanted to do offensively, defensively and on special teams."

Roddy White caught 10 passes for a career-high 164 yards for the Falcons, who won the first meeting, 34-20.

The Falcons still have the inside track on the NFC's second wild card, as the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) lost to Pittsburgh.

"This team has bounced back all year long," Ryan said. "As coach Smitty told us after the game, the NFL is a 16-game season and not a one-game tournament. I am confident we can come back. We've had a great year and there's so much football ahead of us."






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    Falcons 25, Saints 29  FinalDec 7 6:49 PM
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    Falcons 25, Saints 29  FinalDec 7 6:22 PM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 14 3 8 25
    NEW ORLEANS 7 9 0 13 29 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, REGGIE BUSH 5 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK), 6:31.
    Drive: 3 plays, 52 yards in 1:27.
    Key plays: David 23-yard
    interception return to New Orleans
    48; Bush 43-yard r

    Dec 7 4:00 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 23 roots (Close Finish)

    Falcons 25, Saints 29  4th - 1:07Dec 7 3:58 PM
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    Falcons 25, Saints 29  4th - 3:15Dec 7 3:51 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    PIERRE THOMAS 5 YD RUN
    (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)
    ATLANTA 25
    NEW ORLEANS 29 5:47 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Falcons 25, Saints 29  4th - 5:47Dec 7 3:46 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 29 roots (Close Finish)

    Falcons 25, Saints 29  4th - 5:47Dec 7 3:46 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MATT RYAN 12 YD RUN
    (MATT RYAN PASS TO MICHAEL JENKINS FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)
    ATLANTA 25
    NEW ORLEANS 22 7:51 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Falcons 25, Saints 22  4th - 7:51Dec 7 3:35 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    PIERRE THOMAS 7 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED)
    ATLANTA 17
    NEW ORLEANS 22 12:55 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Falcons 17, Saints 22  4th - 12:55Dec 7 3:25 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 22 roots

    Falcons 17, Saints 22  4th - 12:55Dec 7 3:25 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 14 3 17
    NEW ORLEANS 7 9 0 16 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, REGGIE BUSH 5 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK), 6:31.
    Drive: 3 plays, 52 yards in 1:27.
    Key plays: David 23-yard
    interception return to New Orleans
    48; Bush 43

    Dec 7 3:16 PM


  • NFL
    FG ATL
    JASON ELAM 23 YD
    ATLANTA 17
    NEW ORLEANS 16 3:06 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Falcons 17, Saints 16  3rd - 3:06Dec 7 3:05 PM
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    Falcons 17, Saints 16  3rd - 3:06Dec 7 3:05 PM
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    Falcons 14, Saints 16  3rd - 13:27Dec 7 2:49 PM
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    Falcons 14, Saints 16  2nd - 14:55Dec 7 2:43 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    GARRETT HARTLEY 25 YD
    ATLANTA 14
    NEW ORLEANS 16 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 14, Saints 16  HalfDec 7 2:29 PM
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    Falcons 14, Saints 16  HalfDec 7 2:29 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 14 14
    NEW ORLEANS 7 6 13 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, REGGIE BUSH 5 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK), 6:31.
    Drive: 3 plays, 52 yards in 1:27.
    Key plays: David 23-yard
    interception return to New Orleans
    48; Bush 43-yar

    Dec 7 2:23 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    BRIAN FINNERAN 2 YD PASS FROM MATT RYAN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    ATLANTA 14
    NEW ORLEANS 13 2:13 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 14, Saints 13  2nd - 2:13Dec 7 2:19 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    GARRETT HARTLEY 46 YD
    ATLANTA 7
    NEW ORLEANS 13 6:10 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 7, Saints 13  2nd - 6:10Dec 7 2:06 PM


  • NFL
    TD ATL
    MICHAEL TURNER 5 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    ATLANTA 7
    NEW ORLEANS 10 9:55 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 7, Saints 10  2nd - 9:55Dec 7 1:58 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    GARRETT HARTLEY 26 YD
    ATLANTA 0
    NEW ORLEANS 10 12:05 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Falcons 0, Saints 10  2nd - 12:05Dec 7 1:51 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 0 0
    NEW ORLEANS 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - TD, REGGIE BUSH 5 YD PASS FROM DREW
    BREES (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK), 6:31.
    Drive: 3 plays, 52 yards in 1:27.
    Key plays: David 23-yard
    interception return to New Orleans
    48; Bush 43

    Dec 7 1:39 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    REGGIE BUSH 5 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (GARRETT HARTLEY KICK)
    ATLANTA 0
    NEW ORLEANS 7 8:29 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Falcons 0, Saints 7  1st - 8:29Dec 7 1:17 PM
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    Falcons vs. SaintsApr 17 5:02 PM